Anna Hosie Team : User Experience and Information Architecture Tags : Web Design User Experience

Building Lean UX

Anna Hosie Team : User Experience and Information Architecture Tags : Web Design User Experience

For anything to be successful, it needs to be built on strong foundations, using a set of rules or principles. The same can be said for Lean UX. To build a successful Lean UX model, certain foundations must be present and guiding principles must be followed.

Strength is in the foundations

The first foundation of Lean UX is known as ‘design thinking’. This ensures that the design not only caters for the users’ needs but also reflects what is technically possible, and that it supports the business strategy for generating revenue or increasing customers.

The second foundation of Lean UX is the more common practise of agile software development. In this type of development, requirements and solutions are established through collaboration between teams, where the focus is on getting something up and running, rather than extensive documentation. Its an adaptive and fast way to develop software and provides a structure that can respond to a change quickly.

The final foundation of Lean UX is to build minimum viable products (MVPs). A minimum viable product can be defined as a product with only the core features built that will provide the highest return on investment versus the risk involved in going to market. The goal is to validate the solution with the minimum amount of cost, often testing it with a subset of possible customers to get initial feedback, before it is launched to the public.

One must follow the rules

Well, in the case of Lean UX its not so much rules but principles to follow. These are as follows:

  • Lean UX teams need to be cross-functional. All areas of the business that the project touches should be represented, including project management, interaction and visual design, content strategy and marketing, development, and QA. This encourages communication across teams and means that all areas are providing feedback on ideas right from the beginning.
  • Keep the teams as small as possible, no more than 10, ensure they are only working on the one project and are located in close proximity to each other in the office. This again encourages communications but also builds relationships between team members and provides focus for them.
  • Focus on outcomes, in that progress is being made if the goals of the business are being achieved. Identify problems and if a feature is not achieving the business outcome it was intended for it can be replaced or changed. Also identify any ideas or features that don’t help to achieve the business outcomes and remove them.
  • Keep the customers engaged, ensuring the team partakes in regular conversations with them. Doing this means that ideas are constantly validated and the team learns more about the customer, their needs and any problems they have. This involves often leaving the work place and getting out and talking to the customers in person. Only the real world can test and prove (or disprove) an idea.
  • Share your knowledge means getting the workings of the individual out infront of the team through the use of conversation, whiteboards, print outs, postits etc. Doing this expands the collective knowledge of the team so every member knows what’s happening and why its happening.
  • Its all about the team in Lean UX. Experts who aren’t willing to share their knowledge break down the collaboration process that is so important for the success of the Lean UX project.
  • Make something a reality rather than spending too much time analysing the idea. No point discussing an idea when the only way to prove its success is by developing it into something tangible that can be tested by the users.
  • It is ok to fail. Better to experiment with a variety of ideas, some of which will be wrong, in order to find the right ones.
  • Get it right and then think about growth. Don’t waste time and resources working out how the website will scale with growth. Just get it out there, get it tested, get it right, then let it grow.