My First Sprint
A different week, attacking the creative process another way.
For those who don’t know, the Sprint is a work methodology out of the jaws of Google and is based on Design Thinking. It’s a process that consists of detecting and solving a problem in 5 days. It’s valid for all types of products, whether digital, business or industrial. For more information take a look into this link.
5 days may seem like very little time, but when implementing a Sprint what we do is save time and costs, because if the proposal doesn’t work is discarded, but with the advantage of not having lost several months in the detailed design and production. One of the keys behind Sprints is the concept of “fast mistakes” (since it saves a lot of costs and many annoyances). And if you hit the first, not very usual, but you have always room to improve details, which is called iteration.
In this post, I will tell you about the process and my personal experience with Sprint, well, mine and my team, since for the smooth operation of everything is necessary to be a team of different profiles, ideally, 7 people maximum, and the most important thing is that it involves the different parts of the process: development, business, marketing, design, legal, stakeholder (the owner of the company or the person making decisions), etc.
Our team is formed by a multidisciplinary group of 7 people, we are all UX / UI Design students at Ironhack, but our backgrounds are different. Mar Sierra Guillén digital analist, Yadira Salvador Vélez journalist turned into graphic designer, Itziar San Vicente entrepreneur and advertiser, Antonio Molín graphic designer and artist, Carolina de Juan from turism, Javier Gispert entrepreneur and MBA and me, architect. Joe Lozano was our stakeholder and Sprint guide, as our master of ceremonies.
Let’s summarize what it’s about the Sprint week.
Day 1: Empathize with existing problems and choose one to tackle it.
Day 2: Ideate possible solutions (phase of divergence)
Day 3: Define the best solution to the problem (convergence phase)
Day 4: Prototype to simulate a real experience.
Day 5: Test with real users.
After the introduction we can already get involved with the project we are facing, Bloombox. A florist website that offers custom boxes with flowers. They have 3 sizes of boxes and you can customize the message, the color, and the type of flowers. According to the data we have, our challenges are online sales, mobile traffic and a high dropout rate in the shopping cart.
Bloombox is a young company, which wants the customer to be at the center of the experience and its competitors are more traditional. Our goal is to improve the shopping experience and make it simple, fresh and fun like their boxes. It’s very important to always keep in mind the goal so as not to lose perspective.
Once the introduction is made … we will see the every day progress until the final result is achieved.
Day 1: Empathy
First we must know our project, so it’s important to analyze the page in depth, the section “about us” can provide us with very valuable information. We also review the available information from surveys and interviews carefully, the objective is to detect patterns of behavior of users, which will lead us to detect the main problems, also called pain points.
We formulate assumptions that we will have to validate throughout the week.
One of the peculiarities of a Sprint is the individual work, it may seem a contradiction with what I have already told you of the work groups, but in the Sprint, we always work individually and then we get the information in common, thus the ideas and opinions of each one aren’t “polluted” by others, and personal charm doesn’t have as much weight.
We ask the following questions:
What is sold here?
What is the brand experience?
What options are there?
Does it express quality?
Do I feel advised?
Can something go wrong?
How is the shipment? Insurance? Punctual?
To understand the path of a user on the web page and to see those pain points, we make a journey map with the actors (the possible users), their steps and their objective in the page. For example:
The one who wants flowers > do a search on google > go to bloombox > compare with more webs > go back to bloombox > customize his box> BUY the flowers.
And we elaborate questions based on the following structure, the main objective is to turn the problems detected into design opportunities:
How can we offer predefined and customizable options?
How can we see the final product as we choose?
How can we make the product look the same on the web as in reality?
How can we ensure quality and durability?
How can we advise the user?
How can we provide the form?
How can we make it not a generic product?
How can we enter the color search?
How can we eliminate frustration?
Day 2: Ideation
The lighting demo is a technique based on looking for references from the same industry, and also from others completely different. It’s essential to have good references, that is, to copy from the good.
In our group we take as references:
For the FAQ> evernote
For customization> mission bicycle / vans / wolverine / lauds video
For the Others> Floraqueen
With these references in mind, and working first individually and then groupal, we draw from 10 to 20 ideas per group representing the ideas that could solve the questions asked the day before. We use low fidelity wireframes, this is, handmaid representation of the web screens enough to tell our ideas graphically. The ideal is to get ideas out of other ideas and draw as many screens as possible to decide the optimal solution later.
Among these ideas we have:
View the actual product
See the final result as we go on customizing
Counseling via advice, comparison, information …
Extra information (allergies, durability …)
Some predefined options for those who don’t want to choose much, and also customizables.
