The concept behind Lean UX is that the first design iteration isn’t conclusive, so don’t spend too much time on it. Build a minimum working product based on assumptions and start collecting user feedback immediately.
In an agile environment, design cycles i.e gathering user requirements, researching and finally documenting everything, are often marred with wastage; scope creeps, change requests, or the research conducted several months back becoming stale. The result? — Your team has to start from square one. Lean UX minimizes these risks.
These are the steps in Lean UX;
- Make assumptions and Hypothesis
- Collaborative Design on building an MVP
- Iterate – Repeat.
Assumptions and Hypothesis in Lean UX
This goes against the traditional UX process in which you first capture requirements and deliverables to ensure user problems are detailed and nailed down before a project starts. Lean UX is slightly different. You don’t nail down the requirements, but use the problem statement to create a set of assumptions which will be tested by coming up with hypotheses.
E.g. We believe that reducing the number of steps when a user signs up is essential for a smartphone users, this will increase the number of signup completions. We will have demonstrated this is true when we measure an improvement of 30% compared to the current completion rate.
Here we say the belief, why it is important and who it is essential to. Then what we intend to achieve. Finally, prove that our beliefs were true.
Building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a core concept in Lean UX: it is building several simple basic concepts of the product that are considered working, then it’s tested, concepts that pass the tests are adopted, those that don’t are dropped.
There is no time for heroes in this concept. Expect many ideas and concepts to fail testing; in Lean UX, designers embrace this rapid process of moving on.
This could be Low-fi interactive prototypes with different screens that users can use to achieve a goal.
Implementing an MVP offers a variety of ways to determine if the feature delivers the right outcomes.
Observation – Directly observe the actual usage of a product, this is an opportunity to understand the user’s context and behaviors.
Usage analytics – Lean-Agile teams build analytics right into their applications, eg Fullstory or GA, which help validate initial use cases.
A/B testing – (sometimes called split testing) is comparing two versions of a web page to see which one performs better. Then test those other options with mockups, prototypes, or even full stack implementations. In this case, differing versions may be deployed to multiple subsets of users, perhaps sequenced over time and measured via analytics. In short, measurable results deliver the knowledge teams need to refactor, adjust, redesign—or even pivot to abandon a feature, based solely on qualitative data and user feedback.
Efficacy of Lean UX is;
A concept that enables teams to go through design phases much faster – building agile teams, and more importantly, to work smarter leveraging a collaborative environment. Time-saving is also a huge factor here in that it reduces the project timelines, which means there is minimum resource wastage.
The early feedback from user research and testing means that the main focus is on the user needs leading to better design/product decisions all around. This approach favors continuous iterations and emphasizes user testing to validate the hypotheses made.