Lean UX – Insights Into a Greater User Experience

March 10, 2015In User Experience Design6 Minutes

I enjoyed listening to an insightful webinar this morning about Lean UX, presented by Jeff Gothelf. He took the time to explain how organizations can optimize their existing assets, going into detail about how it can help all types of businesses. Large organizations considering lean UX are often put off, as they associate the term with startups and/or small businesses. These corporations and agencies don’t believe that lean UX is the ideal route for them. They are mistaken.

Perhaps it is because the term’s definition isn’t widely known. Essentially, it involves principles guiding you to a better and more sustainable solution for your users. Who wouldn’t find that desirable? In fact, because of their domain and customer expertise, larger corporations have more resources at their disposal to create the best user experience possible. Using each tool at varying intensity levels, tailored to each consumer, is one of the most optimal ways of personalizing UX.

One of the aspects of lean ux involves going through a process of sustained innovation. Sustaining innovation allows you to find new ways to thrive with your existing business, truly creating and recreating as you traverse through each new iteration of your project or product creation. It involves thinking on your feet, collaborating every step of the way, and remaining transparent throughout.

Unsure how to begin that innovative process? Think about what is unique about your company and what advantages you possess that others are afraid to pursue. Meet with various individuals within your company who can lend their perspectives on what makes your organization different from your competition.

How can you learn from Lean UX?

Take the time to learn about targeting your content – research who you want to reach out to and how to speak to different types of individuals, specifically on their own plane. You should be able to explain how you give value with targeted information and content. Understand what each segment cares about and re-frame your content to enhance multifaceted connections.

Get true and emotional buy-in by using language that your audience connects with. There is absolutely nothing wrong with going into technical detail about your products – your audience is a smart crowd and are capable of grasping the concepts behind your creation. However, ensure that whatever information you provide is uniquely tailored to your intended users; this makes the crucial difference between understanding and genuine connection.

Take it a step further – talk to customers who currently use and who have stopped using your product. Start a forum and open the conversation in order to see why the competitors solved their problem (what drove them away from your product), why it’s better and what can be improved on your own side based on that information. This type of information is truly invaluable and is the insight that your clients will be looking for.

As a final tip, try to have a technical liaison to facilitate in obtaining validated learning – this person will be in charge of getting information over clearly and succinctly to different departments, bridging any gaps. This type of individual is perfect in organizations that have multiple departments that find consistent communication difficult as they take on various projects. Of course, in an ideal world, you all work together and are agile as a group.

One can pose the following question: There seem to be a lot of risks involved with this approach. How big is too big of a risk?

You can take bigger risks if you’re tasked with a broad innovation mandate. However, if it’s a smaller project, don’t necessarily rework a method or product that has served you well for a long time. Suppose you’re asked to shake things up (like the business itself) and create an entirely new plan or methodology. In that case, taking bigger risks is a fantastic idea (the bigger the risk, the more likelihood for a productive and positive outcome). An easier way of looking at it is by considering the process to be directly proportional – small tasks involve smaller amounts of risk, and bigger tasks, bigger risk.

Lean UX is a different kind of engagement. It involves increased skepticism, shorter deliverable cycles, and more changes coupled with smaller risks. When speaking to a client, set the expectation that it is a different project. Talk and detail every level to them often, armed with each new piece of information learned. Above all, you cannot make decisions for the client. The entire interaction must be a discovery process, and communication is key to ensure the best results.

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