UX Strategy Challenge 2019

Challenge Outcome – Awardees

The Decision of the Evaluation Committee for the UX Strategy Challenge

After thorough blind review of the UX Challenge submissions and subsequent discussions, the Evaluation Committee has decided to award 5 of the 13 UX Challenge submissions. These authors will share the $3,000 award.

The Evaluation Committee has decided not to name any overall winners, because none of the submissions fully lived up to what the judges expected from an exemplary UX strategy, such as:

  • the need to explicitly mention business goals;
  • relating any UX goal to one or more business goals;
  • separating business strategies and tactics;
  • “selling” the importance of UX to Gamma Airlines, Bob and the Board.

The Evaluation Committee thanks all 13 submission authors for their work. Each judge learned something from the submissions. We trust that the publication of these submissions will help further the discussion around what, precisely, constitutes an exemplary UX strategy.

Below we summarize the judges’ responses to the submissions, highlighting what the judges felt were the awarded submissions’ strengths.

Anne Thompson’s submission is awarded $1,000

  • Anne Thompson is a Principal Consultant for Thompson Finn LLC / UXPA Minneapolis

Summary Evaluation: This submission takes the most strategic approach, taking into account the industry, the company’s strengths and weaknesses, and the risk of disruption. It is the best UX strategy in terms of positioning Gamma Airlines for the future rather than just fixing what is broken today.


Alan Wexelblat’s submission is awarded $500

  • Alan Wexelblat is a Design Director for PTC.

Summary Evaluation: The submission convincingly argues that there must be a “pre UX-strategy” phase before a reasonable UX strategy can be written. The submission describes these steps in some detail.


Nick Weinel, Neha Kale, Yasmin Diederiks and Mark Becker’s submission is awarded $500

  • Nick Weinel, Neha Kale, Yasmin Diederiks and Mark Becker work with UserWorks

Summary Evaluation: This submission contains a short-term strategy and a long-term strategy and leverages second hand research on the value of design. It is a great idea to proactively test the existing website to gather insights to bring back to the boss with near term recommendations that can immediately be acted upon. Leveraging those insights may also help to build relationships and possibly a coalition.


Timo Jokela’s submission is awarded $500     

Summary Evaluation: This submission is interesting because it challenges assumptions about how we typically strategize. It differs from the other submissions in a thought-provoking way.


Peter McNally’s submission is awarded $500

  • Peter McNally is a Senior Consultant with the Bentley University, User Experience Center

Summary Evaluation: This submission offers a phased approach that is centered on business goals first followed by customer touchpoints. It is straightforward and practical. It also considers the back-office aspects of the business rather than just the customer-facing pieces.


UX Challenge Overview

A good UX strategy is essential to ensure the success of UX in an organization. Yet few examples of good UX strategies are currently publicly available. It is hard for people who want to create a good UX strategy to move forward if there are no published examples of good UX strategies available.

In order to provide great examples of UX strategies, UXPA Boston hosted a UX Strategy challenge in connection with the 2019 UXPA Boston Conference.

The public was invited to participate in the challenge with the following challenge: “Read the scenario. Write a UX strategy that matches the scenario. You may also submit a PowerPoint presentation or an elevator pitch that illustrates how you would sell UX internally to your key users, the management.”

The Scenario

Alice is an experienced UX professional who has worked successfully for two major airlines for more than 8 years.

Alice was headhunted 3 months ago by Gamma Airlines (a fictitious company), which is a small regional airline that has about 900 employees. Alice is the airline’s first and until now only UX specialist. Alice was hired by direct request from Bob, the CEO, but Alice has had little to do with the CEO since. Alices colleagues are friendly towards her, but they mainly expect Alice to make product interfaces look cool. They say that they know their users well and that their products are usable and loved by many users. Information from support and informal studies that Alice has done of the booking section of Gamma Airline’s website and Gamma Airline’s staff allocation system indicate that this is definitely not the case.

The Challenge: UX Strategy

Bob just sent a brief email to Alice, asking her for a UX Strategy. It seems that Bob has just attended a seminar by a UX management guru, who recommended a UX Strategy as a starting point for successful UX work in an organization.

What should Alice write in her UX Strategy?

Submit your suggestion in text form as a pdf file using the SUBMIT button below.

Note: File upload limitation is 2MB per file, and a maximum of 3 files. You may need to break your submission into multiple files, or submit a link to an online location where we can download your submission. The file size is not a factor in the judging process, just a limitation on our document submission tool.

Optional, additional deliverable 1: Presentation to the Board

After reading Alice’s UX strategy, Bob asks Alice to present the UX strategy at the next board meeting. She will have five minutes for her presentation, followed by another 5 minutes for questions.

What should the slides in Alice’s presentation contain?

Submit your suggestion as a pdf file using the SUBMIT button below. The visual design / layout of the slides is less important.
Note: File upload limitation is 2MB per file, and a maximum of 3 files. You may need to break your submission into multiple files, or submit a link to an online location where we can download your submission. The file size is not a factor in the judging process, just a limitation on our document submission tool.

