Skookum DayShift Design Sprint

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a week long design sprint with Skookum (a strategy, design and development company in Charlotte, NC). Skookum hosts a two-week immersive program called DayShift where they invite anyone with an interest in the field to come and learn about the digital product life cycle. The first week is focused on design and the second week on development. The following is a case study of my experience on the design team during week one of the August 2018 DayShift program.

Skookum put together the DayShift program in order to give people with an interest in design and development the opportunity to learn from industry experts and get hands on experience working on a real project. I was lucky enough to be part of the inaugural DayShift program and since it was the first of its kind, we had a great project to work on: designing the website for the program.

We followed Jake Knapp’s design sprint, which allowed us to define our goal and then work through the process of building our design and then testing our prototype in order to pass on a completed set of requirements to the development team.

Working alongside our mentors at Skookum, we designed a website with the intent to inform the community about DayShift and get them to sign up for future programs.

Day One: Mapping

The first step for our team was to define our goal: To build a website.

After we defined our goal, we discussed the different interview techniques for both users and stakeholders. We then got to experience what a stakeholder interview would look like by observing interviews with a key stakeholder in the project and an expert developer. Both interviews gave the team great insight regarding the requirements and expectations for the project. We took the information we gathered from the interviews and created an affinity map to organize our notes and begin to develop a framework for the website.

Affinity Map

We capped the day off by mapping out the different users of our design, how they would interact with the website and how all of it interconnects. Our main objectives were to make a user friendly site (that was accessible for everyone and anyone) and to get users to sign up.

Day Two: Sketching

The next step in our process was a competitive analysis of similar websites. Each member of the team took turns doing a lightning demo of their research and then we sketched out the big ideas from everyone's presentation.

After our competitive analysis we began to sketch…

We did a round of crazy 8’s to get a wide variety of solutions on paper.

Day 3: Deciding

Once our team had plenty of sketches, we began narrowing down our design through a dot voting process. Each member of our team took time reviewing all of the sketches, research and notes we had gathered and placed a colored dot near things that we considered to have the highest value to the user. Our stakeholder participated as well using an orange dot, which we made sure to give priority to during our evaluation of the voting process.

Dot voting and list of features

After the votes were in, our team looked at outcomes and used a feasibility vs value matrix to determine a list of features.

Once we had our features sorted out, our team divided up the various screens that we decided on and then began to sketch out a refined version of the website.

Based off of this framework, we created a storyboard in order to visualize how a user would interact with the site.


Day 4: Prototyping

Paper Prototype

The prototyping phase began with more sketching and wireframing. We put together a paper prototype (left) and once the team settled on a design, we created a digital version (below) of our prototype so that we could begin user testing and receive feedback from real people interacting with our design.

This step of the design sprint gave a strong visual representation of what the website could look like and brought up some really interesting dialogue within our team about hierarchy and UX.

Digital Prototype

The next step was generating user stories and feature mapping. Our mentors at Skookum gave a great presentation on the importance of user stories and the significance they play in the product development process. We spent the rest of the day creating our own user stories so that the development team would have the instructions they needed to build our design the following week.

Day 5: Testing

With our initial digital prototype completed, we began day 5 by preparing and conducting user testing. Our team created an interview script and then worked together while conducting the tests with one team member facilitating interviewing the test users and the other writing down notes from the feedback.

Our user testing phase was extremely helpful and we were lucky enough to get feedback from the industry experts at Skookum. We took all of our notes from the morning and began to group them together by common themes. From there we were able to identify the key pain points users faced and give priority to the ones that appeared the most during testing.

After seeing what worked and what didn’t work with our prototype, we spent the afternoon revising our design and preparing the final instructions to pass along to the development team in week 2.

Summing up the week

I had an amazing time during week one of the August 2018 DayShift program and I can’t thank Skookum enough for putting together such a great experience. If anyone is interested in participating in a future Dayshift program, I highly recommend it. They don’t require any previous experience, just a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. Everyday we got the chance to hear from people who work at Skookum and learn about all of their different roles and how they interact with each other as a team. I took away a lot of valuable experience from the program and am looking forward to applying what I learned to future projects.

It was great to see how much can be accomplished by participating in a design sprint. While there is still work to be done with our site, the sprint showed how you can come up with solutions to problems within a short period of time by following proven processes.

If anyone is interested in seeing how it all came together after the development week, you can check out the link below for the website: