Best Practices

The intention of a UX Consultant is to connect the user's needs with the value proposition of a business. This FIT of business strategy and user experience is crucial for long-term success and can only be met by continuously taking care of this delicate relationship.

"Value-Proposition FIT"
Value Proposition Canvas (Alexander Osterwalder et al., 2014)

An interdisciplinary skillset is essential to connect the user with the business. There are various frameworks, methods and best practices to achieve transform a comprehensive analysis into measurable value for both realms. This blog post shares some basics disciplines that a UX Consultant needs to know. 
First, I like to show the Double Diamond approach for an innovative process. This framework has been revised a couple of times but is a great guideline to start with. Secondly, I give a brief overview of disciplines that are relevant for a UX Consultant.


Note: The following process is iterative and can vary in scope, project loops and deliverables. 

The basic structure remains the same but the last part of the process can differ, based on the profession. As a UX Consultant the deliverables are defined in the context of strategic decision making and have to be deployed comprehensively. That is why the original last part "deliver" has been changed to "optimise". Instead of implementing prototypes, the UX Consultant is responsible for creating a set of recommended actions for meeting the strategic goal on a larger scale. The extent to which that happens, alters from project to project.

1. Understand - WHAT

At the beginning it is crucial to understand both sides of the market. Understanding means to empathise, in order to grasp the needs, gains and pains. As you can imagine there are countless ways to conduct proper research. However, as an UX Consultant I like to differentiate between quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data can be derived from various tools like Google Analytics, Search Console and Surveys. This is particularly important at the beginning of the process, since it provides insights, based on assimilated data and gives a quick idea of the status quo. That is where the synergy of SEO and UX can generate real value. The combination of these two disciplines cover the whole marketing funnel and provide comprehensive control throughout the process.
By the way, it is never bad to have qualitative data. However, the extent to which quantitative data can be utilised is much bigger later in the process. This can help to validate specific assumption that are based on initial insights.

2. Define - WHY

This element of the process is responsible for validating insights. Strategic recommendations are only valuable if the drawn conclusion is based on solid data. It can be a cumbersome process and consumes a lot of time and effort. This is where the qualitative data shows its full potential. It is crucial to understand that in order to create a holistic assessment, both sides of the market have to be considered. The qualitative testing can be implemented in many ways and I recommend to check out this toolbox by IDEO. It's a great overview of research techniques and more. 

3. Develop - HOW

This is the real exciting part of the process because it transforms all the theory into tangible prototypes. Based on the previously validated hypothesis, implications are defined. Now that you know which pains to solve, the questions is how to solve them. This is always specific to the respective use case. Currently I am mainly working within the field of digital marketing and therefore focus on digital prototypes. These can range from low-fidelity prototypes like Card Sorting to high-fidelity prototypes like A/B or multivariate testing etc. 
Once the tests indicate that prototypes function as pain-reliefers and gain-enablers, we proceed to the next stage of the process. 

4. Optimise - WHERE

This is the consolidated strategic part of the whole process and requires careful consideration of various factors. The question is WHERE to deliver the optimisation and within which context. Depending on the business type, business pattern and business vision, multiple recommendations are possible. Taking into account that an economically viable business has to assess factors like cost, time, management and human resources, it is not an easy task to decide which way to go.
It is the job of a UX Consultant to minimise uncertainty within the ecosystem of stakeholders and to facilitate decision making.

The Design Council added elements to the process in order to make it even more effective and inclusive.
It is important to realise that frameworks like the Double Diamond are only successful, if everyone participating in the process, has adopted the same mental model of user-centricity, visual thinking, iteration and co-creation.

Double Diamond Approach (own visualisation, 2020)

The two diamonds represent the mental model to have a converging and diverging mental model. This helps to find the best solution.
Check out this project to get an understanding of how the Double Diamond process can be applied. 

UX Consultant Audit

To understand both sides of the market, it is crucial to have an array of tools to evaluate products and services from the user-perspective. Luckily there are some universally applicable methods to do so. One of the best practices is to evaluate the UX of a digital product by means of a hierarchy. This hierarchy works bottom up and makes sure that each requirement for the next step is fulfilled, in order to generate a comprehensive analysis. 

1. Core Web Vitals
These elements make sure that the technical requirements for a great UX are fulfilled and function as the base of the hierarchy. They consist of loading time, cumulative layout shift and first input delay. They are easy so measure.

2. UX Principles 
They are the fundamentals of a great UX and guide the user to the intended conversion. They consist of understandability, efficiency, intuitive use, tailored experience, visual clarity and support. Their relevance can change according to the specific use case. They are measured by means of quantitative and qualitative data. 

3. Hedonic Quality 
This element is the key differentiator. It describes the extent to which brand values, brand promise and brand identity fit the overall UX. 
The relevance for this element depends on functional and emotional intentions, but has the biggest potential to transform visitors to customers and ambassadors. This matters most, if a company wants to create a long-term relationship with their users.

Summary of UX-Principles (own visualisation, 2020)

Business Design

Besides the previously mentioned necessity to understand and apply UX principles, there is more to it. 
As a UX Consultant you got to have a proper understanding of how a business works. That means to understand the value proposition, target group, value network, stakeholders, revenue streams and so on. An established tool to capture this, is called the
Business Model Canvas by Alexander Osterwalder. It serves as an overview of all relevant factors a successful business has to take care of. Furthermore it functions as a way to continuously assess possible decisions within the Double Diamond process.

In order to get an understanding of how it is applied, check out this project.
It is a great example of how a potentially viable business idea is developed into a compelling value proposition, relevant for investors. 

"Business Model Canvas"
Business Model Canvas (Alexander Osterwalder et al.)


The synergy of SEO and UX can be a decisive factor for competitive advantage. By utilising the best practices of SEO like comprehensive data analysis with Google Analytics, Search Console etc. valuable insights can be generated. The more data is generated, the more likely it is to deliver an outstanding UX. SEO does not just increase the organic visibility, but furthermore optimises the content of websites. This intersection of on-site content and UX can increase the number of impressions in SERP and eventually the conversion rate. That way the whole marketing funnel can be covered by two supplementary disciplines. 

"UX Consultant Synergy"
Synergy of UX and SEO (own visualisation. 2020)

Difference between UX Designer and UX Consultant

If you want to find out what the difference between a UX Consultant and a UX Designer, I invite you to read this blog post.