UX strategy and UX maturity


Business strategy

Definition: A long-range plan for helping the business achieve specific business goals

Note: Strategy is about changing something

The core of any strategy is:
A.    Where are we now?
B.    Where do we want to be in 3 years?
C.    What are the right tactics to get from A to B?
D.    Once we have reached B, how will we prove it to our colleagues?
E.     What might stop us, and how will we overcome that?

A good business strategy is like a lighthouse.
It helps the organization make decisions that will lead it to a desired goal.

Business goal

Definition: A description of what a company expects to accomplish over a specific period of time.

Note: Businesses outline their goals in their business strategies. Goals might pertain to the company as a whole, departments, employees, customers, etc.

UX strategy

Definition: A long-range plan for helping the business achieve specific business goals through UX activities.

Note: A UX strategy can be about

  • A strategy specific for the company’s products and services.
  • How to position UX within the organization, for example increase usability maturity

Example of a helpful UX strategy

A bit of context: Alice works as a UX researcher for Gamma Airlines. From field studies, Alice learns that usability defects in Gamma’s booking system are causing people to miss high-margin “flight extras”. This aligns with the current cross-sell/up-sell strategy.

Strategy: Alice proposes a series of studies with representative customers based on her personas to identify and remove specific obstacles to profit here.

For more details and further examples of strategies, read the paper “A UX Stratega – A Fictitious but Realistic Example of a UX Strategy” by Rolf Molich, 7 pages.

Example of a bad strategy

“Our strategy is collaborative growth

We will lead a customer-focused effort of the market through our use of digital business and internet of things ecosystem to build a cloud-based revolution.

By being both innovative and open, we will drive competitive advantage throughout the organization. Synergies between our data leaders and agile culture will enable us to capture the upside by becoming networked in a big data world.

These transformations coupled with disruptive insight from data due to our digital first platform will create a learning organization through value and efficiency.”

Credit: Sophie Dennis


The actual means used to gain an objective.

Examples of UX tactics: Create personas; create user journey maps; implement HCD-lifecycle; run usability tests.

UX maturity

Definition: The level of understanding and implementation of a systematic human-centered design process within an organisation or a development team.

More about UX maturity


Management’s true commitment to usability and user experience is important for a high UX maturity. Many managers will say that they are committed to usability. However, there is a tremendous difference between paying lip service to commitment and true commitment. The following quote puts it very nicely:

Commitment is not doing what you want to do.  … 
Commitment is doing what you don’t want to do – because it is difficult, expensive, or inconvenient. In fact, the more you don’t want to do something, but continue doing it because you believe it to be the right thing to do, the more you are committed to it.
— Phillip G. Armour