Lean UX

Lean UX (Lean User Experience) is a way of working that combines UX with the core ideas of Agile. It enables UX designers to perform better in a rapid iterative cycle such as Agile or Scrum.

Updated on January 31st, 2023


In today's software development environment, working in isolation from your team as a UX designer is no longer an option. You can't expect your colleagues just to understand everything and be informed about what you've done.

Lean UX can fix that because it focuses on cross-functional collaboration. As a result, you'll have daily engagement with your team. This constant engagement also allows you to build a shared understanding with your teammates and stakeholders.

Three fundamental principles

Lean UX is built on three fundamental principles that you'll apply throughout your project if you apply Lean UX. Let's take a look at what these principles are.

Design thinking

The first fundamental principle of Lean UX is design thinking. Design thinking is one half of the Lean UX pie and vital for Lean UX to work.

It puts the user at the center of the software development process. Also, it encourages non-designers within the team to use design methods to solve the challenges they face during the project.


The second fundamental principle of Lean UX is the Agile methodology. Software developers have been using Agile methods (like Scrum) for years to reduce the time it takes to complete projects and to deliver value to the customer on an ongoing basis.

While the Agile methodology can create obstacles for UX designers, its core values are at the heart of Lean UX. It tries to align UX and Agile in a way that both can enhance each other.

An example is how Lean UX requires you to make decisions more quickly compared to a non-Lean-UX design project. As a result, you're likely to guess more but also validate and iterate faster.

For UX designers, this might feel uneasy initially, but it is likely to result in a better collaboration with developers.

Lean startup

The third fundamental principle of Lean UX is the Lean Startup method, as created by Eric Ries.

The Lean Startup method uses a feedback loop called 'build, measure, learn.' It allows the team to build a product quickly and learn from mistakes.

If you compare this to a more traditional way of working, which involves doing a lot of research first and building later, you'll see that the risk of building something that can't be validated will be much smaller.

Within Lean UX, teams build minimum viable products (MVPs) and validate them with the customer so that they can learn from user feedback as early as possible.

Useful resources

A beginner's guide to Lean UX (+5 lessons from Jeff Gothelf) - Invision

A Simple Introduction to Lean UX - IDF



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