UX is dead (dancing on Axures grave)

Anyone who has worked on an agile project usually encounters the question “How do we get UX to fit the process”. However anyone who has worked on a Lean project understands that UX doesn’t fit because the whole notion of what UX is has become vastly overblown and meaningless. UX is now an ageing rock star that demands its own dressing room, groupies and brown M&Ms and has very little to do with making things people want to use.

Agencies love UX as it gives them something to sell. Lots of shiny annotated Axure wireframes that suggest lots of work has been done by lots of people to solve a users problem. The ‘problem’ is however is that this approach is likely to solve nothing.

In a lean developed product the rapid cycles of ‘learn, build and test’ leave little time for faffing about in a wire-framing software environment. The aim of the game in Lean is to…

  • Talk to users,
  • Create a hypothesis,
  • Sketch out some approaches,
  • Rapidly prototype
  • Then validate.

There are great frameworks out there that mean it’s much faster to build prototypes than it is to create interactive Axure files that bear no resemblance to mobile design patterns. If you are going to build something in a medium then use that medium not something completely different. Remember if you’re not testing with actual unbiased users at the end of each sprint then you’ve failed.

3 thoughts on “UX is dead (dancing on Axures grave)

  1. Hmmm, that very much depends on your view of UX.
    – I totally agree with you about the aging rock star bit
    – Axure is pointless as per your point about rapid prototyping (reusable code!!!)
    – I think design / protoyping without the proper research is really dangerous
    – Agile doesn’t work as a process that involves research & design

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  2. I love the sentiment here, but you might be stepping into zealot territory. If this is true > “If you are going to build something in a medium then use that medium”, then why would you do this > “Sketch out some approaches”. You’re not building for paper right? Or whiteboard. What if the product won’t ultimately use the framework you’re comfortable prototyping in … should that factor into the equation too?

    Axure can be a PITA, but it has it’s own strengths if you don’t let it bog you down. One of the most important things about prototyping is forget about re-usability. When you go down that road, you start wasting time on engineering rather than experimenting. Just use whatever tool works best for you (a framework, Axure, paper, Keynote, popsicle sticks) and go get some data.

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