Lean UX is an incredibly useful technique when working on projects where the Agile development method is used. Traditional UX techniques often don’t work when development is conducted in rapid bursts – there’s not enough time to deliver UX in the same way. Fundamentally Lean UX and other forms of UX all have the same goal in mind; delivering a great user experience it’s just that the way you work on a project is slightly different. So let’s take a look at how that might work.
What is Lean UX?
Lean UX is focused on the experience under design and is less focused on deliverables than traditional UX. It requires a greater level of collaboration with the entire team. The core objective is to focus on obtaining feedback as early as possible so that it can be used to make quick decisions. The nature of Agile development is to work in rapid, iterative cycles and Lean UX mimics these cycles to ensure that data generated can be used in each iteration.
Until a few years ago, when projects were run in waterfall style, a linear, siloed UX process seemed to work well. However, as organisations made the shift from waterfall to agile methodology, there was a huge gap in the way UX teams coped with their work. The expectation was essentially to get UX work done a little faster, in shorter time and under a huge budget constraint. Essentially, it had to be done NOW. This called for a huge shift in mindset and way of life itself. The Lean Startup concept made it further more challenging to embed UX into software development lifecycle in an efficient way.
How Lean UX works ?
A few teams headed by Jeff Gothelf experimented with the idea of tying the knot between Agile/Lean and UX. During this experiment, they realised that the productivity and efficiency of UX teams skyrocketed, because Lean UX paved the way for designers to open up UXD process for non-UX folks, who could review and provide inputs/better ideas faster. This eventually helped teams deliver better quality products with great experiences in a short span of time.
Lean UX is the fundamental belief in getting critical work done, without focussing on perfect design documentation. In a typical Lean UX team, design studios are set up with cross-functional teams where everyone presents their ideas, and critiques others’. They might even create vague sketches of their ideas. At the end of this exercise, there is a repository of ideas. This kind of early team involvement instills a sense of ownership and a ‘one team, one product’ goal. This process would be iterative in that the team member would go back and forth to identify top ideas and start building them. The team will create features, put out the app in the market and ensure that users are exposed to it as early as possible to gather feedback.
Benefits of Lean UX
- Optimum design strategy
- Projects delivered faster
- Fewer and relevant deliverables
- Happy customers