Tag Archives: project planning

UX Strategy Canvas

UX Project and Strategy Canvas Jennifer Blatz UX Design

There are a plethora of Canvases out there on the internet these days to help teams define and scope a project. You have Jeff Gothelf’s Lean UX Canvas, and the Business Model Canvas, and the User Centered Design Canvas, just to name a few. All of these canvas structures provide value in many ways. And many of them share similar types of content that helps drive the team to a better understanding about the project.

For an organization I was working with, I needed to take a slightly different approach. I needed to display other things that were not included in the standard and approved canvases already existing. So I came up with my own UX Strategy Canvas template.

How can we determine what we will be building when we are still trying to define the problem and figure things out?

What makes this Canvas different from other canvases is the inclusion of UX deliverables and activities. Yes I know, that at a high level, UX deliverables should not be explicitly stated. How can we determine what we will be building when we are still trying to define the problem and figure things out? Yes that makes total sense. But the organization’s UX process was so immature, and our product partners did not know what to expect from the UX designers, so we needed to set some expectations for the design journey. Now I’ll talk about the different sections of the UX Strategy Canvas.


This is the very highest level summary of the project. It includes two major components: The Vision Statement and Project Details and Deadlines.

The Vision Statement

A few overarching sentences about what you want the product to be. It defines the scope and purpose of the product without getting specific about how the purpose will be achieved. The vision statement describes the intent rather than the execution.

Project Details and Deadlines
  • Deadline for Delivery to Dev: Date design needs to be wrapped up
  • Release date: Date that dev is finished and it will be released
  • Point in the process: Planning, concepting, design, delivery, etc.
  • Key Players: Product, designers, engineers, key stakeholders
  • Systems involve: Focus Areas, Backend or Front end systems, Control panels

Customer Problem and Pain Points

The problems you are trying to solve for the customer. The particular pain points that this project is trying to address.

Circumstances of Use

The who, what, when, where, and why of the product. This is user focused to have a basic understanding of who we are designing for.

Design Criteria

The design principles that are specific to your product. How your design makes the experience meaningful and improves usability. How design elements like fonts, colors etc., will improve the experience. Useful design criteria are based on your research, and are written with the goal of differentiating the product, of improving upon what’s already been done, and of setting a high bar.

UX Activities

List the high-level UX strategies and deliverables that you intend to include with your project. This is so your product partners and engineers know what they can expect to be shared and collaborated with in the process of designing the project.

Success Metrics

Again, the success metrics is broken down in to two separate entities: Business and Customer success definitions.

Business Success

How success relates to the business goals: UX metrics fall into the 5 categories summarized with the acronym  HEART: happiness, engagement, adoption, retention, and task success.

Customer Success

How success relates to the customer’s goals: UX metrics fall into the 5 categories summarized with the acronym  HEART: happiness, engagement, adoption, retention, and task success.


Granted, I understand that these do not define all things for the  project. But the point of this canvas is to have a benchmark and starting point to get all of the team on the same page. The UX Designer, UX Researcher or Project manager can ask the questions that I recently wrote about in my article “Questions to Ask Your Client in a Kickoff,” to get the team aligned on the project. Those questions, along with a better understanding of the customers needs, goals and pain points are the basis of this UX Strategy Canvas.

Please let me know if you have any feedback, questions or comments on my UX Strategy Canvas template.

Questions to ask your Client in a Kickoff

Jennifer Blatz UX design kickoff questions
The kickoff meeting is a great place to start your exploration in to a new UX design project.

So you hear a new project is coming your way. And you don’t know anything about it. You see on your calendar that a meeting has been scheduled with your product manager, the developers and a few other people you don;t know. This initial meeting is what is known as a “Kickoff Meeting” and this is a great opportunity for you to get some questions answered.

Questions answered?!? Yikes. What questions? Well that is pretty simple. You start to think about what information you need to get the project started. As a UX designer or researcher, there might be a million questions swimming in your head about the project. And you worry that there is no way you are going to get them all answered in one hour-long kickoff meeting. And that is OK if they are not all answered in that first meeting.

The purpose of this post is to give you a check list of questions to come prepared to the kickoff meeting. There is nothing worse than blanking out when you hear that infamous prompt: “Do you have any question?”

Well of course you do, you have a million of them But you have suddenly drawn a blank.

Jennifer Blatz User Experience UX designer

OK. Let’s fix that. As with any project, it’s good to have a plan and come prepared. Here is a list of questions that you could ask at a kickoff meeting (or followup if you run out of time) so that you have information to get you started on a project.

Questions for the Kickoff

  • Tell me a bit about the project. Give me a bit of context.
  • What are the goals of the project?
  • What is the motivation behind this project?
  • How would you define success for this?
  • What research already exists for this project or something similar?
  • What do you want to find out through research?
  • What is the timeline and deadlines?
  • What are the user’s main pain points?
  • How do you know these are the main pain points?
  • What do you think is missing (from the design/app/interface)?
  • What do you think would make it better?
  • What do you expect the outcomes or deliverables to be?
  • Who are the stakeholders we should be talking to?
  • Are we leaving out any resources?
  • Where do we go from here to get started? What are the next steps?

They key here is to squash assumptions and to understand the project’s motivation, goals, success metrics, expectations and deadlines. A few key questions, at your fingertips, should help you to gather this very important information.