Following the previous post, today we’ll be talking about 2 more UX Design frameworks.
The Lean UX process focuses on reducing wasted time and resources, and producing a workable product as soon as possible. The process is iterative, meaning the team continues to update and make revisions to the product as they gather user research and stakeholder feedback.
The Lean UX process is broken into three steps:
Think. Explore the problems that users are experiencing and consider how you could solve them with your design. This step is all about gathering research, so you can form a clear idea of who the product is for and how it will help them.
Make. Start designing the product by creating sketches, wireframes, and prototypes. You’ll also create a minimum viable product, or MVP for short, which is a simple prototype of your designs that you can test with the target audience. Be prepared to go back and update your prototype as you gather feedback!
Check. Find out how users respond to your design and gather feedback from project stakeholders. Make adjustments to your designs accordingly, and repeat the three steps again, if necessary.
These steps are meant to be repeated as many times as needed, until your team reaches the desired final product. The Lean UX process encourages productivity and collaboration. Lean UX teams are typically cross-functional, which means you’ll be working alongside team members like engineers and UX researchers.
There are six principles you should keep in mind when using the Lean UX process:
- Move forward. Focus only on design elements and features that move the design process toward a particular goal. Don’t get distracted by “nice-to-haves.”
- Stay curious. Lean UX is about using feedback from users and stakeholders to revise and improve your designs. Continuously seek feedback to understand why specific design choices work or don’t work.
- Test ideas in the real world. Lean UX encourages designers to test their ideas – using prototypes, for example – outside of the conference room and with potential users.
- Externalize your ideas. Instead of internally debating and analyzing whether or not an idea is going to work, turn your ideas into something physical, viewable, and testable, while they’re still fresh in your mind. This way, you’ll get feedback on your designs in the early stages, when diverse perspectives and feedback are most helpful.
- Reframe deliverables as outcomes. Focus on creating usable, enjoyable products that users actually want and need. Always keep in mind that you’re designing for your users first-and-foremost, not for the project stakeholders.
- Embrace radical transparency. Feel comfortable being honest with everyone on the team (and expect the same in return), since you will depend on each other’s insights. This way, everyone can make informed decisions about how to move forward and avoid wasting time and energy.
The Lean UX process is all about following your intuition, putting your ideas out there, and staying open to constant feedback and revisions. It’s not about getting it right the first time! Instead, Lean UX is about collaborating and incorporating feedback.
Double Diamond is a more traditional UX process, which breaks down UX design into two main phases (or “diamonds”): research and design. Each phase has two steps. When combined, these are the four steps:
- Discover the problem. Gather information about potential issues users are facing.
- Define the problem. Filter through the data, and focus on the main issue your product aims to solve.
- Develop solutions for the problem. Begin designing your product as a work in progress. This is where wireframes and prototypes come into play.
- Deliver the product. Review and test your product to prepare it for release.
Like a lot of the design frameworks we’ve discussed, Double Diamond is iterative, not linear. Each sprint leads the team to new insights that are used to improve the product’s design. Then, the process starts over again with a new iteration. Think of it like the various drafts of a research paper that a student writes before they turn in a final draft to the teacher for a grade.
Double Diamond also encourages teamwork across the organization, so the design team doesn’t focus solely on design. To be successful, the entire team must know how to incorporate design principles, design methods, user engagement strategies, and leadership principles. Be prepared to take on multiple roles and responsibilities, as needed.
There are four principles that inform the Double Diamond process:
- Focus on the user. As is always the case in UX design, the user is the top priority.
- Communicate. Communicate visually, through imagery and design choices that supplement the text. You should also be sure that the communication of your design is equitable and accessible, which you’ll learn more about in this part of the program.
- Collaborate. One of the unique features of the Double Diamond process is that it encourages creative collaboration and co-creation with your fellow team members.
- Iterate. Accept that the design is a work in progress and isn’t going to be complete right away. The magic is in the revision. With every iteration, you give the user a new experience.
Both the Lean UX and Double Diamond frameworks are helpful for entry-level UX designers to understand. Even if your team doesn’t follow one of these processes, understanding how each one works and why they’re useful is invaluable. Keep up the great work!