The most important thing today is to get many possibilities, that is to say, divert to the top, and for that, we use crazy 8. This technique consists of drawing 8 different ideas in 8 minutes for solving one problem. Firstly individually and then in common.
Day 3: Decide
The goal of day 3 is to converge, this is to decide one solution for each problem to tackle. To do this, we see the possible solutions we reached yesterday, criticize each one of them to see the strengths and weaknesses and finally arriving to a decision.
The important thing is to look for the best idea, not for your idea to win.
And how we do it?
Art Museum. We hang on the wall the best crazy 8 of each one, with a title and brief explanation.
Warm Map. Each team member gives according to their preferences some votes. These votes are materialized in stickers on paper. Then, we decide on the basis of the highest number of votes.
Fast review. We named a facilitator and a writer, the first one has 3 minutes to explain each proposal, and the second one point out the main ideas. If necessary, the author can make some clarification afterwards.
Probe. Each group member chooses 1 idea among all. We will have 1 minute to defend our election against the group.
Supervisor. The stakeholder makes the final decision
Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a user, for which we make a Storyboard that includes the selected ideas.
Day 4: Prototype
The prototype is “Like a movie scenery”, allows the user to react as if it were real but it’sn’t, with little investment. The more time we spend developing an idea, the less open we are to criticism and change, so we have to go from the perfect to the necessary to make a MVP Minimum Viable Product.
A couple of principles must be taken into account:
- You can prototype anything
- Prototypes are disposable
- We must never prototype so much as not to be able to discard the work
- We just have to do enough to learn, no more
- Must seem real
To make the prototype, we divided our 7 people team into smaller groups to take care of each part of the process:
2 makers: those who will make the prototype
1 stapler: it’s responsible for everything to make sense, be consistent and work, is the creative director
1 writer: the one who writes the text to be realistic
2 collectors: they have to choose photos, icons, content, colors, fonts …
1 interviewer: prepare the interview with the user for the next day
We will elaborate the prototype of about, faq and customization screens
Day 5: Test
The ideal is to be able to use 2 cameras, one towards the face of the person interviewed and another towards the screen to have registered everything that does and how it feels.
We arranged 5 users to test the changes for the new web, with 1 hour for each one.
For the interview, we first make a presentation of ourselves and what we will do, the intention is make the user to feel comfortable and understand what is he going to do. He’s asked to perform some actions, such as looking for something , or make a purchase. We carefully observe their behavior against the digital product. We always ask the user to say aloud what is he doing to get more information, and of course, we always take notes, it’s advisable to use different colors depending on whether the opinion is positive (blue), negative (red) or neutral (black), this way we will facilitate the reading and compression of the results afterwards, and we will find patterns easily. I must be clear that the user can answer things we don’t like, but this is good because we will detect new problems.
Tips for a good interview:
- Welcome. You have to make the user feel comfortable
- Ask general and open questions about him and his habits
- Intro of the prototype.
- Detailing tasks. Explain what it will consist the test and what is he going to do.
- Fast collection of prints. Did you like it? How you feel? Suggestions?
- We should always ask permission for everything
- Always ask why? to get more information
- We should not validate our hypothesis by orienting users answers.
Once the interviews are elaborated, the information is classified, and the notes are put together to verify if our hypotheses are good. The pages of faq and about turned out to work quite well but the customization page was a little difficult to understand. From our prototype we obtained the following patterns with details to solve and new ideas to implement in the future:
Small texts, no visual hierarchy, the titles look like buttons, so much text under the box; in the filter could appear images, the order is wrong, the selection filters are understood as a sequence, not as two possibilities to choose; you need some basic instructions, they could be in the titles for the filters with the explanation of the options you have (choose between these two paths …), in addition, there is missing shipping information (expenses, express) and it would be nice to have a summary before purchase; the price should appear bigger and you have to differentiate the button from compare to the one to buy (since there should only be one main button)
Shipping information is confusing; no previously marked option should appear; you must add a link to know when your will arrive and get the customer’s attention outside the questions by converting it into a direct contact or a chat.
The text should be larger and have more leading and values appear with a large headline.
Finally we check if we have met the initial objective and if we have answered the initial questions. Of the 7 questions asked, we have met the following 5:
What is sold here? · What is the experience of this brand? · What options are there? · Do you express quality in product quality? · Can something go wrong?
And we have been pending these for the following Sprint these two:
Do I feel advised? · How is the shipment? Insurance? Punctual?
So keep working to improve … because we must remember that the job of a designer is to turn problems into opportunities!