Lessons from 5 years of Lean UX



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Since the idea first percolated in 2010 through to its current state as a permanent hashtag on Twitter, Lean UX changed the way we look at designing products—including how we work with our colleagues in product management, software engineering, marketing, and executive leadership.

Jeff Gothelf, author of Lean UX, joined us for a webinar to share his key insights from 5 years of teaching, writing about, and practicing Lean UX.

Watch the full recording below, or read on for our highlights from Jeff’s talk.


The rise of Lean UX

Jeff championed the rise of Lean UX based on problems within his own team at TheLadders. In fact, his team was so frustrated that they created a diagram of where the pain points were in their work environment.

As Jeff became a champion of Lean UX by teaching and writing about it, 2 themes began to emerge. We’ll briefly go over Jeff’s first theme below. To hear more about the first theme, and learn what Jeff’s second theme is, I encourage you to watch the video above.

“We must change our design reviews from interrogational to informal.”

Design has to change

  1. We must move away from archives and move toward transient artifacts. If you take a lean approach, ask yourself, “What’s the least amount of design I need to do to communicate what I mean to the person I’m speaking to?” Depending on your audience, you might need to do a higher fidelity. Design just enough to move the idea to the next step.
  2. We must encourage a culture of radical transparency. Don’t wait until work is finished to present it, and always include non-designers in the conversation. Bring in outside views on whether the project is viable and feasible, as well as ultimately if it makes sense to them.
  3. We must change our design reviews from interrogational to informal. Conversations about design should be continuous and informal—with questions like, does this work? Does it make sense for the business? Ultimately, communicating in this way will reduce the stigma over the design process and the fear behind design reviews.

We couldn’t help but include this awesome sketchnote from Olia Gozha:


Margaret Kelsey
Margaret Kelsey leads content marketing at Appcues. Before Appcues, she built content programs for InVision’s design community for 3.5 years and has roots in painting and PR. She’s a big fan of puns, Blackbird Donuts, and Oxford commas—probably in that order.

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