Design, UI, UX, Web Development

What is Lean UX and Why You Should Consider it for Your Business?

You know who’s always on the cutting edge of innovation? The automotive industry. They’ve pioneered so many inventions that have been later adopted by other industries. It’s all because of the intense competition they face. One such concept that originated in the auto industry is Lean UX.

Originally developed by Toyota to minimize manufacturing costs while boosting revenue, Lean UX has become a popular method for streamlining design processes and creating products that customers love.

So, what’s the connection between Lean UX and design, manufacturing, financial results, and customer experiences? Well, Lean UX design ties all these things together.

When you adopt a Lean UX approach, you focus on minimizing waste and delivering products that meet your customers’ needs. This approach has many benefits, including:

  • Faster feedback loops: With Lean UX, you can test your ideas quickly and get feedback from your customers, allowing you to make changes and improvements on the fly.
  • Improved collaboration: Lean UX encourages everyone on your team to work together, leading to better communication and a more cohesive product.
  • Better customer experience: When you prioritize your customers’ needs, you can create products that are more useful, usable, and desirable, leading to higher customer satisfaction.
  • Reduced costs: By eliminating waste and focusing on the most important features, you can save time and money during the design process.
  • Increased revenue: When you create products that better meet your customers’ needs, you can build customer loyalty and generate more revenue over time.

In this article, we’ll explore the key principles of Lean UX and show you how to apply them to your own design processes. Whether you’re a product manager, designer, or developer, Lean UX can help you create better products that deliver value to your customers.

Article overview:

1. What is Lean UX?
2. How does lean UX help businesses?
3. What is the Lean UX process?
4. Lean UX principles


1. What is Lean UX?

Have you ever worked on a project where you felt like you were designing in a vacuum? Where the end product didn’t quite meet the needs of users, or where the design process felt clunky and slow? That’s where Lean UX comes in.

Lean UX is a methodology that prioritizes collaboration, experimentation, and continuous improvement. Rather than relying on rigid processes and long development cycles, Lean UX encourages designers to work closely with their team members and with users to create products that meet their needs as efficiently and effectively as possible.

So what’s the difference between Lean UX, Agile UX, and Traditional UX?

While all three approaches share a focus on user-centered design, they approach the design process in slightly different ways.

  • Traditional UX: it cares about “What are we making?” and often involves more research and planning upfront.
  • Agile UX: it focuses on the question of “How do we make it?” and emphasizes the importance of quick iterations and a flexible design process.
  • Lean UX: it is all about “Are We Making the Right Thing?”, emphasizing the importance of working with users to create products that meet their needs.

In practice, all three approaches can be effective depending on the needs of your project and team. However, Lean UX offers a unique approach that emphasizes collaboration, experimentation, and continuous improvement to create products that truly meet the needs of users.

It is not about design but rather about a mindset – to achieve great results by receiving consistent feedback and working with many iterations.

So, here are some simplified examples of how the three approaches might differ in a hypothetical design project:

Traditional UX:
  1. Conduct user research to understand the needs and pain points of the target audience.
  2. Develop personas and user journeys based on the research findings.
  3. Use wireframes and prototypes to test and refine the design.
  4. Conduct usability testing to gather feedback and make further refinements.
  5. Develop the final design and launch the product.
Agile UX:
  1. Start with a basic design concept and develop an MVP (minimum viable product).
  2. Conduct user testing on the MVP to gather feedback and identify areas for improvement.
  3. Make quick iterations to the design based on user feedback.
  4. Conduct further user testing on each iteration to gather more feedback and make additional refinements.
  5. Continuously iterate on the design until it meets the needs of users.
Lean UX:
  1. Define the problem you’re trying to solve and develop a hypothesis about the solution.
  2. Create a prototype or mockup of the proposed solution.
  3. Test the prototype with users to gather feedback and refine the design.
  4. Based on the user feedback, create a new prototype and repeat the testing process.
  5. Continuously iterate on the design based on user feedback until you’ve created a product that meets the needs of users.

These are just simplified examples, and the actual process for each approach can vary depending on the project and team. However, they give a general idea of how each approach might differ in terms of focus and process.


2. How Does Lean UX Help Businesses?

In the competitive world of business, companies must create products that meet customer needs to stay ahead of the game. Lean UX is a valuable tool that helps businesses achieve this goal by focusing on gaining feedback from users and using that feedback to iterate quickly.

One of the main terms in lean UX is MVP. Minimum viable products are extremely useful in all situations since they focus on launching a product that has core features, and the rest is finished afterward. This way, you can generate money and collect valuable feedback, in order to improve your product.

