UX Strategy: 7-Steps Guide for Businesses in 2023
UX strategy has become an integral part of any modern product success. It’s no longer enough to build visually appealing digital products in 2023 to showcase your brand identity. If it’s not created with users in mind and fails to meet target users’ needs and expectations, then chances are high it won’t remain competitive.
Our experience at Limeup and various studies prove that users have become more demanding in terms of new technologies and won’t tolerate poor user experience. Businesses won’t be able to easily win the love and loyalty of their target audience without implementing a strong UX strategy.
Esteban Kolsky, the founder of customer user experience strategy consulting firm thinkJar, conducted a study where he discovered that 67% of customers claim unpleasant experiences as a reason for churn. Those users won’t purchase again from companies that fail to meet their expectations because there are plenty of alternatives.
Another study conducted by Amazon Web Services discovered that eCommerce businesses leave 35% of sales on the table due to bad user experience.
It’s clear that the user’s experience has a tremendous impact on your business model performance. Neglecting onboarding a UX strategist into the work leads to adverse financial consequences in the long term.
Based on our experience at Limeup, businesses worldwide have different levels of UX vision and maturity. That’s why some better than others understand the importance of implementing a well-defined UX strategy.
Our goal is to help companies thrive and devise innovative digital products. That’s why I wrote this in-depth guide to UX design strategy, sharing my experience as a senior UX designer, how we develop and implement strategies at Limeup, and how you can create a UX and business strategy for your company.
Let me give a UX strategy definition first.
What is a UX strategy?
UX strategy or user experience strategy is a research-based action plan intended to improve your digital product’s UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) to ensure your target users’ needs and business model objectives are met.
User experience design strategy is at the core of all innovative digital solutions because those businesses no longer operate from a top-down decision-making approach. Instead, customers choose them out of many options because their products and services ensure a positive user experience and help people solve their problems.
Important components of the UX strategy.
For existing solutions, it involves analyzing the current state of your product, running user interviews and usability testing, figuring out where your product fails to meet user needs, researching top-performing competitors, and then developing a new user experience strategy that will support your core business objectives.
If you want to devise innovative digital products, you should keep a UX strategy important in your mind while working on your product. It includes analyzing potential competitors, conducting user research, determining the pain point of your target audience, and creating and testing a clickable prototype before investing in design and development.
If you are new to UX, I want to highlight an essential point here — a user experience design strategy should be developed and implemented by a skilled UX strategist before the design and development stages for maximum effectiveness. This way, your design concept will be research-based, data-driven, and in compliance with your brand identity.
I hope this paragraph helped you clarify what is a UX strategy. In the upcoming paragraphs, I will focus on why it is essential for every business model and how you can develop one.
Why is UX design strategy important?
At Limeup, we believe that a UX strategy should be an essential part of a business strategy because customers make any business profitable. The more customers a company acquires, the more income it will generate. However, many companies still rely on internal decision-making, neglecting a user experience strategy.
Based on our 10+ years of experience, we know that a lack of strategy can result in wasted time and budget on design and development works.
If you still wonder whether it’s worth working on future user experience, I’ve summarized a few key reasons why UX design strategy is important and how it helps create a positive impact on your business.
1. Helps focus on the most impactful areas of your product
How do you decide what areas of your product should be improved? Do you rely on intuition, organize brainstorming sessions with a product manager, or rely on validated user research data?
Unfortunately, only 55% of companies conduct research and usability testing, which means that the rest of the businesses do not collaborate with a UX strategist to develop a digital strategy and don’t know the exact pain points of their target audience.
You can use it to your competitive advantage.
Before allocating time and money to a design project, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I expect to improve as a result of UX design?
- Do I know what should be redesigned and why?
- Is the current design based on a user-centered approach?
- Do I know the pain points and user needs of my target audience?
- Are the user personas that were developed earlier still accurate?
- What do I want to achieve?
- What is the overall UX vision?
- How will I measure the impact of the new design?
These are a few questions that will help you prioritize the most impactful areas of your product.
