Bill Scott leverages his experience as Director of UI Engineering at Netflix and now Sr. Director at PayPal to teach us concepts behind delivering great experiences in the interfaces we build. He applies lean startup principles to UI engineering in order to teach how to develop an effective process, team and lean tech stack to acheive rapid experimentation and learning in the products we build.
Bill is the Senior Director of UI Engineering at PayPal. He's been building interfaces since 1985 and is the author of Designing Web Interfaces.
Lean UI Engineering
Part 1: Building Products
- 0:14:03 - 0:22:17 Bill Scott and PayPal All developers have their own experiences and bring a unique approach toward UX and front-end engineering. Bill describes his journey from his development work in the 1980’s all the way to today. Along the way he learned how to add efficiencies into teams of all sizes.
- 0:22:17 - 0:32:14 Break Down the Walls In a typical organization, walls exist between the product/business team, design team, and engineering team. The product team consists of product managers and business analysts.
- 0:32:15 - 0:43:22 Netflix: Rapid Experimentation A large portion of this course discusses “lean UX”. A lean UX will break down the walls between teams and allow for a more collaborative approach. At Netflix, Bill had a few people possible on each team. The culture was to higher smart, get products out the door as fast as possible and don’t overthink it.
- 0:43:23 - 0:55:12 Lessons Learned Design for volatility. Planning for change can help with code reuse. Developers have to be able to build, test, and learn.
0:55:13 - 1:22:21
Q & A
Q & A discussion around the topics discussed in Part 1. Questions asked by the audience include:
- What are your thoughts on prototyping with pen and paper versus HTML?
- At Netflix, how did you do usability testing?
- What are your thoughts on documentation?
- How do you deal with stakeholders’ fear of change?
- What advice would you give to someone trying to introduce A/B testing?
Part 2: Lean UX
- 1:22:22 - 1:36:05 Lean Manufacturing Lean UX stems from the manufacturing revolution in Japan. It’s the ideal of shrinking batch sizes and the acceleration of cycle times.
- 1:36:06 - 1:47:02 Lean UX Lean UX helps address the issues with the current UX process. Focusing on deliverables instead of experience results in waste. Even in agile development environments, design is often omitted from the process.
- 1:47:03 - 1:58:47 Three Key Principles for Lean UX Shared Understanding – The more understanding the less documentation.
- 1:58:48 - 2:09:40 A Healthy Product Lifecycle Members from each team participate in all phases of the product life cycle starting from discovery and finishing with delivery. This process can still be agile, but unlike a pure agile approach, lean UX focuses on a build/test/learn cycle.
2:09:41 - 2:24:50
Key Lessons from a Lean UX Team
Lean is not necessarily agile. Agile focuses on engineering delivery while lean focuses on learning. See the workshops PDF for more information on agile vs. lean.
2:24:51 - 2:35:57
Spotify has adopted many of the lean UX ideas. Spotify uses squads which are similar to a scrum team, but feel more like a lean startup. Tribes are a collection of squads that work in a related area. Chapters and guilds represent horizontal practices within or across tribes.
- The Lean UX Advocate: http://www.jeffgothelf.com/blog
- Lean UX article: http://uxdesign.smashing.com/2011/03/07/lean-ux-getting-out-of-the-deliverables-business/
- Principle of Shared Understanding: http://52weeksofux.com/post/2403607066/building-a-shared-understanding
2:35:58 - 2:50:53
Q&A and wrap-up discussion, continued
Additional questions and discussions about the lean UX techniques discussed in Part 2
- What’s the best way to validate or quantify customer feedback?
- What brought Netflix to the prominent position it owns today?
Part 3: Lean Tech Stack
- 2:50:54 - 3:00:43 The Way it Was Bill begins with a brief overview of his journey through software development. He was building games in 1985. Developing a UI was very difficult.
- 3:00:44 - 3:07:20 Using Open Source at PayPal PayPal is using technologies like Twitter Bootstrap and Backbone.js. Using an internal Github revolutionized their internal platform. Every developer is encouraged to experiment and generate repos.
- 3:07:21 - 3:13:47 Portable UI Frameworks A portable UI can be delivered continuously and run on either the client or server. Their lean UI stack is a combination of Node.js (for prototyping) and Sparta 2.3 (for production).
- 3:13:48 - 3:27:00 Implementing the Portable UI Implementing a portable UI across two different systems is the tricky part. Bill continues his PayPal example and describes how the two stacks were unified.
3:27:01 - 3:38:33
The first thing to remember is prototypes are not one-size-fits-all. Paper prototypes or a white board might be the right answer. However HTML is also great for prototyping. Using frameworks like Twitter Bootstrap maintain the right fidelity and create a fast, good-looking UI.
- List of prototyping tools: http://bit.ly/SfWygk
3:53:17 - 4:02:40
UI Architecture Concerns
Which is better: client side or server side? It depends. For a page-to-page interaction, server side is typically better. Client side is best for an app or single-page design. Twitter is a good example of this argument.
- 4:02:41 - 4:10:34 Responsive Web Design vs. Responsive Server Side When creating an omni-channel experience, RWD is implemented with CSS media queries and made to adapt. The downside is the potential for too large a payload on devices.
4:10:35 - 4:23:49
Q&A Discussion for Part 3
Questions asked during the Part 3 Q&A session:
- Is your mock data hard-coded or pulled dynamically from somewhere?
- How can you take a responsive server-side mentality when rebuilding a desktop application?
- For responsive web application, are you including anything like jQuery Mobile?
Part 4: Anti-Patterns
- 4:23:50 - 4:32:01 Anti-Patterns 1-3 Bill defines many different anti-patterns in lean UX and how to avoid them. You can avoid the Genius Designer by keeping their inspiration but focusing on your minimal viable product.
- 4:32:02 - 4:40:23 Anti-Patterns 4-7 Team members can be Addicted to old/bad habits. New habits must be performed enough to ensure they are internalized.
- 4:40:24 - 4:51:06 Anti-Patterns 8-11 If a developer, product manager, or designer Goes Dark for more than a day or two, collaboration can be crushed. Limit isolation to short periods of time.
- 4:51:07 - 5:01:26 Anti-Patterns 12-14 Lean UX relies on shared understanding. The Tower of Babel arises when knowledge is assumed. Ask clarifying questions to make sure everyone is on the same page.
- 5:01:27 - 5:10:28 Anti-Patterns 15-18 At trap easy for a designer to fall into is the Perfectionist. Iteration will help; so will a collaborative approach.
5:10:29 - 5:22:16
Final Q&A and Wrap-up
Bill wraps up his presentation and fields questions from the audience.
- Steve Jobs was very combative in his approach. Can you contrast this mentality with lean UX?
- How do you handle version control? How would you like to handle version control?
- Do you have any tips for deployment?