Becoming a UX Strategist – UX Conference course review

Part of Nielsen Norman Group’s set of Management courses the teachings in this UX strategist course are suitable for those already in leadership positions or UX professionals looking to step up to a higher level.

Nancy Dickenson lecturing on becoming a UX strategist at UX Conference

Instructor: Nancy Dickenson
Course Title: Becoming a UX Strategist
Course Description: Learning how to envision, plan, and successfully manage user-centred cultures, teams, and organisations

The instructor

Nancy’s credentials lend enormous gravitas to her teachings having worked her way up from designing Muppet costumes for Jim Henson to working as a UX strategist for giants such as ebay, to operating as Chief Exec for FirstGiving. Complimentary to that background, her delivery and demeanour are of a friendly and down-to-earth human being. Speaking to her after the course she was more than happy to offer some personalised advice, which was much appreciated.

The students

Many of those I spoke to work at Creative Director level or run their own design agency. A high proportion of students had travelled across the world to attend this conference: from Switzerland, Toronto, South Africa. They had chosen the London conference due to the range of management courses on the schedule. Interestingly, several hands went up when asked if they worked in a healthcare startup.

The syllabus

These are high-level teachings, defining not only what a strategy is but also the difference between corporate strategy, UX strategy, and UI strategy. Further to that we learned how to choose a strategy for our strategy using a two-by-two grid to define each option.

A large part of the course was focussed on improving students’ business acumen as this is a common skill gap in higher-level UX roles. Nancy highlighted her favourite business analysis methods (such as a SWOT chart) and demonstrated how to use them with group activities and worksheets.

Key learnings

By the end of the day I felt inspired. I now feel far more confident that actions I’ve taken with my UX strategy for Racing Post are strong – even ahead of the curve in some aspects. Several students were interested to learn more from me about my approach to linking strategy and experience design into an atomic design system.

Gaps in my raw business knowledge have been filled and I understand how to effectively extend what UX strategy I’m currently supporting.

A UX strategist can make the most impact when planning ahead and when aiming to differentiate products. I can now define separate strategies for achieving cost effectiveness and for product innovation.

Most importantly we learned how UX strategy, if aligned with the overall corporate strategy, can deliver more positive transformation to a business than marketing, B2B, or any traditional business unit. In that way it should be considered worthy of the same budgeting, if not more.

UX Conference Logo

Your thoughts etc?