Experience Design Strategy: A North Star Approach

Written By: Jared Wick
Published On: June 8, 2017

The human experience is rapidly shifting from physical to digital and the demand for high-quality digital experiences is higher than ever. Companies are taking note and moving as quickly as possible to compete by improving the many points through which they reach customers and in many cases their own employees.

This new economic shift is often referred to as the "Experience Economy" and there seems to be three ways to build a competitive advantage in the new environment:

Inspire, differentiate, and innovate – through experience design strategy!

What is an experience design strategy?

An experience design strategy lives at the ecosystem level, not the product level. It acts as the north star, guiding the design for the many system-wide interactions that make up your customer's experience. It is a detailed plan that guides a company and its resources toward a common goal of building brand value, inspiring competence and building trust with customers through user experience.

A strong strategy will outline the activities necessary for reaching that goal, and coordinate necessary teams to take action. While not every interaction must be groundbreaking, a strategic approach to experience design will ensure positive and memorable interactions are created.




Experience strategy will inform more specific user experience tactics like: deciding how to display content on a web page, actively working to reduce cognitive load, using a responsive framework, or testing early and often. The UX tactics and activities defined within a strategy should be informed by a broader mission statement or goal, such as:

  • Empower a segment of users to express themselves
  • Inspire trust through transparency
  • Enable users to contribute to and shape the product experience

An experience strategy should also inform product and service design. The strategy should identify opportunities to differentiate your company from the competition and build lasting value by building a truly superior offering. By reaching these goals you will be creating an experience that is distinct in your customer's mind and worthy of recommending to others.

How Do We Create An Experience Strategy?

Developing a strategy requires a clear position. We determine who you are relative to your competitors. It also requires a pattern or approach to follow to deliver value, gain competitive advantage, and reinforce your position.

Steps to building an experience strategy:

  1. Analyze existing strategies and customer data
    1. Identify areas of constraint and areas that bring the most business value
    2. Analyze customer data like analytics and demographics
  2. Conduct research to expand existing knowledge
    1. Identify all user touch points
    2. Identify pain points
    3. Engage with customers
  3. Create personas and map customer experiences
    1. Draw from all available data to identify areas of opportunity
    2. Illustrate high value experiences through visual maps
  4. Combine all knowledge to generate your strategy
    1. Define problems and opportunities
    2. Design and test solutions through prototyping software
    3. Determine final solution and begin implementation
    4. Construct a detailed product road map to guide development
    5. Refine and optimize strategy throughout


"The digital and physical worlds are starting to come together more seamlessly–it's only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what's coming."

- Mark Parker, Nike CEO


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