Ask A Pro: User Experience (UX) Strategy For Lean Startups

August 31st, 2012 by | No Comments »

Two words: online startups. In the past decade entrepreneurs have taken their business ideas to the web and online startups have been on the rise ever since. On August 15, Jaime Russell Levy showed the LA web design community how to successfully implement a User Experience (UX) strategy into their business.

After accomplishing many feats in the field of digital media including the creation of one of the first online magazines (WORD); Jaime Russell Levy shifted her attention to working more personally with clients in the field of user experience. “I started focusing my practice on working for startups, that’s where my heart is because you get to work with ideas from the very beginning,” Levy explained to the audience.

She reexamined her UX methodology after a client recommend a book called “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries to her. “I listened to the book for a day and a half and of course it changed my world,” Jaime Russell Levy stated. She displayed a chart to the LA web design community about the Lean Startup Methodology which caused her to rethink her own “waterfall” methodology.

The components of the Lean Startup Methodology were:

1. Start with an idea > then build
2. Build the product > test it and get data back
3. Learn > cycle around

Keeping in mind good business strategy; she then developed a definition for user experience strategy. “A formed alignment of an organization’s business objectives with a validated understanding of end user’s goals,” Levy told the audience. She explained that she wants to connect the dots between business strategy and user experience strategy because that is done long before developers start working on a website.

Part One: Product Discovery

1. Why User Experience for online startups is crucial
2. Aligning product vision with business goals
3. The exploration of a minimum viable product

Jaime Russell Levy took the LA web design community through several business cases to support these three steps in product discovery. “It can be your differentiator,” Levy said about the first step in product discovery. “A unique, kick-ass user experience can change the world,” she joked before showing a real life example of Airbnb (airbnb.com).

The second and third steps build off the first. The second step refers back to connecting the dots between business and user experience strategy. While the third step included examples for how to verify quantitative research in relation to validating qualitative research.

Part Two: Product Market Fit

“What’s our competition doing?” Levy asked the audience. It is important to know both your direct and indirect competitors. This helps to determine the real competition. She recommended a Gap Analysis and to look all around the landscape of your industry. Collect data and know how to make it useful. The website audience members used to buy tickets for this event (eventbrite.com) collected data for Jaime Russell Levy to test her hypothesis of who would be interested in learning about the benefits a good user experience.

Overall the evening was filled with laughter and valuable insight that can benefit those in the LA web design community whether a startup or established. Jaime Russell Levy was incredibly entertaining and engaging; not allowing for any dull moments. Many thanks to Jaime Russell Levy and the Coloft venue in Santa Monica for hosting this workshop!

Taken from eventbrite.com
Jaime Russell Levy (see Wikipedia article and LinkedIn profile) has been a pioneer for over 20 years in the creation of innovative browsing and non-linear storytelling experiences for products and services distributed on disk media, mobile devices, the Web and iTV. These days she runs a User Experience Strategy and Design practice in Los Angeles called JLR Interactive that caters to “lean” startups, helping them transform their business concepts into sustainable and scalable online solutions.
Throughout her career, Jaime has been a part-time college professor, for 7 years at NYU ITP and is currently teaching User Experience Design at UCLA Extension in the Fall/Spring quarters.

Do you work in the field of User Experience? What are your thoughts? Share them in the comments section below.

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