The Lean UX Canvas is the best way to pick the UX activities with the highest impact. In this easy step-by-step guide we look at how to fill one.

How to use the Lean UX Canvas for higher impact


Using the Lean UX Canvas is the best way to pick the activities (or tests) with the greatest impact and the lowest cost.

The Lean UX Canvas – created by the UX consultant Jeff Gothelf – is a practical guide to steer UX from both a business and user perspective. It helps to strategize, prioritize and create hypotheses to validate via research.

The result is to minimize costs and make deliverables more realistic.


Here we look in detail at how to use the lean UX canvas.


Source: jeffgothelf.com


What to keep in mind

  • Both business outcomes and users’ needs are part of the equation when you use the lean UX canvas. Makes sure they have the same order of priority.
  • The lean UX canvas helps reflect on the “knowns” and “unknowns” of your business. Unknowns have to be validated before you can continue.
  • The goal of the tool is to create alignment and a sense of purpose for the whole team.



How to use the Lean UX Canvas


Box 1 – Business problem statement
The starting point. What is your business problem? What do you want to change to create an impact? Think big.

You’re looking for something with an impact on your business. Something you’d put on the slides where you present your quarterly goals. Not “I want to add a call-to-action” to my website. To give an example of something I’ve been testing recently, my goal was “I want to craft a business proposition for Design Accelerator that resonates with my audience”. This, since I approach every part of my business as a lean experiment, so also the creation of the business proposition.


Box 2 – Business outcomes
A measurable business goal related to the change you want to see. Make this goal SMART. The metric you measure can be related to users, but it needs to have a direct impact on your business.

To stay with my example, the metric I had was “A clear proposition will duplicate the qualified inbound leads I get each month”. Surely, it also has other effects, but this is the main thing I’m testing to know if the experiment is successful.


Box 3 – Users
This box is meant to define who will use and buy your product. I’ve been writing extensively about personas (you can find the full article here).

In my case, I know the ones who benefit the most from a collaboration with Design Accelerator are “founders, usually CEOs and CTOs of scaling startups that have a digital product. They usually don’t have a UX team inhouse and they have a product for which they want to create a version 2.0”.


Box 4 – User outcomes and benefits
How would users benefit from the change you want to introduce?

In the case I’m discussing, for example, a sharper proposition leads users to spend less time assessing if Design Accelerator is the right choice for them. It also allows them to understand clearly the value delivered by a cooperation and if this value fits their business needs.


Box 5 – Solutions
According to the ideator of the lean UX Canvas, this is the box that can change the most in scope. The label is “solution”, but this can also be a feature or just an enhancement. So the change can be as big or small as it fits the needs.

In my case, since I’m not creating something new, the solution is a better way to communicate my value proposition.


Box 6 – Hypotheses
The hypothesis combines the elements you just defined to create a clear connection between the why, the what and the how.

The hypothesis can be more than one.

In the case I mention, “I believe that twice as many people in my target group will enter in contact with me if I communicate a sharper business proposition that they can clearly understand”.


Box 7 – What’s the most important thing we need to learn first?
This box of the lean UX canvas is about risk and impact. What’s currently the highest risk for your test? The thing that can validate or invalidate all the rest?

When I started testing, my main question was “what do startup founders look for when they decide to improve the user experience of their products?”. Sure, I have my personal experience, but what about the others?

Not knowing exactly what startup founders look for in UX is the first thing I had to learn.
Other issues (that I’m still working at) are “what do they really expect when they think of UX?”. You may be surprised by how many misconceptions there are, but that’s for another post. 🙂


Box 8 – What’s the least amount of work to learn the next most important thing?
This is about the real experiment design. How do you test your assumption?
It’s good to always remind ourselves that a new design is not always the way. Especially when you have to learn something new, there’s a lot to gain in qualitative interviews.

This was my case as well. I could have driven some traffic to two different landing pages with different messages. One would have probably converted better. But what would have I learned?

I decided that the best way to go for me was to start interviewing 5 people that match my users’ profile. From the interviews I wanted to learn why they decide to improve the UX of their product and what this means to them.



After filling the Lean UX Canvas


Now let’s start experimenting and validate the ideas we put on the canvas.
The lean UX canvas is to be used as a dynamic tool. It is to be constantly refined with new “knowns” and updated with “unknowns” we find out.

The goal is to learn and to find out what works and what doesn’t about your business ideas.

If, like me, you approach any business question as a lean experiment, then you shouldn’t limit the lean UX canvas only to the product. Get creative, and experiment with every side of your product or business!

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