I’m writing a book about Strategic User Experience.
Send help!

I’m having another one of those moments where I feel terror and delight in equal parts. This is a feeling I’m becoming increasingly familiar with and almost welcome as a good omen. The reason, this time, is that I’ve agreed to write a book for the team at Five Simple Steps which will be called A Practical Guide to Strategic User Experience.

This is not the first time I’ve contemplated writing a book, but it’s the first time that I’ve actually managed to make the commitment to spend my time doing this and not something else – the main reason being that I’ve found that on the projects I work on these days, the biggest impediment to getting good UX work done is almost always strategic.

The funny thing about strategic work, though, is that there isn’t a process for doing it. There isn’t a series of methods that will always work. It’s more a way of thinking, a way of seeing things, a mindset. It’s really hard to ‘teach’.

I really noticed this when I thought about how I might do a workshop on Strategic UX for the upcoming UXLX conference. Subsequent conversations with a few people who I thought might have some easy answers for me (see my earlier post re: mentoring) also seemed to indicate that this might be an area that needs some work done on it.

There’s a lot of writing out there on strategy, on design thinking, on organisational change, and – of course – on user experience. There’s a growing body of work out there on customer experience and service design. There’s not much for those of us still want to be really great user experience practitioners, but who want to be influential in the way that our company (or our client’s company) thinks about our users’ experience beyond the interfaces/flows that we might be tasked with designing.

So, that’s what this book will set out to do – to give you a grounding in strategy from a range of different perspectives, to help you acquire the skills you need to to be effective in influencing strategy at an organisational level, and to learn how to facilitate the creation of an experience strategy and then help drive that strategy both outwards and throughout the organisation, and to apply that strategy to the day to day, tactical work.

And now, to my request for help…

… I’m really interested to talk to user experience practitioners with strategic UX war stories. I’d love to hear about:

  • what you found most challenging,
  • where the biggest problems lay,
  • what techniques really worked for you, and what didn’t!
  • I’d love to hear stories from ‘innies’ (inhouse design teams) and ‘outies’ (consultants),
  • I’d love to hear from big companies and small.
  • I’d love to hear about how being strategic has changed the way you do user experience (or not).

If you’ve got a story/thought/rant you’d like to share, please either leave a note in the comments below or drop me an email: [email protected]

Thank you!

8 Responses to “I’m writing a book about Strategic User Experience.
Send help!”

  1. andybudd November 12, 2010 at 6:50 pm #

    Fantastic stuff. Can’t wait to see the final product, although I guess I’m going to have to :)

  2. Francis December 2, 2010 at 7:07 pm #

    Oh yay!

    I love Five Simple Steps and I know that this book is going to be wonderful. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

  3. Richard Dalton December 2, 2010 at 10:24 pm #

    Hi Leisa, I spoke about Vanguard’s efforts to give ourselves some ‘strategic’ tools at MX and the Summit this year – it might be relevant.

    http://www.slideshare.net/mauvyrusset/experience-strategy-dealing-with-a-ux-midlife-crisis-4859480

  4. Eric Reiss December 3, 2010 at 9:07 am #

    I’d be glad to share whatever I’ve got. I presented 10 war stories in Phoenix last year. But these relate more to client relationships than to UX. If you want a private showing on GoToMeeting, give me a shout. Or if you just want to chew the fat, you know where to find me :)

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