2. Helps prioritize your target audience’s needs
UX strategy is based on researching and analyzing users’ needs and pain points to eliminate friction and meet people’s expectations with a new product design.
When a solid UX strategy is in place, all strategic design decisions take into account user and business needs, and you gain a competitive advantage.
How to understand whether target users are satisfied with your product? At Limeup, we recommend the following methods:
- A holistic UX audit.
- Usability testing of an existing product (at least five usability tests are required to receive reliable results).
- User interviews and stakeholder interviews to learn what people think about your product, where it fails to meet user needs, and what can be improved.
- Surveying the focus groups to update the user personas.
Validated user research insights will help you better understand your users, create a solid UX strategy, and build a product tailored to their needs.
Example of prioritization of the features using heatmaps.
3. Helps quantify the business strategy of UX design
UX strategy ties user experience design with company objectives, helping decision-makers and business stakeholders better understand the value of UX and the purpose of investing in it.
Having a well-defined strategy before starting the UX design process shows what the UX team will work on and how it will impact the company, optimize resources and make better, informed decisions.
According to Intechnic, when UX improves the user’s experience of a product, it raises a company’s KPIs to 83% in conversion lift!
The impact of a product’s user experience design is straightforward and can be seen through competitive research.
The more satisfied your users are with your products and services, the higher your income will be.
4. Increases the UX maturity of your product team
UX maturity is about understanding the value of user experience and its positive impact on business.
If a company has a low UX maturity, its product design team is unable to transform future user experience research findings into business value (if it conducts UX research at all).
On the other hand, implementing a UX strategy helps increase the UX maturity of a company, prioritize user centered approach, and make competitive research-driven design decisions.
I’ve also found a relatively old but insightful source that I’d like to share with you. According to “The Future of Design in Start-Ups” survey results, 87% of design-mature companies believe that design leads to higher sales, which gives them a competitive advantage.
In other words, it’s easier for companies with high UX maturity to justify the need to invest in the overall UX vision for their business stakeholders because they can quantify the impact of UX on business model performance.
I hope this paragraph helped you grasp the value and importance of having a UX strategist on the team. If you have not implemented a UX strategy in your company yet, we highly recommend doing so.
Now, let me show you how you can create a UX strategy for your business.
How to create a user experience strategy for your business
If you are building a new product or improving an existing solution, it’s the right time to develop a UX strategy with the help of a professional UX strategist. As highlighted earlier in the article, it will help you create a data-driven design solution that meets your user and business needs.
If your product and team do not have experience in UX, we recommend you hire UX designers who will help you put together a UX strategy taking into account the complexity and peculiarities of your business model. At Limeup, we have a team of 50+ UX design, user research, and development professionals who can help you create and implement a custom strategy.
For those companies that prefer keeping all strategic, design, and development processes in-house, I share a step-by-step guide on how to create a UX strategy for an existing product below.
1. Evaluate the current state of your product
Example of the competitors analysis.
At Limeup, we often get redesign requests from companies that can’t articulate the need for a product redesign. A look and feel uplift is among the popular reasons businesses turn to UX design companies for help.
We will continue to promote the narrative that there is no need to spend time and money redesigning an existing product if it meets your core business and user needs.
UX strategy starts by assessing the current state of their product design. The challenge is that many companies don’t know how to determine what needs to be improved and create an impactful strategy.
We recommend the following set of actions to help you assess your product’s performance from an end user and business perspective.
- Conduct user experience research to gather qualitative feedback from the focus groups and quantitative data about your product’s performance.
- Analyse competitors through market research to understand what features and new technologies help them stand out and outperform your product. How can you highlight your product’s strengths? Which weaknesses can be easily solved?
- Analyse product metrics if you use any, such as LTV (lifetime value), ARPU (average revenue per user), CR (conversion rate), and NPS (net promoter score), to name a few.
It might sound easy, but in fact, it is a time-consuming first step that will set a tone for the entire UX strategy process.
We don’t recommend neglecting the user research step or relying on shallow data. Improving business model performance is only possible if you discover and address the current challenges.
