in Experience Design

Work Smarter with Lean UX

“Your goal as a Lean UX designer is to learn as much as you can as quickly as you can. What’s the smallest thing you can design to get that next set of insights and learning? That’s Lean UX. It’s a direct application of Eric Ries’ innovation accounting idea applied to UX design.”– Jeff Gothelf, Lean UX

Lean UX is inspired by the Lean Startup movement and Agile development methodologies. It places less emphasis on deliverables and a greater focus on the actual experience being created.


Eric Reis, author of The Lean Startup, came from a tech startup background where he recognized that waterfall development — the traditional, linear approach to product development — could be handled quicker when replaced by iterative agile techniques.

The “lean movement” values experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over traditional development.

Getting to Success Quicker

At its core, Lean UX focuses on creating delightful, intuitive user experiences. This means moving quickly past initial failures, taking the learnings from those early lessons and applying them to become successful faster.

When Lean is applied to UX, it removes the bottleneck caused by heavy deliverables like wireframes, sitemaps, diagrams, and inventories. Lean UX uses validated learning, scientific experimentation, and iterative releases to shorten the time, measure progress and gain valuable customer feedback.

Working Together

Collaborative experience design moves the process forward.  In my experience, this increased understanding comes from bringing together members of UX research, development and the product teams.  It also creates alignment with everyone working together towards shared business goals.

Involving the customer

Lean UX gets user input early in the process. By learning which people will buy the product or service, it generates insights that can be used to focus the energy and efforts of the team.  Any unnecessary elements must be removed to improve the customer experience.

PT001: Figure 2.1

Image Credit Rosenfeld Media

Principle-Driven Culture

When integrating Lean UX principles into the design process, a positive culture change begins to emerge.  As team members become more, cross-functional in the way they work — consensus is built through rapid iteration resulting in improved quality of the customer experiences.

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