This month Futurice Tampere hosted a Design Weekend together with Tampere University of Technology Unit of Human-Centered Technology and Ubinet doctoral network. During the weekend I had the chance to learn from and work with UX design students.
What is UX?
Nothing is more telling than a real-life UX example, such as this excerpt of a UX job description at Twitter shared by Fast Company in 2012:
“Define interaction models, user task flows, and UI specifications. Communicate scenarios, end-to-end experiences, interaction models, and screen designs to stakeholders. Work with our creative director and visual designers to incorporate the visual identity of Twitter into features. Develop and maintain design wireframes, mockups, and specifications as needed.”
In short, a UX designer’s job is to deliver an exceptional experience for the end user while considering the technical implementation and keeping in mind the business application.
What is Lean UX?
Yes, we’re talking about “that” lean. The same lean used to gain efficiency in manufacturing plants across the world and in the latest start-up just around the corner.
Plain old UX can be heavy on deliverables such as lengthy requirements documents and in-depth wireframes. This documentation, some argue, shifts the designers focus away from the most important part of the work: the actual user experience (Gothelf, 2011).
Enter Lean UX. Its about being quick, nimble and avoiding waste. In place of lengthy requirements documents, it favors low-fidelity “deliverables” that help bring an idea to light more clearly, visually and, most importantly, faster.
What does UX have in common with Service Design?
Some of this might sound familiar. Service Design tools and methodologies have roots in both manufacturing and user experience. In fact, Stickdorn and Schneider (2011, 54) argue that Service Design Thinking is an umbrella under which various design fields, presumably such as UX design, fall.
Working along side UX designers was enlightening. And, in the end, our solution was stronger because of our collaboration.
I often urged my team to consider the full service ecosystem whether it was how the various stakeholders would interact with one another or the emotions and challenges our users might be experiencing outside the context of our solution.
Meanwhile, my UX-based teammates challenged me to look at the actual solution on a more granular level. How exactly would this work? How would the screen flow work? How would that impact the users experience?
With no disrespect to UX folks, the weekend confirmed for me that I chose the right field. When we received our design challenge and began the ideation phase I found that, because this was a UX event, the solutions were contained to a digital context. For me, I prefer the freedom of service design to create any solution, online or offline.
Service Innovation and Design MBA Student
Gothelf J., 2011. Lean UX: Getting Out of the Deliverables Business. Accessed 11.09.2015. http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/03/lean-ux-getting-out-of-the-deliverables-business/
Ming L.M., 2014. UI, UX: Who Does What? A Designer’s Guide To The Tech Industry. Accessed 25.09.2015.
Stickdorn M. & Schneider J., This is Service Design Thinking. Hoboken, New Jersey, United States: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Viviano A., 2014. The Lean UX Manifesto: Principle-Driven Design. Accessed 25.09.2015.