Lean UX – Evolution of UX in Lean methodology

Posted on  17 April, 2015

There’s UX and then there’s Lean UX. So, what really is Lean UX? From bootstrap startup meetings in coffee shops to boardrooms in blue chip companies, all of them seem to be curious about this new, proven UX methodology.

Let us get down to the basics:

The Origins : SDLC as in Waterfall method

Waterfall method flowchart

In the past, the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) was based on the Waterfall method, which meant that the entire process of product development was phased out and the outcome of each phase served as the stepping stone for the next phase. Although the industry followed this methodology for ages, the setbacks became glaringly evident during the Project-Market fit.

The Evolution : Agile and Lean method.

Agile & Lean Methods

It was apparent that the SDLC processes needed to improve/evolve. One such process which stood out is the Agile & Lean method and till date is most widely practised.

In this methodology, every project needs to be handled with a different approach to suit specific requirements. The main project is broken down into simpler, achievable, tasks with smaller time frames to release specific key features. There would be numerous iterations and tweaks based on customer feedback. It soon became hugely popular due to its flexibility and adaptability, clients could release the product, get customer feedback and work on it simultaneously.

The Revolution : Lean UX.

Lean UX is based on the same principles –  ability to align business goals with user goals, conduct user interviews, draw out personas, create scenarios and most importantly, creating the user journey.

This also means collaborating with your team, sketching and making paper prototypes to understand the interactions and product ideation. And yes, brainstorming too. It follows the very nature of a startup, sketch, think, brainstorm and iterate. It lives and breathes the process until a MVP ie Minimal Viable Product is born.

So, what’s involved in this?

Step 1 : Research AND User Interviews

Research and user interviews

The first step of this process is information gathering. What are you designing ? Who are you designing for? How will this help users ? Who are the target users? When all this information is gathered, we formulate BusinessGoals and UserGoals. While a Business Goal involves stakeholders and aligns them with the product strategy, a User Goal is completely dependent on the user research, user interaction patterns and the user journey within the product framework.


information sorting and grouping

Once all the data is gathered from the research and user interviews, the information is sorted. The personas are created from these data. Personas are imaginary users but with specific user behaviour as per their personality derived from dominant users during the user interviews. Mapping of the persona along with the business goals, without negotiating their user goals, is the challenge.

Step 3 : Interaction Design

Interaction design

The ability to give the user the best interaction with just a few clicks and without compromising the User Goal becomes very crucial for a good experience. This is achieved by numerous sketches, keeping different scenarios or use cases in mind. The end product of this stage is a refined wireframe which essentially gives the product framework to the clients.

Lean UX has some of the most rewarding moments, for one, the client can quickly see in what direction the entire product is shaping up. With the process being iterative , backed with user validation, there is less risk in product failure and better understanding of a user’s expectations.

We at Lollypop, follow Lean UX methodologies for startups. From information gathering to the wireframes stage, we use an iterative process to deliver crisp, user centric and intuitive products. At the end of the product design road-map, a thoroughly validated MVP makes our clients beaming with joy and for us, it’s just another day in paradise.