User experience (UX) design is now everywhere. Businesses need good UX strategies to connect to customers while maintaining value. Do you want to help your future company that way? Then, learn how to become a user experience strategist!
I’m working in this role. Now I can’t hide my eagerness to share with you my journey. In this guide, I will show you seven steps you need to take. You can also learn about a UX strategist’s salary, working environment, and job outlook.
So, let’s scroll down to check!
User experience strategy is the key to user experience. An effective UX strategy helps a company focus on its brand’s vision. In the meantime, the company has to keep its business on the right curve.
The UX strategy is always the first step in a marketing plan. It connects the brand’s goals to users’ expectations.
A UX strategist is in charge of this task. More specifically, they align their company’s objectives with the user’s experience. So, they act as the intersection of business strategies and user-centered designs.
As a UX strategist, I have many tasks to cover every day. For example:
- Do research: I have to conduct user research thoroughly. Based on the results, I can understand user behaviors and their preferences.
- Analyze data: I review the data collected. Then, I analyze how my target customers respond to similar products. This task also helps me identify what to improve in my company’s products.
- Conceptualize: I also design principles to address the opportunities and pain points. Then, I can plan the user journey.
- Work with designers: The designers in my team need my help. So, I give them guidelines to ensure a consistent UX design.
I work in a creative environment. The exciting atmosphere in my office inspires me a lot at work.
However, it’s not your only option. You can also choose to work from home so that your schedule will be flexible.
You need to take at least seven steps to become a UX strategist. They have brought me here and helped me succeed on my way.
Firstly, get a bachelor’s degree. This step ensures you have a solid foundation in computing concepts. You should choose a relevant field, like computer science.
During the course, you can learn about the software development life cycle. It’s crucial for creating user experiences to align with the development process.
You will learn programming languages to join the software development process. They also help you communicate with developers smoothly.
Depending on the major you choose, the curriculum may vary. Yet, ensure you can learn both front-end and back-end development. This way, you can deal well with server-side and client-side technologies.
It’s hard to find a degree that focuses only on UX. However, you can take online courses instead. There are many topics to consider.
For example, you can choose journey maps. They showcase steps that users take in a process. And that’s what a UX strategist works on.
Usability testing is important, too. It refers to testing a service or product by evaluating it with some representative users.
For example, participants try to take a typical task during this test. Meanwhile, you observe and take notes of their behaviors. After that, you will know how users respond to your product.
Work on UX prototype as well. It’s the rough version of your product. By working with it, you know what concept and layout your design solution should have. Then, you can tell how your future product will work.
Most courses include practical exercises. Aside from the knowledge, you can also try with graphic design software. So, create mockups to develop your skills. Try coding the application’s UI, too. All these tasks will help you gain experience.
Learn how to use UX tools. You will use them when working as a UX strategist.
I highly recommend this tool for user research. It helps me conduct user interviews. Then, I can find out what users want from my UX and what they don’t like with the current one.
The audience base on this platform has over 400,000 participants. It means you can receive responses from many people. This tool even allows you to filter them in different demographics.
This cloud-based platform helps you collect notes, videos, and recordings. Then, you can analyze them to identify common trends in your target audience.
Another great thing about Dovetail is that you can handle the data in one place. Thus, your team can find and utilize customer research easily. It’s an excellent idea for all team members to focus on UX.
Lucidchart is a charting tool. You can use it to picture how your website’s features can connect.
I really like the drag-and-drop tool on Lucidchart. It’s super easy to use. And, thanks to its real-time collaboration feature, you can invite your team members to contribute to the chart.
Lucidchart can connect to other services, too. For example, web developers can add their code on Github to the platform. This feature will then make your collaboration smoother.
If you want to run website or software mockups, choose Omnigraffle. Both Mac and iOS services can work on this platform.
The best part of Omnigraffle is the design features. The app framework makes it easy for me to sketch my product before starting the real work.
You should also take UX courses. During the program, you can practice planning a UX strategy. Each UX strategy includes multiple areas, such as:
- Primary stakeholders: The leadership positions in your company define the UX goals. Thus, primary stakeholders must be clear on their UX approaches.
- Secondary stakeholders: After that, primary stakeholders work with team leaders. They determine how the UX benefits should align with their daily business activities.
