Lean UX Research in Startups

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An overview of how UX Research is conducted in entrepreneurial Lean UX organizations. Principles and practices of Lean/Agile UX teams in high-tech, mostly Silicon Valley, settings. Presented by Susan Wilhite to startupUCLA, an accelerator for UCLA students, on June 7, 2012 on the campus. Watch the startupUCLA web site for a video of the live presentation.


  • 1. UX RESEARCH/DESIGN IN STARTUPS Building a foundation with Lean UXSusan Wilhite @Maggid @startupUCLA

2. You can be so bad at so many things as long as you stay focused onhow youre providing value to your users and customers, youget through all that stuff. 3. You can be so bad at so many things as long as you stay focused onhow youre providing value to your users and customers, youget through all that stuff.MARK ZUCKERBERG 4. TODAYS KEY TAKEAWAYS Focus on value.Compile your knowledge.Build a spine.What do you know?What is your core?How do you know it?What is unnecessary?What does it mean? What is your niche? 5. The customer side of a businessUX = USER EXPERIENCE 6. LEAN UX DISCOUNT The downside of this whole lean startup thing is that a lot of people seem to think its ok to launch crap. Its not. @MAXNIEDERHOFER Team Europe (Berlin) The point of lean is to try to iteratively drive to a series of conclusions sooner with less cash consumed. Bart Bartlett @bbartle Lean UX is about making the most of a short runway. 7. LEAN UX USES SCIENTIFIC METHODAt the core of Lean UX, you treat each design iteration as a hypothesis.Minimize the amount of time youre pursuing the wrong hypothesis. Themore wrong paths you can figure out quickly, the sooner youll find theright path. Jeff Gothelf @jboogieTo compensate for the absence of heavyweight deliverables, Lean UX works viateam collaboration. Lean UX methods involve the entire team as they arehappening.Jared Spool, November 2011 blog post 8. UXProduct & BizDevelopmentThe Old Waterfall Process 9. UXProduct & BizDevelopmentThe Old Waterfall ProcessDeliverables are sometimes more enthusiastically given than received. 10. LEAN UX VERSUS REGULAR UXLean UX Regular UXInstead of doing quick bursts of running months-longuser researchengagements.Rather than doing caf testing on lab testing a dozen+.3-6 peopleRather than sketching interfacesgenerating reams of formalout on paper and prototypingdocumentation.them in HTML/CSS Adapted from Andy Budd 2011 11. IS LEAN UX BETTER THAN REGULAR UX?Lean UX isnt a different flavor of UX, just a subset.Research, design, and testing is one extended, morphing multi-phase study.Some projects are fine with a guerrilla approach while others require moreformality. @AndyBudd 2011Research Research Prototype Test &TestPrototype 12. Fully understand the most important attributes of your product. What is it conceptually? How do users see the product Important in what way? To whom? Latent attributes How does the product/service fit into the users ecosystem? What does it displace or augment or compliment? What are the end-to-end experiences? 13. UX Research/Design role in the organization what its like to carry the chargeTHE UX LEAD 14. HOW UX WORKS IN THEORYHabitually and harmoniously internalizeand actualize the implications ofcustomer needs/wishes, technicaland team processes, productdevelopment and marketing history,and the nature of externalrelationships.Strong opinions, weakly held.Paul Saffo (Faculty, Singularity University) 15. HOW UX WORKS IN PRACTICE Stand up for your findings and perspectives. Have constructive and objective arguments. Leave your ego at the door Play well with others 16. One world fair, a picnic, and a rodeo. 17. FIELD TRIP COORDINATOR OR IMMERSIVE JOURNALIST? 18. The UX Value-addSell yourself, sell your methods, sell your thinking Propose theories backed up by well-chosen and well-illustrated empirical data Accept, expand on and facilitate collective + diverse thinking Keep D-school exercises handy (http://dschool.stanford.edu/use-our-methods/) 19. RIDE THE CHAOSDevelop & practice team learning and processing.Work from a strong, central spine. Know what/who you can depend on. Prepare to improvise. 20. ONE DOESNT DISCOVER NEW LANDS WITHOUT CONSENTINGTO LOSE SIGHT OF THE SHORE FOR A VERY LONG TIME. ANDRE GIDE 21. IS IT OK FOR A RESEARCHER TO NOT BE A MAKER?In an ideal world the person who brings in new ideas also designs the product orservice. Yet each role has its principles, knowledge, and skills.Researchers generate data that become findings that inform everyone.Designers think through research findings to generate design solutions. This question is a work in progress. 22. EXPRESS IMPLICATIONS VISUALLY 23. A rigorous learning structure supports breakthrough innovation.COMPILE YOUR KNOWLEDGE 24. Build-Measure-Learn Lean UX dogma 25. Build-Measure-Learn Lean UX dogmaThink-Make-Check (LUXr) 26. Build-Measure-Learn Lean UX dogmaThink-Make-Check (LUXr)Learn-Measure-Build Lean Startup Circle 27. Learn. Measure. Build. CompileResearchRequirementsAnalysisplanning Design EvaluationPrototype Testing Adapted from Read-Write-Web: Bye-Bye Waterfall 28. COMPILE YOUR KNOWLEDGE Identify and investigate your most critical questions Connect your UX findings to what you already know Balance enthusiasm with skepticism Plan to reuse data UX Research/Design has a long shelf-life Build institutional knowledge Keep processing prior data and findings across roles Develop meta-conclusions and new hypotheses 29. JOB QUALIFICATIONS EXAMPLEMinimum QualificationsBachelors Degree in Psychology, Anthropology, Human Factors, Cognitive Science, or relatedfield and 3 years experience in consumer-based research design and analysis, user analytics,or related field OR 5 years experience in consumer-based research design and analysis, useranalytics, or related field.Preferred QualificationsMasters Degree in Human Computer Interaction, Applied Statistics, Econometrics,Psychometrics, or related field. 2 years experience researching front-end user experience solutions for mobileapplications on major smartphone platforms such as Android or iOS. 2 years experience conducting quantitative on-line research methodologies withsystems such as UserZoom or Keynote. 2 years experience conducting field-based ethnographic research. 30. WRAP UP: UX RESEARCH/DESIGN IN STARTUPS Focus on value to the customer Apply Lean UX: compile your knowledge Build a spine: a reliable infrastructure as a foundation for innovation 31. @Maggid Susan_Wilhite at msn dot comSUSAN WILHITE, UX RESEARCHER