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April 21, 2011 / X_Y

Reading notes of “Lean UX: Getting Out Of The Deliverables Business”

Designers have long been in a deliverable based industry,  using “wireframes, site maps, flow diagrams, content inventories, taxonomies, mockups and the ever-sacred specifications documents” as output of their design work. This has the problem of ignoring the value of true user experience but focused on the quality of documents. This leads to a waste of time on making the documents.

Lean UX approach:

The traditional paper work is discarded, while the focus is turned to making sketches of the idea. Then the sketch is presented and discussed with the team. The initial prototype effort is very small comparing to detailed documents, so it’s easy to make changes. After it’s agreed internally, rough prototype is made and tested with users. The learning from users help refine the idea and iteration starts over again.

Core issues with Lean design:

  • Lean design is strictly focused on the design phase so it can be applied by waterfall companies.
  • The designer has the grasp of design direction, aggregates the comments from different stakeholders, make sure the design is going for the interest of business and user.  ‘“Increasing time on site for returning customers” could be a vision. “Deliver content faster and in a more contextual manner” could be another. Regardless of how the design shifts, these goals drive your work.’ During the process it’s also giving peek of direction to developers so they wouldn’t wait for the whole design to finish. So it’s not “design by committee”.
  •  Lean design prevents heading down the wrong path. The way becomes more clear after each iteration.
  • Bring prototypes regularly to the user. “Jakob Nielsen found out that after five participants, the odds of finding new roadblocks in the experience were low. If you test regularly, you can cut the number of participants per week to three. ” Get feedback, update the prototype and present it to the team. Then the prototype becomes the specification itself, the designer is also there to clarify anything unclear. It shortens the time for making documents, thus freeing the designer to carry on to the next core component.
  • Websites and applications that are focused on heavy content delivery (as opposed to task- or function-based websites) will need some up-front planning and documentation.
  • Applying it for different organizations: It’s easy for internal design team as the goal is solving problem, and you don’t solve problems with design documentation”. With design agencies document is the source of revenue, but applying this approach brings satisfied customers back. Individuals are the same as agencies.

  • Lean approach requires tight cooperation between designers and the vendor. If it’s not possible then don’t use it.

As the paper documents can not really communicating design ideas properly, interactive prototypes, videos and storyboards should be introduced to fit the new vision.

source: Jeff GothelfLean UX: Getting Out Of The Deliverables Business
 Jeremy BaldwinOur Blind Spot: Creating a Shared UX Vision


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