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Presenting Lean UX to the UK web management community at IWMW

Last month I had the honour of giving the opening plenary presentation at IWMW 2016, the UK Higher Education web professionals’ conference, in Liverpool. My topic was Lean UX, or as i expressed it, why requirements are hypotheses. Video and slides are now available.

Neil Allison presenting a slide with a giant lightbulb on it

My lightbulb moment while presenting at the IWMW 2016 conference (Image by @planetclaire)

The IWMW conference series has been running 20 years now, so it’s well established in the sector and each year attracts up to 200 delegates from across the country.

Lean UX: Requirements are hypotheses

My presentation was an introduction to the concepts of Lean UX, borrowing heavily from the work of Jeff Gothelf and Tomer Sharon, with a couple of case studies about how I’ve put it into practice at the Website Programme.

It was very well received, with lots of follow up questions and chats with delegates through the remainder of the 3 day conference. One of the conversations is leading up to a rerun with some associated training for another institution.


As with most of my more significant and general interest presentations, I’ve hosted it on SlideShare.

Watch IWMW 2016 conference videos on You Tube

Transcript (of sorts)

A significant proportion of the talk was based on one I’d given earlier in the year at the Web Publishers Community which I then wrote up as a blog post. So if you don’t have time for slides and video, you can pick up all the key points from this (although the case studies have been updated since).

My Lean UX blog post from February 2016

Write ups and feedback

There have been a number of write ups since the conference, and it’s nice to see that my presentation has prompted reflection and new thinking among web teams across UK universities.

Kevin Mears (@mearso) from Cardiff University was once again busy producing sketchnotes and I’m very honoured and grateful for the work he did on my session.

Notes and doodles summarising my Lean UX talk

Kevin Mears (@mearso) produced this fantastic sketch note of my talk. Source:


Check out more of Kevin’s work on his personal website:


You can read what delegates thought on Twitter via the hashtags #iwmw16 #p1.

Read Twitter comments about my talk

I’ve also taken a screengrab of the majority of the tweets…

Screengrab of twitter feed for #iwmw16 #p1

Twitter feed of live feedback from attendees on my talk using the hashtags #iwmw16 #p1. Click image to view full list.

Conference survey feedback (updated 8 September)

A quick addition to this post, as I received feedback from the conference organisers who have collated their survey results…

32.4% rated your talk as excellent, 56.8% as very good and 10.8% as good of the 37 responses received for your talk. The average rating was 4.22.

Brian Kelly, IWMW Conference Organiser

The following comments were given:

  • Really useful stuff! Lots that was applicable to our situation.
  • I think it was a good way of introducing Lean UX and how the principles can be applied to a lot of situations/projects and not just strictly what people would view as UX.
  • ‘Requirements are hypotheses’ is a great way of putting it.
  • Useful, good presenter.
  • Neil Allison’s talks are often very valuable, bringing a much needed UX perspective that is sometimes missing from HE web managers’ thinking. There was a danger that this talk would cover the same ground as some of his previous talks, but this was largely avoided.
  • I always enjoy Neil’s talks. He has a gentle, laid-back approach which I find soothing and enjoyable. Some useful insights, thank you.
  • How it should be done – memorable slides
  • This was really helpful in identifying very useful approaches to gathering requirements. I really like ‘requirements are assumptions’!
  • Plenty to go away and do – which I like

Get in touch

Let me know what you think of the presentation and concepts. I’d love to receive your comments below.

If you want to begin to change the way you think and work with colleagues on website and software development, get in touch directly if you think I could help.

Neil Allison’s profile and contact details

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