Iterations provide better efficiency

Lean UX is all about iterating quickly and efficiently. Instead of spending months perfecting a design, Lean UX allows you to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and put it in front of users to get feedback. This approach makes it easy to identify what’s working and what isn’t, so you can make improvements and keep moving forward. By releasing early and often, you can also reduce the risk of wasting time and money on features that your users don’t need or want.

Here’s a practical example:

Let’s say you’re building a new app for managing your finances. Instead of spending six months developing all of the features, you think people might need, you decide to create an MVP with just a few key features, such as the ability to add and categorize expenses. You release the MVP to a small group of users and get feedback on what they like and what they don’t like. Based on this feedback, you can quickly iterate and make improvements to the app, such as adding the ability to set savings goals or integrating with popular accounting software.

By continuously iterating and improving, you can create a product that better meets the needs of your users, all while minimizing the risk of wasting time and money on features that may not be useful.

Lean UX revolves around the user

User experience designers need to be familiar with both User-Centered Design and Lean UX, as the two methodologies are markedly similar in nature.

The whole point of Lean UX is to really understand what users need and want from a product, which makes it easier to create something that they’ll actually enjoy using. When you’re able to give users what they want, they’re more likely to stick around and become loyal customers.

Here’s a practical example.

Let’s say you are designing a new mobile app for tracking fitness activities. Using the Lean UX method, you will conduct user research to better understand the needs and preferences of your target audience, such as what types of activities they like to track, what features they need, and what will make them to use the app regularly. Thanks to the feedback you get, you can create a more user-friendly and effective app that better meets the needs of your users. This, in turn, will inevitably lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

A/B Testing helps decision-making

One of the cool things about Lean UX is A/B testing, which is like a scientific experiment for your product. You create two different versions of your product (A and B) and show them to users. Then, you track how they interact with each version and analyze the data to see which one performs better. This helps you make data-driven decisions about what changes to make to your product, ensuring that it meets the needs of your users.

Here’s a practical example.

Imagine you want to decide on the best color for a “Buy” button on their website. You can create two different versions of the website, each with a different colored button, and show each version to a different group of users. By analyzing the click-through rates and other metrics, you can now determine which color performs better and make data-driven decisions on which color to use for the “Buy” button.

At the end of the day, Lean UX is a game-changer for businesses looking to create products that users will love. By putting the user at the center of the design process and continuously gathering feedback through iteration and A/B testing, businesses can make informed decisions that are based on real data.

The result? Products that are more efficient, effective, and most importantly, user-friendly. And when users are happy, businesses are happy – it’s a win-win situation!


3. What is the Lean UX Process?

The Lean UX process is a three-step approach to creating successful products. In short, you start by making assumptions about what your users want and need. Then, you build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) based on those assumptions. And finally, your research and gather feedback from users to refine the product and iterate until it meets their needs.

Now, let’s see each step in more detail.


When you follow the Lean UX process, you start by making key assumptions about the product you’re going to develop, in order to build a strong foundation and structure. These hypotheses will give you more insight into your target audience and their needs, even if you’re wrong at first. The first step is to answer these three key questions:

  • What business problem does my product solve? Answering this question will help you define the value proposition of your product and how it will solve a problem for your customers.
  • Which customers I should target first? Defining your target audience will help you focus on specific user needs and design a product that caters to them.
  • How can my users benefit from buying my product? This question will help you understand how your product will bring value to your users’ lives.

Once you have answers to these questions, you can create a hypothesis that turns your assumptions into a statement.

Here’s how this looks in practice:

For example, let’s say you’re building a platform to connect house cleaners with busy professionals. Your assumptions might be that your target user is a corporate manager without a partner living on their own and that they need someone to help with housework. Your hypothesis might be: “We believe that by providing a platform to connect busy professionals with reliable and affordable house cleaners, we can help them save time and reduce stress.”

By creating a hypothesis, you’ll have a clear direction for your product and a way to measure its success. In the next step, you’ll build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to test your hypothesis and gather feedback from users.

Build an MVP

Now that you’ve got your assumptions in order, it’s time to start building your MVP. This is basically the bare-bones version of your product that contains only the core features. Think of it as a prototype that you can test with real users. The idea is to get feedback early on and make improvements based on that feedback. This is where Lean UX really shines because it’s all about constant iteration.

So, let’s continue with the house cleaning platform example. Your MVP might include a basic search function that lets users find available cleaners in their area, a booking system to schedule appointments, and a rating system so that users can rate their experience with the cleaners.

