In a mobile world where “I want it fast” is constantly confronted with “best quality only”, it seems like there’s not enough time to execute the whole UX design process.
Even though full details UX specifications and multiple user personas would mean a lot for the usability of the product, most companies are always looking for much faster solutions that would both give the same results and were less time-consuming.
Here comes the approach that’s getting lately more and more buzz – Lean UX takes the traditional UX process to a whole different level. It’s not only extremely agile but concentrates on collaboration more.
Basics of the Lean UX
Basically, the whole idea behind Lean UX is to be as efficient as possible. The goal is to reduce the amount of time that comes with writing the traditional UX documents and spending long hours analyzing different cases in a meeting.
Instead, the team focuses on regular interactions with real customers through UX interviews and early testing.
“Design only what you need. Deliver it quickly. Create enough customer contact to get meaningful feedback fast.”
Another crucial part is collaboration. The perfect scenario is when everyone is considered equal – no place for gurus or ninjas. Each person has their own input into the product and they should all participate in solving a problem.
Collaborative approach not only brings different perspectives to the table but also initiates the simultaneous processing of the tasks within the different members of your team.
Detailed deliverables aren’t a significant part of Lean UX, your purpose is always to improve the product here and now. That’s why Lean UX ditches “requirements” and concentrates on using “problem statements” which lead to a set of assumptions (used to create hypotheses later on).
An assumption is simply a statement that you think is true.
Yes, it’s that easy.
It’s important not to forget that assumptions may not always be correct and they’ll probably change during the project as better understanding will emerge. But that’s ok! As long as the changes will lead to improving your product, they are welcome at any time!
You can generate assumptions by asking the team typical questions:
- Who is your user?
- What is the purpose of the product?
- In which situations it is used?
- When is it used?
- What is the most important functionality?
- What is the challenge in delivering a product?
After creating a list of assumptions you can move on and state a hypothesis – it’s going to test your assumptions. The hypothesis combines three main things: product purpose, its importance and the personas it is important too.
The hypothesis is your light in the darkness, it will lead you throughout the process of designing a product. The best thing about writing it is that whenever you can’t find any way to prove it, it means you start heading in the wrong direction.
MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
Lean UX is all about creating the MVP – a product with just enough features to give your customers a satisfying experience and at the same provide feedback for the future updates. The definition brings us to the fundamental idea behind Lean UX – build, measure, learn.
The MVP is created from both brainstormed ideas and the hypotheses. The goal is to build a product that has a minimum of all the key components (check the graphic above). It is a common misunderstanding that MVP is just a functional demo of the product.
When built, it’s time to ask your users for their feedback and then use that feedback to update your previous assumptions and simultaneously the quality of the product. When done correctly, the MVP brings down the cost of development and increases efficiency and the users’ satisfaction.
- Observation – directly observe the actual usage of the product this way you can understand the user’s behaviors and possible problems.
- User surveys – when you can’t observe the usage directly, a simple end-user questionnaire can provide fast feedback.
- Usage analytics – building analytics right into the product helps validate initial use and provides the application telemetry. This is an incredible way to be up to date with the feedback that is provided by product’s users.
- A/B testing – it is a form of comparing two different hypothesis, which presumes that user preferences are unknowable in advance. This helps to eliminate some arguments among the members of your team who probably won’t use the product themselves but have strong opinions about what it should look like.
Lean UX can be very beneficial for the teams that don’t have enough time to conduct full UX process with all of its requirements.
If you want to maximize your output and reduce the waste, this is a solution that most likely when adopted will give you the best results. It works smoothly with Agile development framework which makes it incredibly easy to adapt to the current system.