Experience Strategy: Exposing the Truth
I’m about to expose a deep, dark secret about experience strategy, and it ain’t going to be pretty. Some of you may already be aware of it, some of you may not, but either way today is the day that I am going to get the truth out there. I hope you are ready to hear it.
You see I wasn’t always completely aware of this truth either. It just so happens that some time ago I came across this post/presentation from Zachary Paradis (PS I highly recommend that you listen to the entire presentation.). In it, he dispels 3 myths of customer experience, however, those myths are not the secret that I want to expose today. The secret that I want to expose happens around minute 10 of the presentation, and boy what a minute it is.
It’s at this point in the presentation that Zachary breaks down for us what Experience Strategy really is. He defines it as Business Strategy combined with Experience Modeling, and I think this is a great way to define the term. But the secret is this (queue suspenseful music): Experience Strategy comes directly from Business Strategy. Oh the horror! Yes, what we do is modeled directly after what those pesky business strategists do. The thing that sets experience strategy apart from business strategy is, of course, our ability to model user experiences in cooperation with knowing and attempting to couple them with the business strategy.
But wait… what does this all mean? Lis, what do you mean that experience strategy is based off of the business? How can that be? Isn’t what we do really based off of our empathy for our users as well as our ability to be the opposite of the “business-only” focused people in the room? Isn’t that where our creative and empathetic value comes into play? Well, that is only partly correct. What this means is that not only is this stuff we call experience strategy not new, and therefore we are not the first ones doing it, but it also means that in order for an experience strategy to be successful it has to include and help to progress the business needs and goals. This means that at the heart of what we do lies a business strategy that drives us forward, and that it is our job as experience strategists and designers to be very familiar with that business strategy.
Thus, in order for us to truly add value with our experience strategy work and thereby attain more of it (as opposed to the wireframing we are so well known for), we have to learn about our business’s strategies, as well as continue to learn about our user needs and goals. It is then that we apply experience modeling to those strategies and needs in order to create holistic and valuable solutions. By doing so, we create a competitive advantage for our products like few others ever seen; one based off both business need and user goals. The products and services that we wish we were designing have this competitive advantage, and it’s what makes them so attractive to both us and to our users. So I implore you UX, learn the business, model the experiences from it, and then, I promise you, you will create some of the best experiences of your career. And, how can that not make the world a better place?