Updated: Mar 2, 2021
Lean User Experience (Lean UX) design is a mindset, culture, and technique that works in alignment with Agile development methods. It aims to reduce waste and provide value by measuring results against a benefit hypothesis. Essentially, lean UX combines the solution-based approach of design thinking with the iteration methods which compound Agile. So let’s take a look at how that might work.
In a more traditional way of building sites, you would start with what you want to build, then release the product to the market and then you would get feedback. But the problem is you are spending time, efforts, resources upfront building something that you do not know if people want to use it.
Why use Lean UX?
Lean UX is focused on the experience under design and is less focused on deliverables than traditional UX. With Lean UX you make small iterations and get feedback asap, it encourages a greater level of collaboration with the entire team and a far more comprehensive view of why a Feature exists, the functionality required to implement it, and the benefits it delivers. By getting immediate feedback to understand if the system will meet the real business objectives, Lean UX provides a closed-loop system for defining and measuring value. Fundamentally the difference between Lean UX and other forms of UX it's just the way you work on a project is slightly different, but you always have the same goal in mind; delivering a great user experience.
The Lean UX Process
What lean UX aims to do is to find the quickest ways to achieve an end goal, and its cycle runs through four stages:
Declare assumption -> Create an MVP -> Run an experiement-> Feedback & Research
Getting things done under a traditional UX design process is a time consuming, waste creating process. A major advantage of the lean UX process is less waste. Adopting a lean UX process means and integrate design, front-end, and product management. The result is an experimental environment that builds interactive prototypes that can move into production more seamlessly.
Since the cycle is short in a lean UX process, it lends itself to efficiency and speed. The focus for lean UX is to ensure a minimum viable product (MVP) goes to market. Create the minimum, get it out, understand the reaction, iterate, and so on. This allows for ongoing experimentation. Lean UX is adaptable and enables designers and developers alike to adjust their plans to respond to quick changes in markets or unforeseen demands.
How to get started
If you’re a designer who wants to bring lean UX to your company then bravo. You’ve made a good decision. Organizational change is difficult, especially when processes haven’t changed for a long time.
According to Jeff Gothelf, for lean UX to work in an organization the traditional departments have to be broken down. Why do you need to break them? It’s because of the silo mentality. That’s where teams and departments are used to keeping their information for themselves, unwilling to share knowledge with other teams. For example, you might be in an organization that has a design team that includes graphic designers, UX designers, UI designers, and art directors. For Lean UX to work, teams need to be broken down making many sub-teams, which are all self-sufficient and autonomous. Self-sufficiency is important when it comes to lean UX as relying on other departments can hinder the process and create more waste (which is antithetical to lean UX). The freedom to solve business problems on their own is at the base of the Lean UX process. Lean UX is evidence-based and it’s focused on learning, experimenting, and building on those findings to create better products.
At the end of the day, it’s our goal to provide products to people that they want to use and are easy to use. Lean UX takes us on a route to get there in a way that’s efficient, collaborative, and fast.