- Customers: You work hard as a UX strategist to satisfy your customers. Hence, pay attention to what they need from your company.
- Beta users: Try to attract new users when launching new products. Then, you can make good iterations before releasing the alpha products.
- Data and trends: Check what the statistics say about your products. Trends matter, too, as they affect whether your products can succeed.
When taking courses on UX strategies, you will cover all of the areas above. Each of them affects the success rate of your strategy.
Experience is important, too. Some companies even prefer it to your bachelor’s degree. But how can you gain experience when you are still new?
There are many options to consider. For example, your university may ask you to take an internship in your last year.
As an intern, you don’t earn much. But trust me! The lessons you get from your internship can help you stand out when applying for a job.
Another idea is to try working in an entry-level position. I used to be a junior designer. This job taught me how to build user-friendly apps. I also learned a lot from my colleagues and boss.
My dedication was critical. When taking the first job, I didn’t miss any chance to try different tasks. My boss even asked me to work with UI interfaces. At that time, I couldn’t imagine how beneficial it would be for me.
Gradually, I built my skills. After a short time, I progressed to the UX strategist position. All the experience I earned didn’t go to waste.
This job requires many skills. Here are the ones that matter most in your future job:
- Programming: UX design needs some standard languages, like Java and Python. They help you suggest improvements to a website’s UI. You can also use them to test UX prototypes.
- Cloud-based platforms: These platforms assist you in delivering UX. As a UX strategist, you will upload your code to the cloud. After that, UX designers and developers can implement changes.
- Debugging: You don’t have to review the code. However, it would be good to use your debugging skills to identify errors in the testing phase. Then, you can ensure your website can function correctly.
- UI design: Your duty is about UX. Yet, you should be an expert in UI. With this skill, you can test the UI’s effectiveness and quality.
- Data analysis: Your company’s marketing team will collect reports from user data. Then, they will send the reports to you. Based on them, you can define the website’s layout.
- Web testing: This skill is necessary to ensure optimal UX design. You also need it to detect issues with your product before launching it.
- Creative thinking: You should have innovative ideas for your UX.
- Communication: You will work with your colleagues to build a functional website. Thus, hone your communication skills as soon as possible.
- Negotiation: As a UX strategist, you have to align business plans and users’ requirements. Then, you can find workable compromises.
- Time management: You will have many tasks. Even when working as a UX strategist for years, the deadlines sometimes stress me out. That’s why I advise you to learn how to manage your time effectively.
Congratulations! You’ve reached that far! Now, you can apply for a UX strategist position. If you have all the necessary skills, job chances will come.
When searching for a job, read the job description carefully. Then, build a resume that matches the company’s requirements.
It would be best to attach a portfolio to your resume. It includes all your previous work experience. Your potential employers can then tell you what you can do. If they need your skills, you will receive a call or message from them.
The high salary must be one of the biggest motivators for UX strategists. They can earn about $136,412 per year (in 2023).
Your location may affect your salary. For example, UX strategists in Boston, MA, can make $163,725 per year. Meanwhile, those in Tacoma, WA, have an average annual salary of $158,302. The gap is minimal, as this job is well-paid in general.
This job is in high demand because UX strategy plays a vital role in businesses. For example, a good UX strategy helps the development team create good products. They will also surely align with the users’ expectations.
UX strategists help companies save resources and time. Since they have planned what is necessary for the products, their companies know what to prioritize.
Yes. It’s my career path! Remember I told you I worked as a designer before becoming a UX strategist? You can consider this option, too.
UX designers have experience in the industry. They also work with UX strategies, which include specialized methodologies. Hence, they can become a good UX strategist.
These two jobs may overlap sometimes. However, their priorities are different.
More specifically, UX designers focus on the experience of end users. On the other hand, UX strategists ensure the UX team can fulfill business needs.
Hence, UX strategists must suggest valuable input so their companies can make crucial decisions. Of course, those decisions should be about user mindsets.
You need to learn UX concepts, tools, and methodologies first. Then, develop your skills and gain experience. Once you’ve got it all, you can become a good UX strategist. You contribute to the success of your company. Hopefully, you will excel in your role!