Lean UX is the ideal partner to agile development—both of which engage in experimentation; have highly iterative, incremental work cycles; and enable teams to approach the work of software design and development in new ways.
Each Lean UX cycle comprises the following four phases:
In this article, I’ll provide a brief explanation of each of these phases, as well as a Lean UX research checklist of actionable items for each phase. I’ll focus primarily on Lean UX testing, which generally occurs during all four phases of the Lean UX design process. Sometimes the phases of Lean UX testing occur in the order in which I’ll present them in this article, but most of the time they do not. The goal of Lean UX is to produce the best possible product for our customers by constantly making iterative and incremental changes that are informed by UX research.
Before your team sets any UX design strategy or draws up any design concepts, you first need to understand whether a new product-design project even makes sense, or it might instead be worthwhile to get an existing project back on track. In either case, when you’re taking a Lean UX approach, the goal is to conduct research and gather insights on what the people who make up your target audience actually need. However, this does not involve doing extensive surveying or studies that would be very time consuming.
Actionable items for the Discover phase of a Lean UX project include the following:
- Interview the business stakeholders to understand the organization’s business needs and constraints.
- Interview the organization’s internal teams that have frequent contact with customers—such as the Support team—to gather qualitative data about the problems that users encounter or the ideas they have about the product or service.
- Talk with industry experts who focus on the product’s domain.
- Validate your team’s assumptions about the product or discard those that prove invalid.
- Determine actionable UX metrics that you can use to evaluate the success of the product.
- Select the types of studies you want to conduct—including but not limited to field studies, diary studies, user-requirements gathering, or competitive analysis—then execute one or more studies.