The Lean UX Design Method That Will Make a Real Difference

The Lean UX Design Method That Will Make a Real Difference

When developing IT products, problem solving is often the top motivation. Developers identify a problem and provide a solution. Unfortunately, without considering the user experience during the design phase, finished products often fail.

Look at what happened with the iPod versus the Microsoft equivalent, Zune. One outsold the competition by more than 18,000%. Both products were pocket-sized portable music players with a fairly simple interface. The iPod simply did a better job of integrating intuitive usage, making it a more popular product.

By prioritizing UX design over hardware, Apple launched a product that killed the competition in the marketplace.

Overcoming Resistance to Good UX Design Practices

The challenge with UX design is often getting buy-in at the top level of an enterprise. You say you want to delight the customer by providing a seamless experience with usability testing, iterative design, and feedback. What the CEO hears might be something along the lines of delayed projects, pushed deadlines, missed metrics, and dreaded cost overruns.

So how do you demonstrate the value in human-centric design? John Whalen, a cognitive scientist, recommends using the right vocabulary to push past the initial hesitance. Essentially, point to the numbers.

“UX brings between $2 and $100 in return, and IBM plans a 1:10 return for usability testing,” according to Alex Avissar Tim, a UX Architect at Citi.


Heather McGough is co-founder, with Eric Ries and Melissa Moore, of Lean Startup Company. For five years, she has been providing education, tools, and partnerships to entrepreneurs and corporate innovators, empowering them to overcome challenges in building new companies and products. Heather develops new ways to support the global community of aspiring and existing Lean Startup practitioners for companies both large and small in any sector.

BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.