Optional, additional deliverable 2: Elevator Pitch

After accepting the invitation to the Board meeting, Alice meets Bob in an elevator. Alice has up to 60 seconds (or 150 words) to pitch her suggestions to Bob. 

What should Alice say?

Submit your suggestion in text form (pdf-file) or as a video using the SUBMIT button below. The video must play on the VLC Video player on a Windows computer. Please consider including reasonable, blunt questions asked by Bob in your pitch; if you do so, please still observe the time limits .
Note: File upload limitation is 2MB per file, and a maximum of 3 files. You may need to break your submission into multiple files, or submit a link to an online location where we can download your submission. The file size is not a factor in the judging process, just a limitation on our document submission tool.

The Award

Rolf Molich’s company DialogDesign is sponsoring $3,000 in total for the best UX strategies. An evaluation committee decides who will be rewarded. Perhaps the bragging rights are even more important than the money. Winning this award would look good on any CV.

The Evaluation Committee

Chris Hass
Chris Hass, UX Consultant
Meena Kothandaraman
Meena Kothandaraman, Experience Strategist at twig+fish research practice, Lecturer at Bentley University Grad HFID Program
Rolf Molich
Rolf Molich
UX Consultant, DialogDesign, DK. Originator and manager of the CUE-studies
Susan Rice, Head of Product Design and Research
Carolyn Snyder
Carolyn Snyder, UX Consultant, US
Tom Tullis
Tom Tullis, UX Consultant and former Vice President of UX Research at Fidelity Investments, US


The results of the challenge will be presented in a 45-minute session at the UXPA Boston 2019 Conference on 10 May 2019. You do not have to be present at the conference to be awarded. The presentation will include the lessons that the judges learned when selecting awardable UX strategies, and what a good UX strategy is.

  1. The Evaluation Committee may decide to split the available money into several awards. Each award will be at least $1,000.
    You do not have to attend the UXPA Boston 2019 Conference to be awarded.
  2. The Evaluation Committee may decide not to award any suggestion or to lower the total amount of money for the awards if fewer than 7 suggestions are received and none of the suggestions are considered rewardable.
  3. The main emphasis is on the UX Strategy Challenge. The optional Presentation to the Board and Elevator Pitch will also be considered by the Evaluation Committee, but a suggestion can be awarded without these optional components. If there are two equally good suggestions for a UX Strategy, the optional deliverables may make a difference. You may submit both a presentation and an elevator pitch in addition to the UX Strategy.
  4. You may submit several suggestions. You may submit a suggestion as a team.
  5. You are not allowed to change the given scenario, but you are welcome to extend it in reasonable ways. Make sure you explain any extensions or assumptions you make, for example by including your scenario in your suggestion.
  6. All suggestions will be published. The names of the authors of rewarded suggestions will also be published. The names of the authors of suggestions that are not rewarded will be published only if the author indicates clearly that they want their suggestion published with their name. Authors retain the copyright to their suggestions.
  7. Rolf Molich will write an article about the results, together with interested members of the Evaluation Committee and interested authors of awarded submissions. The article will be submitted for publication in a recognized publication, for example the Journal of Usability Studies.
  8. The submission evaluation process will be blind. The authors’ names will be hidden from the evaluation committee.

Timeline of Activities

  • March 4: The challenge was published
  • April 10: Deadline for submitting UX Strategies and optional deliverables
  • May 10: Results are announced publicly at a session at the #UXPABOS19 conference. This session will include a discussion of lessons learned from the challenge and the key components of an effective UX Strategy.


The UX Strategy Challenge has ended and submissions are closed.


Please contact Rolf Molich: uxchallenge@dialogdesign.dk

Questions and answers about the challenge will be published on this site (http://strat.uxpaboston.org).

Rolf Molich’s Rationale for Sponsoring this Challenge

At a German UX conference in September 2018 I attended an inspiring talk about how to boost UX maturity in an organization. The presenter suggested that one of the best ways to increase UX maturity and awareness in an organization is to develop a UX Strategy. During the Q&A period, I asked the presenter if he had a good example of a UX Strategy that he could share. He admitted that he didn’t. He also acknowledged that the request was reasonable.

A month later, I asked for good examples of UX strategies in Tharon Howard’s Utest discussion forum. Several people said that they had UX Strategies and provided good advice on what should and what should not be in a UX strategy. However, no one was willing to share an example, not even in an anonymized form.

In order to provide great examples of UX strategies, I decided to suggest a UX Strategy challenge. The challenge is inspired by the success of the Comparative Usability Evaluation studies (CUE), where usability professionals simultaneously and independently evaluated websites in order to help us understand the usability testing process better.

Just like me, UXPA Boston is always on the lookout for ways to engage mid- and senior-level members of our community. This challenge seems like a good chance to engage people with those levels of expertise. So we’re all excited about the possibilities.