2. Define the goals
When a user interacts with your product, you need to understand what challenges they face and where it fails to meet users’ needs. As soon as you identify those aspects, you can set up your goals with a UX strategist.
The following questions will help you formulate a UX strategy process. We’ve used them while rethinking our own website and helping our partners develop user experience strategies:
- Where do you stand at this point? (The previous step should help you answer this question)
- Who is your target audience? What are your focus groups demographics and user personas?
- Do you know your company objectives?
- What do you want to achieve after implementing a user experience strategy?
- What steps will help you get there?
- What KPIs (key performance indicators) will you use to measure the success of a strategy?
- How will your UX strategy be integrated with the overall business strategy?
- What are the resources (revenue streams, capacity) available to create a UX strategy?
Example of UX strategy blueprint.
By asking these questions, you can create a business strategy to meet your user and business needs while incorporating industry best practices and user feedback.
Let me share a few examples to better understand how to set impactful goals.
- Facilitate customer touchpoint buying experience on the e-commerce website.
- Reduce the number of steps that require users to complete a purchase.
- Increase the conversion rate from a visitor to a buyer from X% to Y%.
- Decrease the cart abandonment rate from Z% to W%.
You might have noticed I used letters instead of numbers. This is just an example. That’s why exact numbers are missing. In your case, we recommend being specific about your business goals with a UX strategist and avoiding vague statements.
Instead of “decrease the cart abandonment rate,” we recommend specifying “decrease cart abandonment rate from 10% to 5% in the next business quarter.”
Ensure these goals are realistic and based on actual data rather than intuition. You should also identify the company’s constraints to avoid running into unpleasant situations.
In the following steps, you will determine how to achieve your goals and what focus areas to choose.
3. Define focus areas
By this point, you should have defined several UX vision and business-related goals and activities you’d like to cover in your UX strategy process.
I know how tempting it is to focus on multiple product areas simultaneously. However, our practice shows that it’s an ineffective business strategy. Focusing on 1-2 core areas with the highest business impact on your product is more productive and sets an easy-to-apply framework.
How to determine what to focus on?
Multiple prioritization technics exist to help businesses go through an endless list of to-do activities and define value innovation.
We recommend using an old-good value versus complexity matrix, where you rate every activity based on its business model value and the effort needed to implement it.
The most impactful goals with high value and low complexity are located in the top left quadrant.
Let me explain how you can use the matrix.
Suppose you have several activities you’d like to achieve in the next quarter as a part of your business and UX strategy:
- Improve the UX of the registration flow.
- Redesign the website to improve the perception and communicate the value proposition.
- Increase the CR (conversion rate) of a contact page from 1% to 3%.
- Create a web page to promote a new service.
All activities above are reasonable goals to achieve. However, you will likely be unable to allocate enough resources to accomplish all of them simultaneously and be on the same page with your team. That’s where prioritization comes in.
As a next step, we recommend gathering your product design team for a workshop, where you’ll review all activities in your to-do list and identify the focus areas for a well-defined UX strategy.
I asked our Limeup UX professionals how they would prioritize the above-mentioned activities. Here is our solution based on the insights from our UX team.
How to use Value/complexity matrix to prioritize the goals.
Apparently, there are two goals with the highest value innovation purpose and relatively low complexity that our design team highlighted as the focus areas:
- Increase the CR (conversion rate) of a contact page from 1% to 3%.
- Create a web page to promote a new service.
Having clearly defined value innovation goals with the time frames helps set the right direction to create a UX strategy for your business.
However, I want to stress the importance of discussing these goals with your design team and planning them accordingly. It might take some time before you define reasonable goals for your business.
Don’t rush to make impulsive decisions. Business is not a sprint; it’s a marathon.
As soon as you determine 1-2 impactful goals, you are ready to move on to the next step of your UX strategy and product development process.
4. Define how you will achieve your goals
Knowing how you will achieve your goals is as crucial as being able to formulate your goals clearly.
