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UX for Lean Startups: Faster, Smarter User Experience Research and Design + Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience + Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster (Lean Series)
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Q&A with Laura Klein, author of "UX for Lean Startups"

Q. Why is your book timely-- what makes it important right now?

A. We’re seeing a massive increase in the demand for well-designed, easy-to-use products. At the same time, we’re seeing an incredible shortage of designers who can work at the sort of fast-paced, data-driven, innovative startups that are popping up. UX for Lean Startups helps teach founders and entrepreneurs the basics of research, design, and UX so that they can build products people love and companies that can grow.

Q. What information do you hope that readers of your book will walk away with?

A. I hope that everybody who reads the book will be able to learn from their customers and turn that information into products that people will actually buy. I want startups to stop building things people don’t want and can’t use. This book can help them do that.

Q. What's the most exciting and/or important thing happening in your space?

A. I think the addition of data is the most important change to design that I’ve seen. By incorporating real data into the design process, we can understand exactly what effect our changes have on our users’ behavior. It used to be that design was about opinion and compromise. Now it’s about proving that the work we do has a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Laura's top 5 tips for readers:

1. Talking to users is not as good as listening to users, which is not as good as observing users. The best way to truly understand your user experience is to watch people trying to use your product. Do this as often as possible. It can be painful, but it’s always useful.

2. Know that something you believe may be wrong. The most important thing you can do is to identify which of your beliefs are assumptions and validate them. Before you spend a lot of time designing and building a feature, spend a little time validating whether or not the feature will help your business.

3. Quantitative research tells you what. Qualitative research tells you why. Things like A/B testing and funnel analysis (quant) are useful for explaining things like which design caused people to buy more products and where people fell out of the purchase funnel. Things like observational research and usability testing (qual) can tell you why users responded better to a particular design and why users are getting dropping out of the purchase funnel. Use them together for the best results.

4. An MVP is not half of a big product. It’s a whole small product. Don’t build something crappy and unusable and then claim it’s a minimum viable product. Build a good, but limited, version of your product that solves a serious problem for people.

5. Lean Startup is about learning, not landing pages. Whenever you’re wondering whether you should use a specific Lean Startup tactic, like a landing page or an MVP or an A/B test, ask yourself what you hope to learn from it and whether there is a cheaper, faster, more effective way to get that learning. Just measuring things doesn’t make you lean. The only way to truly be a Lean Startup is to Build, Measure, and Learn (and then Iterate).

About the Author

Laura has spent 15 years as an engineer and designer. Her goal is to help lean startups learn more about their customers so that they can build better products faster.Her popular design blog, Users Know, teaches product owners exactly what they need to know to do just enough research and design.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (May 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449334911
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449334918
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

From the Publisher

Look for more titles in the series

The Lean Series, curated by Eric Ries, is a collection of books written by the best people in the field, on topics that matter. The authors dive down into Lean Startup implementation-level details, providing readers with information they can immediately put to use.

Running Lean

We live in an age of unparalleled opportunity for innovation. We’re building more products than ever before, but most of them fail—not because we can’t complete what we set out to build, but because we waste time, money, and effort building the wrong product.

What we need is a systematic process for quickly vetting product ideas and raising our odds of success. That’s the promise of Running Lean.

Running Lean

Lean UX

Lean Analytics

Lean Branding


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Burnham VINE VOICE on August 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It's difficult to evaluate this book because, depending on who you are, it could either be completely common-sensical or completely revelatory. There's very little "meat" in terms of case studies. Instead, the entire book assumes that you're a product manager who's interested in practicing the lean startup methodology and either haven't read Eric Ries' The Lean Startup or don't understand its implications for UX methodology.

The methodology advocated by the book boils down to:

1. If a feature would be expensive to implement, establish the need for it first by talking to users.
2. Once a feature is implemented, use metrics to test the hypothesis that it's solved the problem it was intended to solve.

To the book's credit, it provides good advice on how to validate proposed features without asking leading questions like "We're thinking of implementing Feature X. Do you think Feature X would be useful?" It also advocates talking to small groups of users frequently, rather than doing large-scale user testing occasionally or, worse, sending out surveys (a grossly overused tool for startups).

Overall, this is a light and sensible read, but don't expect any dazzling insights.
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36 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Wildman Keith VINE VOICE on August 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is filled with a lot of obvious advice.
It's as if somebody wrote a book on running a bar and advised you to have a good supply of beer and whiskey.
Or if you were going to start a painting business and they said to have some brushes, rollers, ladders and a sprayer for those times you wanted to spray on paint.
Inside this book you get such gems of wisdom as "do a little research" or "test your applications."
Want some more things you should do... "fix a bug, deal with an error, tweak an existing design, build a whole new product."
Gee, so just throwing something online and not bothering to fix it is not the right way to go??? Really??? Glad I read this book to find that out.
So I decided to check into a few of the people that gave this thing 5 star reviews.
The ones that I read their previous reviews were all fans of other "Lean" books such as Lean Analytics or they knew the author of other books in the series or so on.
It's a "you give my book a 5 star rating and I'll give yours a 5 star rating " club.
Maybe somebody can write a UX for BLOATED and OVERWEIGHT Startups. Sell it on the Weight Watchers web site maybe.
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44 of 58 people found the following review helpful By mic check one two one two on June 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a software entrepreneur with a background in both visual design and complex web programming, I am currently reading The Lean Startup while developing my next product. I pre-ordered this book because I wanted to give this author the opportunity to speak about user-experience in tandem with the lean startup philosophy.

Most reviews I read on the book were here on Amazon, and all of them were 5 stars except one. Two things gave me pause-I couldn't understand how the book would have 5 stars even though it wasn't out yet, and there was 1 review that said this book was a "skip it". I went ahead and ordered it anyway, thinking that, if it wasn't that good, I'll simply return it.

I returned it.

The only thing this book has in common with The Lean Startup is its name. Unfortunately, it is written very poorly, and the author (or editor, I don't know) comes across as if they were simply trying to fill pages with text, as opposed to actually having something notable to write. For example, there is a methodology in presentations where you do 3 things: tell people what you are about to say, say it, and then tell people what you've said.

This author took that blueprint and applied it to this book literally, by writing sentences that describe what she is about to say in the next sentence, when she could have simply just said what she wanted to say from the beginning!

Kind of like the following sentence (this isn't out of the book but it's very similar to its writing):

--
Okay, so what I'm about to say is really important. Oh, and as a professional you may have already heard this. If you heard this then you'll know that this is important. You really need put your customers first because it's very important.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steve Berczuk VINE VOICE on August 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
With a lively, if somewhat irreverant, tone , Laura Klein guides you through the process of starting a venture using UX as a gateway into finding a market and success. This book has pragmatic advice on what to do and how to do it now, and more importantly, what not to spend time on. Not just a concept book, this book discusses tools and detailed approaches. Klein addresses many of the concerns people might have about "skipping steps" in order to be lean, and explains the both the challenges and benefits of a lean approach to UX design. The author discusses how UX fits into an agile startup environment.

This book shares some of the irreverant tone of The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field .The author's tone takes a bit of getting used to, but the advice is good, and actionable, and the style of the writing emphasizes the "just do it" theme of the book.

This books has a slightly different audience than the earlier, similarly titled book Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience. Lean UX is more about how to apply Lean Principles to UX design, with an eye toward migrating from a non-iterative UX process to a more iterative, lean, agile process. That book seemed to be geared more towards UX professionals, though anyone who touches UX could benefit from it. This book addresses the needs of entrepreneurs and members of a startup who want to have a good UX, but can't waste a lot of time and effors on it. I'd reccommend that either individual get both books.
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