Now, it’s time to test your MVP with real users. Let them use the platform and give you feedback on what they like and don’t like about it. For example, maybe they find the search function confusing or the booking process too complicated. Take their feedback seriously and use it to make improvements for the next iteration.

Remember, the goal of the MVP is to get your product out to your target audience and see how they react to it. Don’t be afraid to make changes and pivot if necessary. This is all part of the Lean UX process, and it’s what makes it so effective.


Ongoing research gives you the opportunity to learn from your customers and gain a better understanding of the products you’re creating. Checking in with your customers at least once per week can give you a better understanding of what they need, what they think about certain aspects of your business, and how much they enjoy interacting with your brand.

Make sure you include three key aspects:

  • User participation – in order to see the bigger picture, you need to ask many people.
  • Consistency – make sure you conduct multiple tests throughout the iteration. Even if they are small.
  • Team collaboration – make sure every member of the team, regardless of their department, is aware of the results, so as achieve a shared understanding.

To continue with the house cleaning platform example, you could regularly talk to your users to understand their pain points, such as how difficult it is to find trustworthy cleaners. You could conduct small tests, such as changing the placement of certain buttons on your website, to see how it affects user behavior. And you could make sure your entire team is aware of the results, so everyone can work together to create the best product possible.


4. Lean UX Principles

In order to provide a lean user experience, you may need to focus on some principles that can make the difference between a successful product and a failure.

Focus on team-work

Working as a team is essential in creating a great product. You don’t want to be working in silos, otherwise, you might miss out on important details. Designers and developers must be in sync and have a shared understanding of user needs to create products that people actually want to use.

Luckily, with tools like Slack and Zoom, you can easily collaborate with remote team members and have real-time discussions. For example, let’s say you’re building a mobile app for a ridesharing service. Your team can use Slack to discuss features and updates, while Zoom can be used for more in-depth discussions and design reviews. This way, everyone is on the same page, and you can ensure that your product is of the highest quality.

Provide the right solution for your customers

Designing a product that fits your customers like a glove is key to success. It’s like a sports car – you wouldn’t want to drive one that doesn’t fit you, right? That’s why Lean UX development focuses on building the right solution for your target customers. By testing your prototypes with actual customers every week, you’ll get valuable feedback that will help you adjust and improve your product. This way, you can make sure that your final product is exactly what your customers want and need.

For a practical example, let’s stick with the house cleaning platform example we’ve been using. Say you’ve designed a booking process for house cleaners on your platform, but you’re not sure if it’s user-friendly enough. You can test it with a group of target customers and get their feedback. Maybe they find it confusing or cumbersome, and you can adjust the process to make it smoother and more intuitive. This way, you can be sure that your platform is providing the right solution for your customers.

Target short-term benefits

Targeting short-term benefits is a key principle in Lean UX. Instead of trying to create the perfect product all at once, it’s better to focus on making small improvements over time. This way, you can test your ideas and see what works best for your customers without investing too much time and resources into a feature that might not be valuable.

Back to the house cleaning platform example, you might start by focusing on the most important features, such as a simple booking system and easy payment options. You could then test these features with a small group of users and get their feedback to improve the platform over time. By focusing on short-term goals, you can quickly adapt to your customer’s needs and deliver a product that they truly value.

Prioritize conversations

Collaboration is key when it comes to Lean UX. The best products are created when designers, engineers, and other team members work together, sharing their ideas and getting feedback. It’s important to have regular meetings where everyone can contribute and provide valuable input. This helps to identify any issues early on and creates a more cohesive final product.

For the house cleaning platform example, the team could have regular meetings to discuss feedback from house cleaners and busy professionals who have used the platform. They could also brainstorm ideas for new features or improvements based on the feedback received.

By working together in a collaborative environment, the team can quickly identify issues and make improvements to the platform to better serve their target audience. This can lead to a more successful product and a better user experience for both the cleaners and professionals using the platform.



In today’s fast-paced world, businesses need to be agile and responsive to customer needs to remain competitive. Lean UX is a way to achieve this. By prioritizing customer needs, short-term goals, and team collaboration, businesses can deliver high-quality products that customers love, faster than ever before.

Here are some key takeaways from our discussion on Lean UX:

  • Customers should always be at the heart of product design
  • Teams should work collaboratively towards shared goals
  • Short-term goals and testing are essential to avoiding costly mistakes
  • Constant feedback loops help teams identify and fix problems quickly

If you want to learn more about UI/UX design and development, check out some of our related articles. We have a wealth of resources to help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices.

So what are you waiting for? Start exploring and see how you can apply Lean UX principles to your own business today!

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