Without an action plan, your UX team won’t know their priorities, deadlines, and expectations. If you are a business owner, a CEO, or a product team lead, it’s your responsibility to set up the design process and guide the team in achieving the goals.
We recommend getting insights from a UX strategist while developing both the strategy and a roadmap. The designer’s focus on the UX will help you while conducting structured experiments to achieve your business goals.
If you were to focus on one of the goals we’ve defined earlier, here is how your action plan would look.
The goal: Increase the CR (conversion rate) of a contact page from 1% to 3%.
Steps required to achieve the goal:
- Define the exact reasons why target users don’t submit the contact form (too many fields, captcha does not work, an error message pops up, etc.)
- Conduct research and usability tests with your target audience to get end users’ feedback and see what prevents them from submitting the contact form.
- Collect and analyze validated user research findings.
- Create a design concept.
- Create a clickable prototype.
- Test it with the target audience.
- Iterate if required.
You can move to the UX design step if a new design concept successfully addresses target users’ challenges and can help you formulate an effective UX strategy.
- Define what UX design services are applicable at this step.
- Redesign the contact form using the proven-to-work design concept from the previous steps.
Development and implementation
- Develop a new contact form page.
- Ensure a UX designer’s focus is on supporting the product development process to implement the design smoothly.
- Test a contact form submission before the release.
Website CR optimization
- Review existing website pages that redirect traffic to the contact page. Can you implement any improvements?
- Review and optimize blog posts with transactional intent (if you have any).
- Test different calls to action.
- Set up the measurement system to track the implemented changes and conversion rates.
- Use behavior analytics tools, like Hotjar, to see how users behave on your website and what causes friction.
- Use analytical tools, like GA4, to measure the conversion rate of your contact page.
The action plan above is an example of structured experiments that a product team could do to achieve a desired CR increase. The actual roadmap should also include deadlines and assigned roles.
We recommend defining the scope of work for every predefined goal to better understand how you will achieve your goals and provide clear guidance to your team.
5. Formulate your UX strategy
UX strategy formulation.
At this step, you already know your goals and have a clearly defined roadmap with a scope of work.
Having all these in mind, you can formulate your UX vision and business strategy.
A UX business strategy is usually a one-sentence description that clearly communicates what you want to achieve.
Let me give you a UX strategy example for better understanding.
Here’s Apple’s strategy incorporated in its mission statement:
“ To bring the best user experience to customers through innovative hardware, software, and services.”
They achieve it by relying on product user experience research to make data-driven design and business decisions and constantly iterating their product design based on end user feedback.
If you want more examples, I have written a paragraph below on how Limeup helped a rising medical startup develop and implement a solid UX strategy.
6. Executing the UX strategy
Once you clearly articulate your UX product strategy, it’s important to think about its execution. When I say “execution,” I refer to the resources and supporting factors required to implement it effectively.
Based on our UX expertise, these key elements are the following:
- Do you have enough human resources to create a UX strategy?
- How roles and tasks are assigned among team members.
- How cross-functional teams will interact and stay up-to-date.
- Each team member is aware of their roles and responsibilities.
- Each team member understands what’s needed to stay user centered and achieve a common goal.
- Daily and weekly updates and monthly performance reviews.
- Predefined communication and collaboration processes when innovation occurs.
Tools and budget
- The team is aware of the tools required to execute an effective UX strategy.
- The tools budget is calculated and justified.
- Additional expenses are foreseen on usability testing, recruitment, and additional resources if required.
These are just a few factors we always consider while implementing a strong UX strategy. The better prepared you are, the fewer deviations from your product strategy you’ll have. That’s why planning carefully and sticking to your business strategy is essential.
7. Define how you will measure the success
Example of the main metrics.
It’s the last but not the least important step in the entire process of UX strategy planning and execution.
You can only judge the success of your user experience strategy if you have quantitative proof that it helps your company achieve its business goals. While your target users’ pain points are addressed, and needs are met.
That’s why we recommend you set up a measurement system that will help you accurately assess the performance of your UX strategy.
The following KPIs (key performance indicators) will help you understand whether your business strategy is successful or requires any adjustments.
