Type ESC to close search bar

What is the design sprint?

The sprint is a four-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping and testing ideas with customers. Design sprint mostly applied to the Exploration phase. Friday is usually Education event or Lab projects at Dwarves Design, learning and continuous professional and personal development are in the core of our DNA. No one wants to settle, everyone wants to take the next step forward.

Why a design sprint?

A Design Sprint is an immersive experience where a team collaborates, focuses, and makes progress on a problem using design thinking methods in rapid succession.

The 4 stages

Day 1: Map & Sketch

Finding the right problem to focus on and multiple solutions to address it.

  1. Invite experts from the organization and from the outside to share their knowledge on various aspects of the challenge.
  2. Define the main questions of the Design Sprint as well as the long-term goal of the new venture. Put things into perspective and focus on the main, most important aspect of the problem.
  3. Use Note-and-Vote approach (using post-its) to exclude unnecessary discussions and Together-Alone type of brainstorming that lets everyone put their ideas and opinions on the table. These two approaches are used throughout the Design Sprint and are instrumental for its success.
  4. Map the customer journey (very basic at this point) and choosing the most crucial area of this journey, which will serve as the main focus of the Sprint.
  5. Produce individually multiple sketches that would represent the future solution.

Day 2: Decide & Storyboard

Focusing on choosing one concept and refining it in detail.

  1. Team members use stickers to vote on the parts of each concept they like.
  2. Work on creating a 6-step flow (using post-its) of the customer experience: starting from discovery and ending with a successfully solved problem.
  3. Create one Master Line by clustering the main steps and excluding excessive ones.
  4. Use Master Line to sketch the Storyboard in detail every step of the user journey, including the low-fidelity wire-frames (in case of the digital product) of the solution, the exact copy of the messages and texts, colors, positions of elements, etc.

Day 3: Prototype

Solely dedicated to building the prototype. The team divides this task taking separate roles based on existing skills.

  1. One or two people work with sketching software (we use Sketch/Adobe XD and Invisions) creating the wireframes (Makers), another person searches for design assets such as pictures, photos, backgrounds, logos (Collector),
  2. Third Design Sprint Team member takes responsibility for the messaging and texts (Writer)
  3. And finally a fourth person stitches the whole flow together and performs quality control (Stitcher).
  4. The fifth one is responsible for preparing an interview, from drafting interview questions, developing a screening survey to select only people who represent the target audience, disseminating the call for testers via social media channels or online-boards, arranging time-slots, and checking-in with testers to make sure they will come on time.

Day 4: Test

Dedicated only to the user-tests. These are open-ended qualitative interviews where users will try out the prototype and give their feedback. There are normally from 5 to 8 of such interviews. This might seem not many, however, it’s statistically proven that after the 5th interview the amount of new useful information dramatically declines. During interviews, take notes using post-its. These notes are later gathered and grouped similarly to the User Test Flow in order to bring forward the main analytical conclusions of the Design Sprint.

Setting up the design sprint

Set roles for the sprint

Supplies needed

  1. Post-it Notes
  2. Sharpies
  3. Blank sheets of printer paper
  4. Whiteboard
  5. Whiteboard Marker
  6. Circle vote stickers
  7. Easel Pad

Setup room

The Design Sprint meeting room has to be big enough to fit all the people in the sprint and often has a whiteboard to pin and tape up sketches.

How many is enough?

The exploration phase could take many Sprints as possible until we finalize a suitable solution. In the Detailed Design phase, we still apply the Agile method to implement and user-testing the Final version before handoff to our Client.