Lean UX and Our Real-time Fusion of Design and Development

Written by Nick Van Weerdenburg

No contractors. Face-to-face teams in the same office. Integrated design and development. Frequent delivery. Validated UX. The application becomes the core design element. This is how we roll at rangle.io, with an intense real-time fusion of design and development. We haven't been talking about it enough, and I'm embarrassed to admit we've been under-representing our amazing design team on our website... something that we will be fixing in short order.

rangle.io is a truly Lean development firm, with an open process and full transparency and integration with our clients. I'm proud to say that in 2015 we will not take on any projects that don't demand iterative design, excellent code and an Agile approach.

So, let's give our design team their due. Our typical engagement follows these steps:

0. Market definition (optional).

This is often confused with UX. A lot of the same tools apply, and they can be joined, but this is the area that requires a lot of heavy lifting and you have to be careful to not mistake it for a waterfall spec. It's the validation to start building, and worth the investment, but you still need to validate and find your product/market fit.

1. Rapid conceptual UX to get an initial understanding.
2. Interactive prototyping.
3. Lo-res mockups and a few hi-res for overall design.
4. Style Guide.

Steps 1-4 could be a day in truly agile process. Maybe a week. More than two upfront and I get scared (excusing for activity that is really step 0.). It also doesn't all have to be done upfront. Learn something, design the next section, build, learn some more.

5. Kick-ass development.
6. Refine with a pencil unless it's complex. Then go back to 1.
7. Ship or go to 5.

At rangle.io, we have the amazing opportunity to work with a very focused business model - we build HTML5 browser-based mobile and web application using JavaScript and Agile/Lean principles. This allows us to iterate. A lot. And this means we learn a lot. The result is that we have a unique opportunity to push the envelope in fusing design and development is a seamless dance of ideas, psychology, analytics, code, and design. We feel we are doing something truly amazing that we are in a unique position to do, and the feedback from our clients and the market has been amazing.

Subscribe to learn more about our Lean UX initiatives - We will be sharing it all - and consider attending our upcoming Toronto Agile XD meetup. Also be sure to check back to our careers page for design opportunities in the coming weeks.

Tell us your thoughts on Lean UX in the comments below!