How we tested Humble Bee with less than $100 in just 5 days
In just five days, our team went from zero to a high-fidelity prototype that we tested in front of real customers.
In just five days, we learned what works with our product, what doesn’t work with our product, and identified key next steps.
We did all of this without any wasted development time and by spending less than $100 in total.
Sound to good to be true?
A Design Sprint is a five-day process created by Google Ventures to quickly and effectively answer critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing with customers.
Here’s how we used a Design Sprint at Humble Bee and the lessons we learned from it.
Day 1: Start at the end
Our Design Sprint was composed of 4 team members:
- Lucho: the Facilitator
- Jun (that’s me): the Decider
- Edwar: joined part-time as he has a full-time job
As the Facilitator, Lucho lead the entire Design Sprint from start to finish.
Set a long-term goal
We initially started out with a very specific, quantifiable long-term goal:
Get 100,000 downloads and achieve a K-factor greater than 1
However, after reading through the examples in the Design Sprint Book, we decided to modify the goal to encompass broader long-term company values:
List sprint questions
We then moved to list all of the reasons we may fail to achieve our long-term goal. Because we had very limited whiteboard space, we decided to use sticky notes and place them on the wall.
The key doubts we identified were the following:
- Awareness: how will families learn about Humble Bee?
- Role models: do families see artists as appropriate role models?
- Fun factor: how can we make our stories fun and lovable?
Make a map
We listed our key players on the left and identified the completed goal to the right.
Ask the experts
We spoke with 4 people for our expert interviews:
- Maria: elementary school teacher
- Ricardo: children’s game developer
- Edwar: iPhone app developer
- Kim: children’s development counselor
How Might We
From our expert interviews, we noted the following “How Might We’s”:
We chose the following “How Might We” categories as the most important:
- Lovable: how might we make Humble Bee lovable for families?
- Testing: how might we test the story before launching it?
- Believability: how might we make children believe they can accomplish what the characters in the story have accomplished?
- Read aloud: how might we make it easy for parents to read the story out loud to their children?
Pick a target
The last task of Day 1 was to pick a target:
We chose to target the following:
- Reading the story
- Sharing the app
Time to get some tacos
Day 1 was a big day. It really sets the stage for how the rest of the Design Sprint would go.
After making some important decisions, we ended the day in the best way possible: with tacos.
Day 2: Sketch
Day 2 of a Design Sprint lays out all of the options and concepts for what the team may choose to prototype on Thursday.
We started the day by demoing our favorite solutions from various apps and products so that we could get inspired.
- Two Dots: we highlighted the game mechanics and the interactive map that made the iPhone game social
- Threes: we highlighted the no-friction-on-boarding, merchandise page, and the credits page to showcase transparency with the company, team, and mission
- Tocaband: wow, what an awesome music app. We loved that it was interactive, easy-to-use, and engages the creativity of the player
- Nick Jr: we highlighted the disclaimer for parents and the UI that made it easy for children to navigate
The Four-Step Sketch
After drawing inspiration from great apps, we jumped into an intense creative sketching process to ideate solutions for our objective. While all previous steps were meant to help us ideate and identify opportunities, this part is about developing solutions and putting them on paper.
This part was fun and incredibly intense. As part of the Four-Step Sketch process, we did an exercise called Crazy 8’s: in just 8 minutes, we drew 8 different sketches to further develop our ideas.
At the end of Tuesday, we turned in our final solution sketches face down and called it a day. We didn’t review any of the sketches on purpose to allow our minds to cool down and look at them the next day with fresh eyes.
Day 3: Decide
Wednesday was the day to make a decision about what we would prototype.
Group think, presentations, and debates are very difficult ways to identify the best solution because decisions can be influenced by many factors: a person may be a really good presenter, a team member may be shy and not want to verbally bring up objections, team members may gravitate to the CEO for his or her approval.
I believe the Design Sprint methodology has a very strong approach to making important group decisions.
We chose to go with two ideas:
- Planets Lobby: each character in Humble Bee has their own planet (similar to The Little Prince). To read the story, the child has to enter the planet of the character.
- DJ Bonus Game: after reading the story, the DJ Bonus Game is unlocked, allowing the child to make music through the app.
Once we identified the solutions that we would prototype, we moved to create a storyboard to plan the prototype in detail.
With our storyboard finalized, we were set to tackle a full day of prototyping on Thursday.
Day 4: Frantic Prototyping
Thursday was the most intense day of all. I don’t know how in the world Google Ventures prototypes in under 4 hours. I’ve been in 3 Design Sprints thus far and each time we’ve had to prototype until the late hours of the evening.
How late? We stayed up until 1am to finish the prototype.
But it was definitely worth it. Here are some highlights from our day of prototyping:
Day 5: The Interviews
Friday was the big day, the day we tested our prototype with 5 families.
What we learned
So many things! Here is just a small sample of our important learnings:
- Parents loves the mission of our company
- Parents and children loved the concept of “planets”
- We need to push up our target age range to 4–7 year olds
- Our rhyming needs to improve
- We need to improve character and story development
- Kids lose attention 3/4 of the way through the story
- Parents enjoyed explaining new and difficult words to their children
- Kids absolutely love hitting buttons
- Kids gravitate towards games
- Kids love finding and collecting items
- Kids (even as young as 2) are completely comfortable with the native iPad gestures like swiping
- Thank you to our experts Maria, Ricardo, Edwar, and Kim for giving us some incredible feedback
- Thank you to our interviewers Dana & Kaz, Jennifer and Thelo, Tania & Azul, Wissam & Braden, and Rebecca & Max: you helped us discover how we need to improve
- Thank you to GV for creating the Design Sprint methodology. I hope that you love this case study
- Thank you to Alysa, Adriana, Maria, and Kim for your patience and support
- Thank you to Lucho, Wilbur, and Edwar for a successful Design Sprint
Hey Jake Knapp, we would love to submit this as a Sprint Story!