A User eXperience Concept in Three Days

In the last three days I was leading a Design Sprint workshop with clients. This effort is rated high-priority in the company, thus they allocated an excellent team of 15 designers, engineers and users’ representatives (who are also SMEs — subject matter experts). Together we are working a on that huge and complex system. The sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. We are now at the end of the third day, and we feel we already have a UX concept for the product — a decision was made!

We went through the stages of “understand”, “define”, “diverge” and “decide”. We had a day-and-a-half long learning session that was concluded with a simulation game (led by the team of SMEs) in which engineers and designers played the role of users. By the end of this phase we had a large amount of “how might we”s notes that we arranged by affinity and then voted on. We played the “games” of crazy 8 sketches, and crazy 1 sketch, that challenged each team member to think about how all those ideas can be arranged into a reasonable user interface. Then, we split into two heterogeneous groups. Each group analyzed the design space, we defined earlier, and came up with a navigation concept and basic screen sketches. After working in two groups for about a day long, we regathered the team for consolidation. Apparently, the problem space was well-defined, as it was clear at that point, that the two groups came up with — not similar — but complementary ideas. Soon enough, we could agree on the main navigation model and on the functions and components of the main screens. We have a User eXperience concept!

The system is huge and full of functions, and it’s really meaningful for its users. Both engineers and designers still need to get a lot of work done, in order to feel that they are coming up with the right solution. We are taking a few days off of the workshop now, and each team is about to dive into a deeper level of details. In just a few days we will get together again to refine our prototype and to validate it. The vibrations within the team are good and we feel optimistic!