From time to time, we revive our in-house book club to catch up on new themes, practices, or ideas out there in the design world. This month, we’re reading Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience, written by Jeff Gothelf and ex-Cooperista Josh Seiden. Inspired by Eric Ries’s The Lean Startup, Lean UX takes aim at waterfall design and development processes and outlines a set of ways that UX designers can more deeply and helpfully engage in product development. The intent is to foster more open, collaborative, and iterative processes, and to break through the organizational red tape that can stifle creativity. The end goals: More trust, more clarity, more fun, and better products delivered quickly by a highly-functioning team. Managing Director Doug LeMoine caught up with Jeff and Josh to discuss the ways in which lean practices can superpower our (and your) UX work.
Doug: UX, as it is commonly practiced, is all about establishing a coherent vision for a product or service. Oftentimes, in striving for coherence, designers can slam the brakes on development, since no one wants to waste effort in developing something that’s not part of that coherent vision. What is to be done with this state of affairs? How does Lean UX help here?
Josh: I do think establishing a vision up front is important. But I think that we often mistake how much work we need to do to establish and articulate that vision. If you’re working in deep collaboration with a cross-functional team, you can establish, test, and validate a vision very quickly. So, instead of “slamming the brakes on developers,” we advocating including them and other team members in the visioning activities early in the project.