Feb 21, 2016

Leaning and Pivoting in UX Research

When a new technology first appears, there’s a tendency to see it as a replacement for the previous generation of that tech (horse-less carriages! wireless phones! driverless cars!). Len Epp at TechCrunch, writes about moving past the driver-less car concept and see the possibilities created by autonomous vehicles: “To pick just one example, companies like Walmart will almost certainly let their robot cars drive you to and from their stores for free, as will their competitors.”

What's the project management takeaway? Innovative product development is done in small cross-functional teams; the overarching goal is to create value (deliver outcomes rather than features),  UX researchers test hypotheses and pivot rather than chase statistical significance. Enter Lean UX.

Lean UX means researching "just enough" to gain  confidence in the design direction and manage the ROI. It also means leveraging the context that the participant provides; the Researcher needs to listen to the information the participant is providing, and pivot the conversation as necessary, in order to get the max value from each participant. Nobody is after statistical significance (p values, effect sizes... there's nothing Lean about them), and nobody is stuck with ridiculously rigid protocols much less the users.