Lean management is something and that make your everyday life better. I recently stumbled on this case study done by young Slovak designer that shows great example of it. When I train Lean, I always tell my students that it is not a management method for factories and banks, but more a way of thinking about objects, systems and its users. Have look how Lean can be used in user experience design.
“Perfection is Achieved Not When There Is Nothing More to Add, But When There Is Nothing Left to Take Away”
Washing machine redesigned
Peter Fabor is a young Slovak UX designer that pointed out and amazing thing: User interface of washing machines is simply user-unfriendly.
I decided to visit the nearest store with electronics. They had about 50 different types. I explained to the shop assistant, that I’d always had problems with user interfaces of washing machines and I wanted to buy something really, really simple. She finally understood and showed me this type. Yes, the simplest type offers 15 special washing programs….
Complicated user interface creates a lot of waste: Waiting for help, searching, wrong decisions leading to destroyed laundry, unnecessary use of mental energy for such a dumb task like washing your clothes.
No settings like speed of rotation and tens of ambiguous programs, icons and buttons you never use. I consider this a perfection.
Simple is difficult to achieve
“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
Lean thinking is simply just removing everything that customer or user does not pay for. It is not just a set of methods for reducing inventory and lead times in banks or factories. It is not a tool with heavy use of statistics and Excel spreadsheets. It is a soft skill, a way of thinking about things, problems in everyday life. Just look at the Lean startup, for example. It is easy to create a complicated system and it is difficult to create simple system that works.
What is your customer paying for?
Next time you start your working day or a project, create a process, an app or a new product, ask yourself these questions: “What are the things the customer/user/employer is paying for? How do I eliminate the rest from what I do?” Let’s make the world more productive, efficient and user friendly place.