The world gets comfy with UX strategy

Picture of angels dancing at a party photo: Michael Oh (CC BY 2.0)

It’s great the way this happens… In parallel, many people thinking in similar ways, but calling it by different names. “Service design” came out of the bubbling pot that also contained transformation design, system design (from a user perspective!), design by transformation, experience design, user experience design, user-centred design, etc. But when it all came down, the linguistic prizes pretty much landed on user experience and service design.

We still have angels-dancing-on-the-head-of-a-pin debates about how different these two things are. And for what it’s worth, my view is that service design is a user-centred approach to systems design, and seeks to develop an integrated offering across touchpoints through beautiful, engaging and useful user experiences.

A new label has been bubbling up in the last year or so: UX strategist. So… is it a planner? is it a design strategist? is it a service designer? is it an insight person? is it a social media consultant? a design ethnographer? a UX analytics expert?

I believe it could cover any of these, and it’s great that there is wide range of possibilities because of what this represents: the widening acceptance that in-depth understanding and engagement with users/audiences/customers/players needs to start way before the first wireframe is drawn or even way before the first Agile story is written on an index card.

Where I believe this is heading, is a world in which we not only start thinking about the strategy for the user experience way before specification stage, but a world where most organisations are eager to use user experience and service design as a strategic weapon in early stage proposition development. Yes, I know some people call that “design thinking,” but, that’s cool.