User Experience

Principles of Lean UX

The following is my summary of the “Principles” chapter in The Lean Series. Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience by Gothelf, J., & Seiden, J. (2013)

This chapter begins by introducing the three foundations of Lean UX which are design thinking, agile software development, and the lean startup method. In summary, the Lean UX process emphasizes collaboration and experience over in-depth documentation. There is still a large amount of data and design artifacts to use, but this process culls the expectation of reporting at each stage. The real focus of this chapter is on the principles of Lean UX. One of the principles I find to be central to their concept is that of outcomes, not output. With this principle, additional features are outputs.

The features are meant to achieve certain business goals, and those are the outcomes. In thinking of the outcome first, the brainstorming becomes targeted and already constrained. This is clearly not the way to go for a brand-new product design, but for businesses with reassessment in mine, Lean UX seems like a good option. Another principle worth noting is the importance learning over growing. This principle considers building and scaling to be two different activities.

They advise against scaling an idea to a full user-base before conducting thorough research. I think this is a good one for academic researchers to keep in mind. Often, we are tasked to design entire thesis and dissertation projects before meeting any participants. In my opinion, a lean, iterative practice seems like a more ethical approach to research design for most types of projects. 

By Nicole Martensen

Nicole Martensen, Applied Anthropologist

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