User engagement metrics
- The number of visited pages
- The number of return visits
- Bounce rate
- Dwell time
High user engagement is a good sign that your target users understand your product, can find you through various customer touchpoints, navigate toward what they are looking for, and are likely to return. It is an indicator that your UX strategy yields positive results.
- Qualitative feedback
- NPS (a net-promoter score)
Combining qualitative and quantitative user feedback will help you holistically assess your UX strategy and identify improvement areas.
- Visitor-to-lead CR
- Lead-to-client CR
- Contact form CR (if you have any)
Conversion rates are essential metrics that indicate whether you can convert incoming visitors into customers. It’s also an indicator of the UX business strategy’s effectiveness because how a user interacts with your product directly affects their behavior and buying decisions.
- Revenue streams
- ARPU (average revenue per user)
- Customer retention
- LTV (customer lifetime value)
- The number of subscriptions or installs (if you have any)
These metrics will help you assess whether your UX strategy contributes to the business’s growth over time. It takes time to accumulate the required data for analysis because measuring the success of your user experience strategy is an ongoing process.
We recommend collecting and comparing data for at least six months to see if both the end users and business stakeholders are satisfied, and if you stay user centered.
Our UX strategy example
As a UX design agency in London, we’ve helped startups and established companies worldwide improve the UX vision and maturity of their product teams and the overall usability of their products.
I’d like to share one particular UX strategy example with you.
We’ve partnered with a medical provider from the USA, Raccoon Recovery, to help them rethink and rebuild an existing platform that helps patients recover from injuries.
I find this project particularly fascinating because we had an excellent opportunity to improve the target users’ lives through user experience design.
The project lasted for 14 weeks and covered the analysis of the current state of the product, UX product strategy, UX design, development, and implementation support.
First, we communicated with real users to hear their negative and positive feedback on the healthcare platform. The target audiences are doctors and patients.
Creating an impactful solution is impossible without gaining qualitative and quantitative insights from target users.
Several platform users and doctors gladly agreed to help us with usability tests. Furthermore, they’ve also shared their pain points the platform did not address yet.
Validated user research findings were used while formulating a new effective UX strategy for Raccoon Recovery.
Here’s what we came up with:
“To provide the best user experience for the healthcare platform’s users that will help them recover from injuries faster.”
We made a big promise in our user experience strategy, which we aimed to deliver in our UX work.
Our UX researchers and designers worked on rethinking the user journey of the platform to eliminate unnecessary steps and improve user experience.
Here is the up-to-date user journey map we created for Raccoon Recovery.
User journey map for Raccoon Recovery.
Our UX designers used the updated user journey map to create a clickable prototype of the healthcare platform that we later tested with real users.
Our usability tests showed a better understanding of the UI key elements, enhanced navigation, and interaction, even though we’ve created a proven-to-work prototype through trial and error.
A validated design concept was later taken by our UX professionals, who implemented both the strategy and a pixel-perfect user interface design.
Several UX strategists and product design experts worked on the healthcare platform design. Here is what we’ve created in 4 weeks:
- 80 dark mode screens
- 80 light mode
- Adaptive versions
When our UX designers finished the design work, our software developers joined the project to build a healthcare platform.
Our UX product strategy and software development experts worked in tight collaboration to ensure the design work was implemented correctly and were based on the company’s guiding principles.
The screenshot below is a doctor’s dashboard on a desktop device. Developing a dashboard tailored to meet the needs of doctors, we wanted to keep the essential information about patients in one place, saving precious doctors’ time.
Our design work helped Raccoon Recovery receive a €700,000 business growth grant from investors. What an impactful UX solution!
The Limeup team helped Raccoon Recovery build a healthcare platform.
Need help with UX design strategy?
Contact us, and let’s discuss how we can help you bring your ideas to life.
Limeup is an established UX design company that provides custom product design and development solutions, UX strategy, consulting, and on-demand support for startups and enterprises worldwide.
We have a team of design experts, developers, researchers, and consultants dedicated to helping your business grow.