Design Sprint for the IND

Renate Verstappen
Published in
5 min readJul 27, 2019


The communications department of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) wanted to improve their website for a long time already. However, a job like that can be one of those big and complicated things you keep putting off. A Design Sprint is a great way to fix that! Read why below.

Design Sprint goodies

So how did we do this for the IND?

You just choose a week, gather a team and start! After that week you have made a working prototype and tested it with real clients. The redesign of your website is born and a project that usually takes months is kicked off in just 5 days.

Ok, you do have to prepare a little. So add a few days to the 5 days of work.

It is important to choose a challenge that fits in a week but is also big enough to make real impact. A complete redesign for the would be too much so we chose 1 target audience with 1 issue:

People who want to apply for a residence permit for their partner from abroad to live together in The Netherlands.

Next to the challenge, you also need to gather the right group of people for your Design Sprint team. The team should not be too big (+- 8 people) and should consist of different skillsets. We had a communications advisor, an editor, a customer expert, a UX researcher and a designer.

Day 1: Map out the problem

On day 1 we started to explore the problem we wanted to solve. We chose a long term goal and defined the target of the week.

How can we improve the findability and comprehensibility of the information for people that want to live together in The Netherlands with their foreign partners?

During this day the whole team got on the same page. Experts were invited to share their knowledge on the issue and we made sure the team had all relevant info. We already did interviews and made persona’s before we started the Design Sprint. It is recommendable to do so, but not always necessary.

Day 2: Sketching solutions

After we completely understood the challenge, the team started to get ideas. Of course there were already some existing ideas and because of the knowledge sharing of yesterday there were even more. Time to sketch! And no, you don’t have to be an artist to sketch ideas. If you are able to draw a square, a circle and some lines you come a long way.

Day 3: Choosing a solution

Meanwhile the room was packed with sketches and ideas. It was time to vote. In a Design Sprint it is important to point out a Decider, that can be a manager or someone else who can make autonomous decisions. Everyone can vote but the Decider is the one who makes the final decision. He can go with the majority or pick another idea. That’s not democratic but is it decisive and helps the team to move on.

The Decider of the IND chose 3 small ideas that we merged into one:

  • The income checker: a short wizard with questions that checks if you earn enough to meet the income requirements. Before there was a big textual page with all the rules and exceptions spread out in which it is hard to find the rules that apply to a clients personal situation. The wizard is supposed to make this a lot easier.
  • An explanatory video: We knew a lot of people are looking on the website while they are in their orientation phase. They want to know which documents they need and what the requirements there are before they start the actual process of applying. Therefore we wanted to make a video that would explain the preparation steps in a few minutes.
  • A redesign for the “partner to The Netherlands” page. An overview page that explains everything for the user story: “My foreign partner wants to live with me in The Netherlands” On this page we could also display the income checker and the video.

Day 3: Drawing a storyboard

A part of the IND storyboard

The next step was making a storyboard. This exercise makes you think about the solution in detail in order to really know how it would work. Which content do we need? Where do we need buttons and how is the flow of the information? All of this is drawn out on big poster with different panels. It is the starting point of your prototype.

With the IND we divided tasks around the 3 ideas. One group started to think of the questions for the income checker, which was quite hard because of all the laws and legal text you have to deal with. The next group started to make script for the video and another group designed the overview page. The last group tried to tie it all together.

At the end of the day we had one big poster with a detailed presentation of how the solution should work.

Day 4: Prototype

With the storyboard in place it was a small step to start prototyping. We had a designer and an editor that could quickly transform the storyboard into visual screens. The rest of the team helped collection the right content, rewrite text and shooting the video.

Day 5: Testing with clients

Watching the user test from the other room

Usually this is the 5th day, but with the IND we planned this a little later. We recruited 5 clients that fit the target audience and could test our prototype. We made an interview script to guide the interview. We learned so much from that! The prototype, especially the video, didn’t look very professional yet. We made it with an iPhone and drew images on a whiteboard to go with the voice over. However, most participants didn’t even notice. They had a good understanding of the information after interacting with our prototype, which was great. We found that the income checker needed some adjustments but the overall value of the prototype was good.

In the end we had a tested prototype and we knew exactly what to improve to make it better. The improved prototype was ready to take back to the business to show the value and claim budget for development.

Sounds interesting?

Next to facilitating a Design Sprint we can also deliver a UX designer and UX researcher to add as team members during the sprint. This helps you in making high fidelity prototypes.

Do you want to plan a Design Sprint with your company? E-mail to or first have a look at our website.



Renate Verstappen

UX Researcher | Owner of Design Thinking Collective WeMarch | Lives in Utrecht | Loves good coffee and doing sports.