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Lean UX Design

Definition

Lean UX is your go to strategy when it comes to designing digital products.

Born out of Toyota’s manufacturing model. Today, lean UX is used by companies of all types, and particularly software companies. Lean UX principals help to minimize costs while maximizing profits by continually improving and experimenting on all products and offerings.

Essentially, lean UX combines the solution-based approach of design thinking with the iteration methods of Agile.

In traditional UX the project is built upon requirements capture and deliverables. The objective is to ensure that deliverables are as detailed as possible and respond adequately to the requirements that are laid down at the start of the project.

Lean UX is also a mindset.

Jeff Gothelf, the author of Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience, writes:

Lean UX is about bringing the true nature of a product to light faster, in a collaborative, cross-functional way that reduces the emphasis on thorough documentation while increasing the focus on building a shared understanding of the actual product experience being designed.

  • It’s a facilitation tool for cross-functional teams designed to create a customer-centric conversation about the work the team is doing
  • The goal is to help the team focus on “why” they’re doing the current work
  • It’s a first step in the shift of the conversation from outputs to outcomes
  • It reduces a product's time-to-market

How do I apply the Lean UX process?

Well thanksfully, there is a framework to help you do that. This framework can be broken down into 3 parts and a total of 8 steps:

🗺 Where are we and where go we want to go?

1. Business problem

What problem does the business have that you are trying to solve?

(Hint: Consider your current offerings and how they deliver value, changes in the market, delivery channels, competitive threats and customer behavior.)

2. Business outcomes

How will you know you solved the business problem? What will you measure?(Hint: What will people/users be doing differently if your solutions work? Consider metrics that indicate customer success like average order value, time on site, and retention rate.)

3. Users

What types (i.e., personas) of users and customers should you focus on first?

(Hint: Who buys your product or service? Who uses it? Who configures it? Etc)

4. User outcomes & benefits

Why would your users seek out your product or service? What benefit would they gain from using it? What behavior change can we observe that tells us they've achieved their goal? (Hint: Save money, get a promotion, spend more time with family)

💡 How do we think we will get there?

5. Solutions

What can we make that will solve our business problem and meet the needs of our customers at the same time? List product, feature, or enhancement ideas here.

🙆‍♂️ How will we find out we're right?

6. Hypotheses

Combine the assumptions from 2, 3, 4 & 5 into the following hypothesis statement:

“We believe that [business outcome] will be achieved if [user] attains [benefit] with [feature].” (Hint: Each hypothesis should focus on one feature only.)

7. What's the most important thing we need to learn first?

For each hypothesis from Box 6, identify its riskiest assumptions. Then determine the riskiest one right now. This is the assumption that will cause the entire idea to fail if it’s wrong.

(Hint: In the early stages of a hypothesis focus on risks to value rather than feasibility.)

8. What's the least amount of work we need to do to learn the next most important thing?

Design experiments to learn as fast as you can whether your riskiest assumption is true or false.

What now?

Well, I've created for you a Figma template based on Jeff Gothelf's canvas. So next time you want to kickstart a feature, projet or sprint — make sure to try this out. (available in premium pack)

At the end of the day, it’s our goal as product designers to provide experiences to people that they want to use and are easy to interact with. Lean UX takes us on a route to get there in a way that’s efficient, collaborative and fast. What more could you ask for?

Next up

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Designing in Figma