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As you continue to progress through your career as a UX Designer, you will discover several specialization paths are available for you to take as you focus on your professional development. One of these roles is a UX Strategist, which aligns user experience design with the business goals and strategy of the company.
A UX Strategist holds a unique role on the product team, forming a bridge between the UX Designer and Product/Offering Manager to ensure that both the business goals and the user needs are continuously aligned. A UX Designer, for example, primarily focuses on providing a human-centered approach to the design and development process of their products. Although, UX Designers still aim to meet the needs of the business they are not usually involved in business strategy at the same level as a UX Strategist would be.
If you’re interested in becoming a UX Strategist, the best way to start is by gaining a better understanding of the business goals and strategy for your product and the company you work for. As an example, some resources that would be great to start reviewing would be revenue projections, quarterly reviews, product roadmaps, and business strategies.
Tools a UX Strategist Uses
Understanding and contributing to the overall strategy of a product and business involves using a number of tools and frameworks. Part of the responsibility of a UX Strategist is to not only learn what these tools are but how and when to use them as well. In doing so they will be more readily prepared to provide input on the strategy and goals of the business. Let’s go through some of the most commonly used tools and how to use them.
- Business Model Canvas (BMC): A BMC is a tool that can help you better understand how the business and product(s) creates, delivers, and captures value. The BMC is used by UX Strategists to visually display and summarize important business and product activities to ensure they are aligned with the overall value proposition.
- Value Proposition Map (VPM): A VPM is a tool that visually illustrates the values and needs of the product user and business. It is a perfect tool to help a UX Strategist simply articulate the needs of both parties as a way to gain alignment between UX Designers and Product/Offering Managers.
- Stakeholder Map: The Stakeholder map is used to identify the variety of actors that are involved in a product or service and to understand the relationship between each. A UX Strategist can also apply this method to better understand the relationships between a user and the other people involved in their workflow.
- Product Roadmap: A Product Roadmap helps visualize the plan for how a product will evolve throughout a specific period of time. The UX Strategist will be the member of the team that assesses the priorities through the perspective of the user and business needs to ensure both are captured in the roadmap’s direction.
- Strategic Foresight Frameworks: The Strategic Foresight Framework includes multiple tools that help identify emerging trends and signals to better understand the direction an industry is heading toward. These tools help a UX Strategist avoid potential upcoming risks for a product while driving toward new opportunities.
- Presentation Decks: As with many roles, the presentation deck is a UX Strategist’s favorite tool for synthesizing insights and summarizing key points that bring a human-centered perspective to the business strategy.
- Wireframe Software: Similar to a UX Designer, a UX Strategist will also find wireframing a significant part of their work as they use it to demonstrate how the user and business needs can be met through design.
UX Strategist Responsibilities
There are many key responsibilities for a UX Strategist that involve alignment between the user, the product, and the business. Here are several common responsibilities for the role of a UX Strategist:
- Maintain a clear understanding of the business goals and user needs, identifying and articulating high-impact research questions and opportunities, while continuing to drive strategic design decisions.
- Synthesize user research and business data to help shape the product roadmap, designs and future research activities.
- Review user stories within a given design sprint to ensure objectives, goals, and requirements are clear, and led by user research.
- Use storytelling to communicate high-level concepts and research insights in presentations, reports, and workshops.
- Evaluate and measure the outcome for each design sprint to provide recommendations on how best to improve the overall product design and collaboration between cross-functional team.
By providing strategy from a human-centered perspective you can help guide the overall design strategy for your product while helping bridge the viewpoints of the UX design team and the business-focused teams. As a representative for both points-of-views, a UX Strategist is able to facilitate cross-team and collaborative workshops to discuss and visualize what each of these perspectives looks like. Additionally, you will be incorporating an empathetic viewpoint to the overall business strategy that will help ensure the user and business needs are being met through the product’s design.
The role of a UX Strategist involves a combination of responsibilities from both the business side and the UX design side of product development. By adopting both perspectives, you will be able to find alignment between the user’s needs and your product’s needs to help guide decisions and prioritize feature requests.
About the author:
Dan Silveira is a UX designer, foresight strategist, and writer based out of Toronto, Canada where he works for a major enterprise technology company. He is passionate about design and sharing his experience with others in the field.