The Next Step In Lean Methodology: MVUX

The Lean Startup Methodology is a core concept of the business world. Any idea seeking to gain traction should adopt the principles and adhere to the methodology. It has shown to be very valuable through extensive examples and application.

One of the core principles of Lean Methodology is failing fast. The idea is to publish a minimum viable product (MVP) that will engage users and provide valuable data for the company to use as it grows.

But what if you only have the budget to fail less than once? This is where the next step in the evolutionary process originates. It is called minimum viable user experience (MVUX).

I spoke with Jono Young (pronounced "John-o") recently. He told me he came up with the idea of MVUX over his 18 year career as a designer. He found that apps fail not because of coding or developmental issues. They fail because they don't deliver a great user experience.  He asked me "Instead of failing fast, what if we could succeed faster?"

The Four C's

A tremendous amount of data has been created from the extensive use of Agile design methodology. That data has resulted in a better understanding of what types of people use a particular app. These users fall into one of four categories.

The four groups of users are Confused, Curious, Convinced, and Continuing. Each has its own specific characteristics, and anyone using your app can be in any one of The Four C's at any given time. This is not a firm continuum. A user may come in convinced about your idea and product, and you need to get him to become a continuing user.  

Jono made a point of telling me that each group is just as important as all the others. The idea is to move as many people from Confused into Continuing as possible and keep them there. The gateway from one group two another is found in asking whether or not you can give people the three things everyone needs.

Should I design it?

Everyone wants more time in their life to do what matters most. Everyone wants to feel good about what they are doing. Everyone could use a little more money. If your idea can do one of these things you may have something on your hands. If you can provide two or three you should move forward with the design phase.

Design is the focus here. Leading with design and then adding the functionality after the user experience has been defined is why this is the next step in the evolution of a Lean or Agile Methodology. Time, money, and hard feelings between team members can be saved in the development process when the coders know what the end needs to look like.  


Putting a number on user experience is hard. It's still necessary in order to move forward with a prototype and testing. At this point in our conversation, Jono made it clear to me there is some confusion out there he wanted to clear up.

User interface (UI) is something you design. People spend time coding and developing the method by which users move through an app or website. This is very different from User experience (UX). UX is something you can measure.

For example, measuring the time it takes for a user to get from the loading screen to their target is an important factor in the user perception of your app. Depending on which group they belong, it can also be factor in determining if your design is moving them out of that group and into the next.

Jono recently launched WePiphany, where he is blogging and writing several books covering MVUX and many other concepts he uses everyday as a designer. Jono is looking for input and feedback from other designers, so be sure to drop by his website and sign up for WeMail.


My Personal Thoughts

It was a privilege to speak with Jono. Getting it to happen was a chore because of some bandwidth issues I addressed on Twitter along with coordinating our schedules due to coastal time zone differences. Going forward, there is much more to discover about this idea. I recorded my conversation with Jono. I will be adding that video when I upgrade my site. 

I will also add depth to this piece once I get the video upgraded. Jono and I dove into some really interesting concepts that I will be implementing in my growth as a writer.

Until then, go to his site. Check out Browse the site and take a look at his plans for the future. He told me he plans to write several books on design and implementation of his philosophy. He will be asking for feedback on what he should focus on next. Connect with him on Twitter