The world of user experience is maturing quickly. It is fast developing into a complete science that is beginning to deliver ROI rates of between 40-60% to companies who are implementing UX strategies that tie into their overall business objectives.

Clear and concise language is vital in any strategy process – which is why the S.M.A.R.T methodology, as developed by George Doran in 1981, is a powerful tool that leading designers, agencies and firms alike are using to keep themselves ahead of the curve.

Doran realised that focusing attention on Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound objectives, provides a set of disciplines that allow individuals and teams to be more effective.

It’s vitally important to have a clear understanding of your primary business objectives. Equally important is creating S.M.A.R.T. user journeys designed with the user and business goals aligned across all touch points, giving us a much greater chance of achieving our objectives.

When applying UX thinking to products and services, the primary goals are usually to create great experiences and sleek designs. And of course, these are extremely important features of UX that belong front and centre of any robust UX strategy. But these shouldn’t be the only focus. If you want UX to drive results, it’s imperative to think beyond look and feel.

We need to investigate our objectives to ensure that they are clearly formulated. As an agency,it’s common to hear top-level requests such as, “We need a slick website to attract more users,” or, “We need an app that will win awards.” These are all perfectly reasonable aspirations, but to create real change, we need to back up and dig a little deeper.

A great UX strategy revolves around analysing and solving problems. Investigate why you need a new website. What problems are you trying to solve? Are you trying to get your customers to the point of purchase quicker? Or are you trying to drive more traffic to your site from your social channels? Working out exactly where and what the fundamental problems are at the start of the strategy process, gives us a solid foundation of objectives, that can be used as a blueprint for all decision making therein.

When adopted as a consistent mindset, the S.M.A.R.T. framework helps streamline process, and promotes better communications between teams, partners and clients. Doran never intended for S.M.A.R.T. to be a burden or to add unnecessary process, rather to create a set of values and a mindset that drives results.