How we produced a new product concept for WorldFirst using a design sprint.

WorldFirst is a UK-based foreign exchange company that offers currency exchange and international payments to private clients, corporate and e-Commerce businesses around the world. We were invited by WorldFirst to lead a design sprint to innovate a new product feature in 5 days. 

 

Why do a design sprint?

Companies often struggle to find the time to innovate because of lengthy product development cycles that can take months before a product reaches the hands of users. A Design Sprint reduces the product development cycles to just five days, answering key business questions by testing ideas with prototyping and user testing. The sprint framework is employed by many startups and companies as a lean method to create new products and services.

Who were the design team? Our sprint team consisted of three people from Digirati and six people from WorldFirst. The team was then able to bring expertise on Sales, User Experience and Product Management.

Design Sprint Week overall view:

Process from Monday to Friday

Day 1: Map

Understanding the business challenge and objectives

We started the week by setting our sights on the future, with a long-term goal, and a list of business questions that we needed answering. We had to ask why we were doing this project, where we wanted to be in six months, a year, or even five years from now.

Once the end goal and the sprint questions were identified, a map was made to show the journeys that customers and key players would follow for the business to reach its goal.  We also validated our map by interviewing experts from the sprint team and in the company and turned problems into opportunities with ‘How Might We?’ statements. This helped us find out in more detail what the company’s business challenges and objectives were.

Mapping out goals and turning problems into HMW Questions

Day 2: Sketch

Sketching to generate lots of ideas

With the business challenge and strategy defined on Day 1, the team was then able to start throwing lots of ideas. We first researched existing product solutions that we liked and presented them back to the team in the form of lighting demos. This was to spark everyone’s brains with potential ideas before they could start sketching their own. We got everyone to draw out their ideas on paper without any pre-existing design skills. Rough sketches are the best way to evaluate ideas before deciding whether they are worth exploring further.  

Product research and sketching out ideas

Day 3: Decide

Storyboarding the user flow

Sketches from Day 2 were collected together and explained to the entire team in a 3 minute per sketch critique format. This was later followed by dot voting where everyone from the Design Sprint team got to choose their favorite ideas, however, it was only The Decider, as we call the decision maker or main stakeholder, who could choose the strongest concepts to prototype.The selected sketches were then used as a basis for a storyboard which we drew to document the step by step journey of user flow needed to execute the winning idea.

Storyboarding the chosen sketches

Day 4: Prototype

Stitching together a prototype 

Using the storyboard as a detailed plan, we got busy prototyping the solution. The prototype doesn’t have to be a full working product, but just enough to be a realistic facade which could be put in front of customers to get their reactions and answer your questions.To make the prototype within 7 hours, we divided the storyboard up and the jobs into different assigned roles. We assigned people to various roles including Maker, Sticher, Writer, Interviewer and Asset Collectors. You can speed up the prototyping process by having more than one Sticher, Writer and Asset Collector.We also found working with cloud-based tools allowed various members of the team to collaborate efficiently together. For example, two people could work on one prototype or could write and exchange content up in one google doc.

We recommend these cloud-based tools.

The Design Sprint book recommends recruiting participants in the same week as the sprint but we found it is better to recruit and schedule participants a week in advance as this frees up time during the sprint to focus on designing the prototype.  It is also important to trial run the interview script and the prototype to make sure it flows in a logical order. As well as making sure the assets like the company logo, dates, times, figures and content are consistent throughout the prototype, to ensure the prototype has no mistakes.

Day 5: Test

Testing with real users

On the final day, we got the product tested with five users. It is always better to get feedback from users in person, but in this case we had to do remote testing to deal with users located outside the country. We used Skype (www.skype.com) for remote testing and Screenflow to record the video footage just in case people wanted to watch the videos back later. Our User Researcher went through the tasks with the users and all the reactions and feedback were then noted onto sticky notes onto a board by the rest of the team who were observing the interviews from another room. Having a team of people to write research notes means that nothing was left out from the user interviews. Also analysing research notes were made easier by rearranging sticky notes and creating a summary of findings up to find out if a feature was worth developing further.

Feedback board from user testing

The end results

  • Quick prototype turnaround. – we made prototypes for three different product features in just one day
  • Quick valuable feedback from real users - we interviewed 5 users who are potential customers of the products who told us what works and what did not
  • Instant follow-up after the user test sessions - this allowed us to plan what do in the next phrase