Lean UX is a very useful method particularly where agile development is involved. Now, what is agile development? In simple words, it is a software development process where in a product is developed in an iterative process. Traditional development methods included planning the process and outcome at the very beginning, whereas Agile method coins on the flexibility to allow a developer to change course during project as well as quickly respond to changing circumstances.
Fundamentally, lean UX and every other UX methodology focuses on one main point and that is providing a completely user friendly and user satisfying end product.
Then how is Lean UX slightly different? It focuses more on the study of a product and its improvements there and then more than focusing on the deliverables. This is done essentially to bring get better outcomes.
In a lean UX process, we are behind problem solving solutions. We use problem statements to set assumptions and create a hypotheses. An Assumption implies on stating something that we users and UXers think is true. The assumptions are designed to create common understanding of an idea that helps everybody to get started with the project. It is assumed that sometimes assumptions maybe incorrect and can be changed in the course of work when the team gets a better understanding of the product.
A best way to bring in assumptions on the table is to get your team to brainstorm on the project idea and how to solve the problems faced. In this process, we tend to generate answers to questions that further form our assumptions.
Usually the questions go this way:
What is this product exactly?
Who are our target audience?
Are there any existing products of the same idea? If yes, what uniqueness do we need to bring in?
What are the most common problems faced?
What can be our selling point?
What is the biggest risk involved in this product and how can we tackle it?
With such an intense brainstorming session, we may have innumerable assumptions which maybe too much to handle. In such a case, it is better to prioritize them by the risk they represent and the understanding at your hand.
After this step, a hypothesis needs to be created while abiding to a lean UX process. In a most likely used format, we state our beliefs about our product, why it is important and who is it important to. We then follow while designing in expectations of achieving what we believe in. At the end, we working on creating evidence that we need, to prove that our belief is true.
In this course, if we find it difficult to find evidence to back up what we believe in, then it means that our design is taking the wrong directions with incorrect assumptions.
Lean UX process removes the statement- ‘I don’t think this is a good idea’ and in fact welcomes on trying and testing every idea possible. Thus, it challenges the traditional UX process of following and strictly abiding to a format and rigidity. And that is exactly what we need to be good UXers- an open mind.
A very important term in Lean UX is MVP: Minimum Viable Product. This is a core concept of Lean ux that circles around picking up the most basic idea, designing, trying and testing and discarding if it does not work. This helps in focusing on the few MVP’s at the end which can be designed and developed without much hassle. MVP goes great with agile process as it openly allows experimenting without being scared.
User research and Testing in Lean UX:
As we read before, Lean ux goes hand in hand with Agile development. Thus, user research and testing in lean ux is same as the one we follow in the traditional UX method, but it needs to be quick and dirty. Due to agile sprints, there is no time for detailed documentation and beautification and more of playing with all the raw data that we have.
User research is spread widely across the team than just a few people, thus giving the developers a chance to work on core UX as well- in the end helping them to understand the product in a better way.
To conclude, this was just an overview of Lean UX and its methods for you to get more interested in learning and following the process. UX design boggles the mind with all its possibilities of works and thus interests all the designers and developers around the world.