Solving A Problem With Technology? Consider Design Sprints

How often have you used a mobile app or website and felt, “This should be much more intuitive! Why did they design it this way?!” Given the amount of time we spend on our devices – thanks Apple for reminding me weekly – we are constantly faced with having to interact with technology to communicate with others, complete tasks at work and keep us entertained. Yet every so often when we download a new app or access a tool that we must use and are constantly faced with roadblocks when trying to navigate to what we need or want. Increasingly, organizations are realizing that to maintain adoption and engagement of their digital ecosystem, the focus should be on the user and not the “bells and whistles” that our internal stakeholders dream up in the middle of the night.

Enter stage right, Design Sprints, a methodology that is used to solve problems through digesting insights from our users and bringing them into the process of designing, prototyping and testing ideas. Made famous by companies like Google, Google Ventures and IDEO, Design Sprints are composed of a series of intentional exercises that take place most often in-person over the course of one to five days. The team that is involved is composed of internal stakeholders, designers, developers, subject matter experts and most importantly, the users. Over course of the Sprint, we end with validated prototypes of what a digital experience should be to accurately solve the problem with minimal friction and frustration.

So often organizations jump to the solution instead of understanding the underlying complexities of the multitude of users that exist.Click To Tweet

For instance, if we’re trying to build a mobile experience that allows users to access their health records, the audience and their behaviors are completely different than those that play Final Fantasy XV on their phone. Knowing that the audiences are unique is just the start. Often, we then have assumptions of what we need to consider, such as larger fonts on the screen for older audiences, designing for color blindness or the need to communicate that the experience is secure. What Design Sprints do for us is validate (or invalidate) these assumptions in the most rapid way possible.

Over the last 10-years we’ve been using this methodology to solve problems for our clients and design the apps and websites that their customers use daily. It’s not just us, though, that believe in the value of Sprints. Their popularity has grown in recent years. Simply examining the number of searches for them on Google tells us that organizations are thinking more strategically about the experiences that we engage with.

Interest in design sprints over time on Google Trends
Google Search History for “Design Sprints”

While Sprints can seem easy, administering one requires some practice to understand what “tools from the toolbox” we need to bring to solve a particular problem. Further, we’re designing for humans so ensuring that we have empathy during the exercises helps uncover the “why” behind the “what”. If you’re thinking of designing a new digital experience or rethink an existing one, reach out to learn more about how Padilla Digital can help with your next digital project. Your users will thank you.

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