UX for Lean Startups Book Summary - UX for Lean Startups Book explained in key points
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UX for Lean Startups summary

Laura Klein

Faster, Smarter User Experience Research and Design

4.5 (125 ratings)
24 mins
Table of Contents

    UX for Lean Startups
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    Key idea 1 of 8

    Lean UX focuses on formulating and validating hypotheses to inform decision-making.

    Imagine you work for an e-commerce company that sells gadgets online. One day, during a meeting, someone suggests adding a comment section under each product on the website. This way, customers can leave feedback.

    Everyone thinks this sounds like a great idea, so they get to work on it. The product manager writes some specs. The designers come up with a design. The engineers figure out the code.

    Two months later, the feature is finally released, and it looks great. But there’s one little problem: none of your customers actually want to use it. All that work was for nothing. So what went wrong? 

    The key message here is: Lean UX focuses on formulating and validating hypotheses to inform decision-making.

    This way of working highlights one of the core differences between Lean UX and the traditional approach to designing new features, products, and services. It all comes down to the distinction between an assumption and a hypothesis.

    To see the difference, let’s go back to that ill-fated comment section. How would you use Lean UX to approach this idea instead? To begin with, you’d come up with a hypothesis, perhaps something like: “Based on our preliminary research, we believe that adding a comments section to our website will improve our sales by increasing customer engagement.”

    Notice how this hypothesis turns your idea into a testable proposition. Customer engagement and sales are things you can measure. If the numbers go up, your hypothesis is correct. If they don’t, it’s wrong.

    Your task is then to simply figure out which it is. In the language of Lean UX, this process is called validation, since you’re trying to validate – or invalidate – your beliefs about your new product, service, or feature.

    The weaker alternative is the more traditional approach where you plow ahead with your idea and hope for the best. In doing this, you’re making a series of unfounded assumptions about your idea. In the case of the comment section idea, you’re assuming that it’ll increase your customer engagement, and hopefully your sales, without any real evidence. That’s a risky bet to make. After all, if your assumptions are incorrect, the result could be months of wasted time and money.

    Lean UX is all about avoiding this fate. How? By invalidating bad ideas as soon as possible.

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    What is UX for Lean Startups about?

    UX for Lean Startups (2013) provides an innovative, cost-effective approach to researching and designing products and services. Geared toward start-ups and companies that want to act like them, it shows that you can provide your customers with an excellent user experience while keeping your time and money expenditures as lean as possible.

    Who should read UX for Lean Startups?

    • Entrepreneurs
    • Product designers, managers, and engineers
    • Start-up workers and founders

    About the Author

    Laura Klein has been an engineer, UX designer, product manager, and consultant for more than two decades, working in Silicon Valley with both small start-ups and large companies. She has a popular blog called Users Know, and she’s the cohost of two podcasts: What Is Wrong With UX and Engsplaining. She’s written one other book, Build Better Products.

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