I was fortunate enough to secure my ticket for this month’s London IA event, and I was really looking forward to hearing Jeff Gothelf‘s talk about Lean UX, especially about usability testing and gathering user feedback in agile environment. I have to confess that the talk was really great, one of the most inspirational ones I heard in last six months.
“Stay lean and focus on the experience, not the paperwork.”
- Jeff Gothelf
Some of my notes and thoughts on the talk are below:
Lean UX – a few notes from Jeff’s talk
- focus on designing the experience, not the deliverables
- present the minimum amount of information to get your idea accross, as soon as possible, in the minimum possible fidelity.
- roughly sketch your ideas and immediately go through them with a developer / other important members of the development team.
- don’t worry, this isn’t design by committee, you as the designer are going to filter and assess the suggestions from other team-members; rather benefit from talking through your designs over and over, that will get you thinking.
- involving developers and project stakeholders will not only give you a valuable feedback and ideas, but will also get you a buy-in; other members of your team will “own” the parts of the product.
- do quick and cheap usability testing as often as you can, get three participants every week and test the product.
- your prototype is your documentation; by involving developers, visual designers and other team members into the design process, everyone knows product’s whats, whys and hows. Of course, some documentation will still be needed. This frees the hands of the designer and allows him to focus more on the experience than on the specs and documentation.
- get the client involved in the design process as often as possible, do a couple of 30 minutes meeting with clients on weekly basis; involving client will give you feedback and buy in. The client stakeholder will become the advocate of the product.
Some of my thoughts and comments on Lean UX
- ultimately, the “process” is just one, the designer has solve the problem and help the users and the business to reach their goals (this answers the question how Cooper’s Goal-directed design fits into Lean UX and agile environment)
- despite the idea of working in small integrated teams isn’t groundbreakingly new, it’s still not used as much as it could be. Why not to intorduce your own mini-lean UX rounds of quick iterations within the waterfall if you can’t or don’t want to work in agile?
- escaping deliverables business is cool idea and I wholeheartedly agree with focus on delivering experience over an agreed set of wireframes. I see a potential problem on the client side – who bears the risk and responsibility? Clients want to get a product but don’t know what to really ask for / expect. Clients want measures of success and often are not prepared to measure the experience itself. It’s up to us to do what we are doing – consult on advise how to measure the experience.
- in the panel discussion, Jeff suggested introducing visual designers (if UX and visual designer are not the same person) into the process after the few initial rounds of UX designer and developer. Since I believe the visual design is inseparable part of UX, I believe the visual designers should take a part in those meetings straight from the beginning.
- don’t focus just on usability in your usability tests – pay atention to affective interactions and emotional impact, desirability, memories…
More reading elsewhere
Last but not least, London IA is also about meeting people, and I’m really glad that I had a chance to bump into a few familiar faces!
And of course – big thanks to Jeff, Matthew Solle and Sense Worldwide for a great event!