So, what is a design sprint?

Harry Smith

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A design sprint is a five-day process developed by GV (Google Ventures). It’s a whirlwind of brainstorming, creating and challenging. The objective is to find, vote on and develop great ideas that will drive forward your business using tried and tested tasks.

 

However, we can’t take the credit for this (unfortunately) as we’ve already said they were created by GV, and used by practically every agency in the creative industry. But we do ours slightly different, we drop the last two days (Google runs a five-day sprint but we only run ours as three days).

 

The design sprint focuses on design, like things such as user experience (UX), user interfaces (UI), key feature sets and more. It is also worth mentioning that the focus of this blog will be design sprints for App Development, so if you do something else, results may vary.

The 3-day Design Sprint

Day one

 

This is where the fundamental work gets done. This first day is all about understanding what you want to achieve, what could cause your idea to failure and who your target market is – establishing the digital strategy for your project. Although it may seem like a waste of time as you’ve probably figured these out beforehand, bets are, you’ll find you have a few lightbulb moments. During the design sprints, gold ideas can come from anything, so don’t discriminate!

 

You’ll want to decide where to focus your efforts too, to do this you’ll create a bunch of HMW (how might we’s). Then you’ll try and group the HMW’s into categories or groups e.g. On-boarding or Systems etc. Once you’ve grouped them, you’ll vote on which categories are the most important, once this is done, that particular category or categories will be the centre of your focus for the next few days. Everything you do will be focused towards those given categories. 

 

The best way to summarise this day is by comparing it to pizza dough. It’s the least exciting part of a pizza, but it’s actually what makes or breaks it. Get the dough wrong and you’ve offended an entire country. Don’t believe us? Ask our front end dev, Marco (he’s Italian…obviously).

 

Chelsea Apps How might we's from day one of a design sprint

Day Two

 

This is where the fun starts and you can get creative and sketch out crazy ideas (literally, they’re called crazy 8’s). During this day, you will sketch out roughly 8-16 ideas, around pre-selected categories from day one with the aim of 2-3 of those sketches being valuable. 

 

An example could be that on day one you decided to concentrate on your onboarding process, and during these exercises, you create three alternative designs for the on-boarding. Sounds too simple? That’s because it is. The difficult part is combining everyone’s best ideas into a prototype which can be tested by real users.

Chelsea Apps Solution sketches from day two of a design sprint

Day Three

 

The first thing you’ll do on Day Three is vote on the solution sketches from the previous day, the client always gets more voting power. This is a great exercise because it allows you to see, as a collective, which ideas are actually worth proceeding with and developing into a prototype. Once again, at this stage you’ll be thinking about which solution sketch most benefits your feature set or focus points, which were decided earlier. 

 

Once you’ve decided on the best solution sketches, you’ll start to create your storyboard. To do this, you’ll create screens (kind of like mini pictures of what that page will look like) and map out the user journey (UX).

 

Okay, that sounds interesting, but what happens after all of that? Great question, what happens next is you develop a functional prototype. This will be made up of all the screens from the sprint and it should be functional, meaning if you click something if should take you somewhere/do something. 

 

The next step after that, before we even start the build phase, is the user testing. This is where you get 5-7 people to test the prototype that you’ve developed. Note: the people testing the prototype should be as close to the target audience that you brainstormed in day one of your design sprint.This gives the most accurate feedback, I mean, there would be no point testing an art-based auction app with someone who has no interest in art. 

Chelsea Apps Screens from the prototyping stage from day three of a design sprint

Finished with all of the above? Congratulations, you’ve now completed your first design sprint (the shortened, Chelsea Apps version that is). Hopefully, you found some value in it, if not, maybe you didn’t do it right. Maybe you need to re-read this blog? Maybe, just maybe, you need us to run it for you? Who knows…