User Experience

The Lean UX Designer

Lean UX is not a revolutionary concept but one that user experience professionals and companies should probably follow. The reason many will start doing it anyways is that under these techniques they will be able to move faster and minimize risk.

What happens if design concepts worked great in the lab but they have no commercial appeal? What if market conditions have changed since the original learnings took place? As Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden warn in their Lean UX book, designing and developing in the traditional waterfall environment could end up in a real catastrophe, potentially delivering an unsuccessful project that required a big investment in time and resources. I have seen web projects going live after 2 years they have been started.

Design Studio Workshop

Lean UX advocates team collaboration and this means in big part a change in the way companies see designers. I still see many companies looking for that rock-star designer that will sit alone waiting for the requirements to come and produce mockups to pass to the development team. These solitary bright minds don’t exist.

Because team-based mentality enables getting to better ideas faster, lean UX designers have to collaborate with colleagues from different departments, such as marketing, IT and sales. In one of my latest projects I experienced the best ideas coming from support representatives; they are in constant contact with users and they know what their problems and needs are. Obviously, a company environment that empowers this kind of collaboration will produce products that will better serve its customers requirements and wishes.

The lean UX designer should also regularly collaborate with users in order to get additional input for her designs.

It seems to me that designers should design and put their own hands on mockups and prototypes but the new lean UX designer should also encourage, support and facilitate collaboration. This can be done through different techniques, like design studios, brainstorming sessions, conversations, collaborative discovery, user testing and observation, customer interviews and allowing everyone in the team to participate in the design process, for example through sketching sessions.

Feel free to to ping this article or send me feedback and ideas on Twitter: @alexisbrion

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