When asked what I do for a living by friends, and even my partner, I’m often met with raised eyebrows. My response is “I’m an Experience Strategist”; their response is “Huh?”.
And I can understand why they’re confused. The title ‘Experience Strategist’ doesn’t fit any typical mould. It sounds made-up, and to some extent it is. The advancement in digital technology in the last 10 years alone has given rise to an abundance of new roles and titles, and like the technology itself, titles need time to evolve and take shape to suit their purpose. Inevitably new titles will need to be created as new disciplines come to the fore and these take time to become accepted and understood.
So to help reduce the confusion surrounding this role I have attempted to answer some of the key questions I’m asked on a regular basis:
What is an Experience Strategist?
Experience Strategist’s focus on shaping unique, online and mobile experiences without sacrificing user needs, technology capabilities, and business objectives. We observe and document what makes users browse, engage, play, shop and navigate the online world; advocating high-quality user experience throughout marketing and product development lifecycles.
What does an Experience Strategist do?
The Experience Strategist can expect to contribute to 3 of the 4 project quadrants (see diagram below).
Insight & Reporting
- Competitor evaluation and benchmarking
- Focus group co-ordination
- Persona & scenario creation
Strategy & Planning
- Experience design principles and visioning
- Customer journey mapping
- Stakeholder workshops and requirements gathering
- Information architecture
- Interaction design
What makes us tick?
- A happy and informed client, who understand the research-driven reasons behind our recommendations.
- Brand consistency and pixel perfect documentation.
- Sharing knowledge and helping to nurture talent.
- Experimenting with and advocating new tools to improve efficiency and keep the agency at the forefront of innovation.
As the role is still in its infancy your career path to becoming an Experience Strategist is still up for grabs. Below I’ve listed one possible route, but it’s not the one I happened to take. At the end of the day if you have the passion, are willing to self-teach (see the book list below) and you work for a company that believes in you, then any role you want should be attainable.
Digital Analyst ->
Digital Strategist ->
Experience Strategist ->
Head of Experience/Strategy ->
Chief Experience Officer (CXO)
What skills are needed?
Experience Strategists will be expected to operate from a platform of knowledge and expertise. So knowing how the design, development and research teams work on a daily basis is hugely beneficial. Hands on experience and empathy is key to ensuring the strategies you devise and sell-in to the client are actually achievable at the project level. Of course, you should always try to involve the project teams when devising your experience strategy so that it is grounded in fact, but having practical knowledge of the project delivery phases will help you set and manage client expectations.
- Client management
- Experience presenting to large groups
- A passion for the cognitive sciences
- A psychology or design degree is useful
Do you need to be University educated?
Not necessarily but it can really help. Not just as part of differentiating yourself from other candidates vying for the role, but because the methodical, analytical and theoretical skills that Universities often instil in their alumni are useful for the type of work the Experience Strategist carries out.
Words to describe an Experience Strategist?
Perfectionist – attention to detail is paramount
Amiable – your opinions will only be listened to if people respect you
Driven – having a passion for discovering the new
£30,000 – £60,000
Books that all Experience Strategist’s should have read:
Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug
Evil by Design: Interaction Design to Lead Us into Temptation by Chris Nodder
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
Seductive Interaction Design by Stephen P. Anderson
The Art of Client Service by Robert Solomon
The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman
Remember the 4 E’s of Experience: