Understanding Lean UX
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Published on December 26, 2014
Lean UX is a way to approach user experience that fosters collaboration across business and functional groups in an effort to quickly generate and test solutions to design and development needs and challenges. In typical UX design research, design, prototyping, and testing occur, often before development begins. In connecting UX design to other parts of a business, it becomes lean ux.
The technique behind the lean UX approach is based upon think tank theory, where a group of thinkers is used to find solutions instead of individuals working independently. There are a number of key elements in applying lean UX principles to any design project:
- Lean UX encourages you to work as a part of a team to brainstorm and solve specific problems, rather than looking at solutions on an individual level
- Apply sketching techniques early in the design process to visualize ideas more clearly
- Create prototypes as soon as possible to ensure your solutions are meeting the needs of the user, or solving the problems you are attempting to address.
- Developers and designers need to collaborate, ideally working in the same location, to ensure the greatest level of productivity.
- Create a library of resources that makes it easy for developers to address common or repeated elements without consistent interaction from the UX team. This includes a style guide that identifies design elements that can be used in prototypes and interfaces, and common visual elements that can easily be accessed and re-used.
Lean UX Training
Many of the principles of Lean UX are incorporated in both the Introduction to UX Design Principles course and the Rapid Prototyping class. Whether you are just getting started in UX design, or have a UX design team and want to focus on lean UX principles, there several lean UX training options available from American Graphics Institute.
Lean UX Books
If you want to read more on the topic, there are several books dedicated to lean UX. The book Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience by Jeff Gothelf covers the fundamental principles of lean UX. Books on lean business principles also carry many principles that can be applied to a UX team, such as UX for Lean Startups: Faster, Smarter User Experience Research and Design by Laura Klein
Creating an efficient process that helps you to produce apps or websites more efficiently that better meet the needs of the users is the goal of lean UX. There are several ways for you to improve your skills in these areas: enrolling in a UX class, attending a workshop, or reading books focused on user experience principles. Any of these will help you and your organization to produce better designs more quickly and easily.
About the author
Jennifer Smith is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices.
Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern Windows UX Design, having worked closely with the Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blend for Visual Studio, and Balsamiq.