Now is an exciting time to be an Experience Strategist. The title is still fairly new to the agency world; more focused than a Digital Strategist, less design-driven than a UX Strategist, the role is still in its infancy but already becoming popular. A quick search shows that, at the time of writing there are, 1,657 professionals on LinkedIn with the title (compared to 20,173 with the title Digital Strategist), and this is clearly a reaction to the growing desire from clients to place the user at the heart of their digital strategies.
Like the famous 5Ds of a project lifecycle, I propose that there are 4Es of Experience Strategy (actually credit should go to Anna Pohlmeyer for the first 3Es, but 4 felt like a better fit). These should form your strategy’s mantra, becoming guiding principles to help you overcome your challenges and direct the creative team to a solution. They can also provide a very quick checklist to ensure each digital experience that you craft has the user’s interest at heart (and not just the business’s!)
Help the user get the task done (usability). As Steve Krug would say “Don’t make them think!”
Create fun and pleasurable experiences (UX) that resonate with the user.
Empower the user and deliver meaningful experiences (Positive Design),
Provide memorable moments that the user is compelled to share.
The 4Es also act as a brief history lesson in the evolution of user experience and so the list should be seen as progressive, where each E is reliant on the previous. Jumping straight to excitement and forgetting the preceding steps may seem like a fun idea, but not appreciating the basics such as compatibility and accessibility could be your product/website/apps’s downfall.
Here’s an example of how I recently utilised the 4Es in an Experience Strategy to outline the key creative and technical deliverables for a new online calculator (this is an extract, not the entire strategy of course):
Efficiency – ensure swift calculations
Engagement – focus on customisation of results and the ability to save
Enablement – clear signposting and navigation to the next step in the purchase funnel are key
Excitement – deliver a market-leading experience
Short and sweet. Just how strategies should be.