A Google Design Sprint with the Women Techmakers
- What I Learned at the Google Women Techmakers Summit in Cambridge
- Best of Women Techmakers: Google Design Sprint
- Best of Women Techmakers: Speakers and Panelists
The Google Design Sprint
The Design Sprint is a five-day process created by Google Venture’s Jake Knapp. It explores business strategy, innovation, behaviour science, and design thinking through designing, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. For the Women Techmakers Summit, the design sprint tasked us to think about new form factors such as Android Wear.
Participants got a taste of the process in a two hour period. During the process, we learned about Android Wear, user-centered design, brainstorming, and prototyping.
We applied these skills in a group of 4–5 people to create a paper prototype for a specific user persona. Each table was given a different persona, so solutions varied across the room.
What I learned
Some new things I learned about Android Wear:
- It has a simple interface, where things aren’t just converted from the phone screen to the watch screen.
- A watch allows you to stay in the moment as you receive information on a specific situation and context.
- The focus is on micro transactions, where users speak to the watch to launch programs, make quick glances to receive information, and swipes screens to accomplish tasks.
Additional takeaways from the design sprint process:
- Focus on the user, and all else will follow. Personas allow you to focus on a user, rather than building for millions whose interests differ from each other.
- Design thinking comes from IDEO and focuses on brainstorming in groups. The design sprint comes from Google and focuses on brainstorming individually first, then coming together as a group to discuss.
- Using “How might we…” helps frame your thinking when coming up with ideas for your solution.
- When initially brainstorming, avoid critical thinking and think big! Use “Yes, and!” when brainstorming as a group. No idea is wrong; you build and feed off each other’s ideas.
- Decide on an idea that has the potential to be a reality. Focus on technical complexity and user value.
- Prototyping is quick. The goal is to fail quickly and generate feedback.
- Think about key situations or moments (screen interface, user interactions, use cases) where the user might use your product. Then create a flow of how the user gets there and what happens after that.
- Validate this idea by sharing with others. Then repeat the cycle.
With this new framework to use and inspiration to teach design, I modified Google’s slides and created my own to teach at the Canadian Undergraduate Computer Science Conference the ACM Canadian Celebration of Women in Computing.
I am hoping to extend this and try to condense Google Ventures’ Product Design Sprint to a short workshop. Please send feedback on my current slide deck or let me know what you think in the comments section.
Note: This was originally posted on my website a few years ago. It has been edited to add additional links.
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