An Overview of a Design Sprint
A Design Sprint serves as a highly focused and structured process, where it aims to quickly move initial product concepts and turn them into moderately detailed designs and a functional prototype for key interfaces in a short span of time, typically 1-3 weeks. Its core objective goes beyond just design creation, but often utilizing a prototype as a means to gain internal support within a company, solidify product development direction, or to strengthen a sales pursuit.
The goals of a design sprint are simple:
- To shape the overarching vision for a new product endeavor
- To solidify internal alignment among stakeholders for upcoming projects
- To inform product development feasibility and estimation at a high level
- To increase clarity of product requirements for future design and development work
Using a Design Sprint is helpful when teams need an extra boost to tackle tough UX problems or accelerate product design and development work to meet a tight launch deadline. A concentrated burst of external product strategy and design effort can also uncover possible risks that need more discovery or product validation.
Deliverables of a Design Sprint can vary based on our goals but may include user flow diagrams, high-level wireframes, mid-to-high fidelity mockups, interactive prototypes, user research insights, and/or a backlog of product design and development opportunities.
Solving Major UX Challenges With a Design Sprint
Addressing significant user experience challenges requires strategic thinking and quick action. For instance, B2B SaaS companies may experience poor user engagement or high churn rates due to a long or clunky onboarding process. Their solution may be to simplify the onboarding and design a more self-service experience to deliver value to new users faster while also reducing operational overhead for selling to and onboarding new customers With limited time and resources, product teams may need extra support to accomplish this goal.
Related Content: 6 Tips to Optimize Your B2B SaaS Onboarding Process
Similarly, when teams are creating a new product feature, generating alignment, navigating complex UX details, and handing off UX/UI designs for development are bound to tight launch deadlines. This can create high-stakes scenarios that require a quick burst of design and validation work. Before investing in development, validating and aligning on potential product opportunities and related UX strategy is essential, especially when addressing a market gap or known UX issues.
Whether it's resolving UX complexities, meeting product launch deadlines, or capitalizing on market opportunities, Design Sprints can save teams valuable time and resources.
How Does a Design Sprint Actually Work?
A Design Sprint is a quick way to overcome problems, transform an idea from concept to reality, and help reduce the risk of spending time on product visions that just won’t work. The sprint is cyclical and broken down into 5 parts such as mapping out a user's problem, sketching solutions, choosing the best solution to build prototypes and testing.
Typically, our Design Sprint service takes 1-3 weeks to complete, depending on how many mid-to-high fidelity prototype screens are required to successfully complete user testing or solidify user flows. Sometimes, product teams add on a short burst of user research to strengthen their product vision and learn more about their users problems. If your team has open questions related to the product vision or user pain points, conducting user research as part of pre-design sprint discovery work may be advisable. If your team has a relatively clear understanding of the product vision and user pain points to be addressed but wants to mitigate risk of developing the wrong thing, a more thorough track of prototype user testing and or interviews to drive design refinement may be appropriate.
Here’s a sample timeline of how we work with our clients when completing a Design Sprint:
- Day 1: The process starts with knowledge transfer, a project kickoff, brainstorming, and diving into design work
- Day 2-3: Create user flow diagrams and create initial wireframes for 3-5 key screens
- Day 3-6: We conduct design working sessions and ongoing collaboration, begin design iterations as we transition to mid-fidelity mockups
- Day 6-10: We refine mid-fidelity Figma mockups for 3-5 key screens, continue with design working sessions and ongoing collaboration, create clickable prototypes, and wrap up with a final design review
Our Design Sprints are meant to be tailored to a team’s goals and challenges so that you can make the most of your budget in a short burst of work and time. If you’re interested in learning more about our approach to helping teams solve UX challenges with a Design Sprint, contact us today.