Moving towards Lean UX: Jeff Gothelf

Putting the user at the heart of the design process and cutting out waste

According to Jeff Gothelf, designer, author, international speaker and leading voice on the topic of Lean UX, the traditional approach to user experience (UX) design is often slow and inefficient. He calls for a shift towards a more Agile workflow, in line with the approach that software development and engineering teams are increasingly adopting. Part of this involves what he calls an “evidence-based decision making process”, that weighs design choices against real user feedback. He explains how success in a Lean UX approach should be based on achieving a change in customer behaviour. They may spend more time viewing material, or share more content, for example. The ultimate goal is to build a product that truly delights users.

“Technology has changed to the point where we can deliver ideas to our target audience very very quickly” – Jeff Gothelf

Software now allows designers to be in continuous dialogue with their customers. The aim, Sacha Sedriks, creative director, BBC Future Media UX&D, says is to operate more “iteratively”, releasing in regular cycles to avoid a long, drawn-out process, and take advantage of this. He explains how the BBC user experience and design (UX&D) team adopted some of the principles of Lean UX when building BBC Playlister. By taking some of the existing functionality within the BBC site, the team were able, early on, to explore how they might incorporate adding tracks to a user’s playlist.

The UX process can be streamlined by working in small, cross-discipline teams, Gothelf explains. Wai Tai Li, a senior BBC UX designer working on Playlister, describes how his team isn’t just "a group of designers, developers, testers, BA, with a king product owner, who only meet when it is needed". Instead they work side by side every day, building something in which they are emotionally invested. The result, according to Gothelf, should be a product that is in tune with its users and the way they interact with it, and that has been built with minimum possible wastage.

About Jeff

Jeff Gothelf

Jeff Gothelf is a designer & Agile practitioner. He is the author of Lean UX: Applying lean principles to improve user experience.

Jeff has led teams at TheLadders, Publicis Modem, WebTrends, Fidelity and AOL. Currently, Jeff is a Principal at Neo Innovation in New York City.