Today, I had a wonderful opportunity to be a part of the PMO APP Design Wireframes, held at the Taj, New Delhi. The session was supported and conducted by Google, and we as Google Student Ambassadors got to volunteer and engage with the participants to help them with the designs.
Many people I am sure have doubt as to what a design sprint is suppose to do. I had the same, until today! Well, the concept of design sprint goes back to the life cycle model of a product. What happens in majority of the cases – We start with a “The Next Big What” idea and spend all our energy in prototyping it. It is only after we have completed the product, that we open it for public reviewing. And, here lies the disaster. We share our product with people who don’t share the same passion( or none at all) for the idea . As a naive user, with ample of options at hand, I will not take more than a few seconds to form an opinion about your product and trash it.
Design Sprints are conducted to prevent such disasters. It aims to target the inherit bad design that creeps in, due to lack of user interaction in the initial phases. When at a design sprint, you pick a problem statement, and as a team of developers and observers build a paper sketch of how the product would look with best possible design.
Any Design Sprint at large, goes through the following phases:
0: Team Formation- Put up a team, as diverse as possible. A well balanced team will have developers, designers, marketers and observers.
1: Unpack- This is where the brain storming begins. The team narrows down a specific problem they want to solve today. Then individually they come up with solutions for the problem. This is done to list down a diverse set of feature that can help solve the issue.
2: Sketch- This phase requires you to put your creativity at best. Each members comes up with a 8 screen layout as to how the application would respond at 8 states of the solution. The number of steps vary, but 8 is taken the magic number. Here you give a detailed sketch (yes, with pen and paper), implementing the features of Step 1. The sketch requires you focus on how the application can be made as seamless and interactive as possible.
3: Decide- After you have individually prepared “your version” of the solution, you come together , and vote for each feature from the individual versions. At each step the observers (both internal and external) act as perceptive users and share their views as to which design option best suits them (whether it should be a drop down or a tile, or a bar graph or pie.)
4: Prototype- Once the features have been voted, the team prepares the final sketch incorporating the most liked features and again prepare another 8 screen layout. This works as a blueprint for their implementation phase.
By following the Design Sprint methodology, we bring the “user first”. We receive diverse reviews from people of all ages and background, and that helps us better understand the customer needs and expectations.
These days, user experience has gone beyond the color and font style. It targets the very emotional psychology of the user, to unto connect with him and make him feel at home. And Design Sprints, help reach out for the same. You get the ” hard work” done, without going the ” hard hitting” way.
Did I forget to mention, the food at Taj was awesome 😉