Imagine: A client comes to you and says they have this idea. It’s a great idea, but they aren’t sure how it will work. They want to create a website or provide a service, but they aren’t familiar with the best practices on UI/UX design and the overall user journey. Maybe, your client already has a website designed, but for whatever reason, they are not getting conversions. Perhaps their website was built years ago, and the design principles and vision have changed since then.
Design sprints can be crucial in identifying problems in the User Experience or User Interface, such as user flow redundancies or website functionality problems, like broken links in these scenarios.
What is a Design Sprint?
A Design Sprint is a 5-day time-constrained process that encourages group brainstorming around a problem to solve. During this process, goals are clearly defined, assumptions are made in terms of journey or functionality, prototyped, then tested for effectiveness. This process allows the team to test different hypotheses, validate or invalidate these assumptions/solutions depending on the goal and target audience in mind, and provide a strategic road map of the team’s journey. This way, teams can strategically address the problem from different perspectives: Mapping, sketching, deciding, prototyping and testing. Sounds easy, right?
To run a design sprint; is not an easy task. It requires dedication, an uninterrupted environment, a knowledgeable, open-minded, and dedicated team, usually five-to-seven people, and a willingness to give the next five days everything they’ve got.
The 5 Step Design Sprint
There are five steps in the Design Sprint: mapping, sketching, deciding, prototype, and testing. Each step has a corresponding day and corresponding team members. It is not necessary to assign roles for every design sprint, but it is necessary to think through the lifecycle of your product or idea from a variety of perspectives.
Mapping – Day 1
Day 1 starts with a series of structured conversations to build a foundation and focus for the sprint. The structure will allow the team to search for as much information to define key questions and long-term goals. It will quite possibly and quickly prevent the usual meandering conversations and ask the team’s expertise to share what they know. Finally, this process of mapping embodies the most significant risk and opportunity to the product.
Sketching All Day – Day 2
On day two, this is all about solving the problem with a deep-dive thinking attitude. Instead of a typical group brainstorm session, every individual will sketch a few detailed solutions, followed by a four-step process that emphasizes critical thinking over artistry. Design/art isn’t the primary goal, but the function of the product is.
Deciding – Day 3
Day 3, the team will have a stack of solutions to go through and decide which one of those sketches should be prototyped and tested.
Instead of debating over the endless watered-down decisions, where nobody’s happy, there is a five-step “strict decision making” method to identify the best solutions or sketches before turning in the final decision. And only then will the winning scenes from the teams’ illustrations be combined into a storyboard: and finally into a prototype.
Prototype – Day 4
Day 4 is finally here, where you get to create a realistic prototype from the storyboard to simulate a finished product for your customers. Sprinting a prototype is about a “faking it till you make it” attitude: and this new realistic-looking prototype is all about getting the best possible data on day five test, and you will learn whether you’re on the right track.
Testing – Day 5
On day 5, once they create the prototype, it’s time to test the product or services. You will need to find five-six customers to show your prototype to. This process is done with five-six separate, 1:1 interviews. The goal is to get crystal clear answers instead of waiting for a launch to collect your most valued data.
A book that you might want to read on Design Sprints is from Author of the New York Times bestsellers and Design Sprint Inventor – Jake Knapp How it Works — The Design Sprint (thesprintbook.com)
What Kinds of Problems Can a Design Sprint Solve?
Design Sprints can solve many problems. It is not limited to a new product or redesigning a specific feature or flow to the existing products by improving the processes or redefining a brand/rebranding.
A run-through design sprint will allow the team to take a fresh look at a wide range of possibilities, discover and prioritize different and innovative solutions to a problem in a fast-tracked way. When possibilities seem too wide to move forward, a sprint can help prioritize and test out what one of the directions might look like “in action.”
Five Tips on How to Run a Successful Design Sprint
If you are running a design sprint for yourself or a client, remember that it’s the process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing. Sprints answer questions, define a product direction, build team culture (who would have thought?), and figure out their strategy.
Whether it is the first time, you are running a sprint or the 100th time. There are some pointers and questions to consider. The UX Collective has provided 5 tips on how to run a successful Design Sprint.
- The first question to ask: Do you need a Design Sprint at all?
- Focus on the “What” and “Who.”
- Always, always do research.
- Find a partner.
- Don’t focus too much on the result.
Additionally, design sprints can be used for a start-up product journey or a company that doesn’t know how and where to start. A Design Sprint allows companies to answer fundamental questions about their product such as:
- The actual cost of the product
- the time frame it takes from design to launch date
- How the product should function at a basic level
- What your target audience thinks of your product.
This helps reduce the client’s stress and may even save months of development time and money, with the utmost concentration on reducing the risk of bringing a new product, service, or feature to the market with minimal risk to the client in terms of time and finances.
Here is a few names that have used the Design Sprints, search engine teams at Google have run their own design Sprint and other teams at companies like Slack, Uber, Airbnb, Medium, Dropbox, Facebook, LEGO, the United Nations, the New York Times, and many more have run their own Design Sprints.
At Kingdom Branding, we firmly value creativity and creative approaches to bringing your product to life. Our philosophy is engrafted in this phrase: creativity can be used as a force for good. We exist to solve problems around the world using our creativity. Our vision is to become the go-to creative partner globally, leading client growth through creative strategy and execution.
If you would like to learn more, visit our website and work with us at Kingdom Branding!