Unlocking success: Our way of mastering UX Design Sprints
UX / UI process — Antrea Chrysanthou
Launch your product with a design sprint

Jumpstart your project

Researching the field of competitors, build a prototype, and test it with real users — all in one go. These sprints not only check if your project is viable but also saves you time and money when you start designing the final product. It's a smart way to make sure your project is on the right track from the start.

Tailored design sprints

Typically lasting about one or two weeks per sprint, this involves a series of activities aimed at understanding your problem, generating solutions, prototyping, and testing with real users.

User input is essential for a successful product

Aligning vision with user needs

Involving your target audience ensures that your ideas fit perfectly with what the users want from the beginning. This feedback loop not only boosts engagement but also saves you money by avoiding features that miss the mark.

That's why El Niño offers three tailored design sprints, helping you to validate your prototype on a solid foundation of strategic focus.

Sprint 1 – Gain a competitive edge with strategic insights

Gain a competitive edge

Our thorough competitors research not only uncovers market trends, but also identifies gaps in competitor offerings. We dive deep into both direct competitors (offering similar products) and indirect ones (in related industries), which helps us resonate deeply with users.

What we did for Flickthrough

Working with Flickthrough, a universal inbox for collecting and prioritising items, we identified a gap in a broad market, guiding our focus towards user-centric solutions.

If there is a lack of gaps in the market, it prompts a critical reflection on the necessity of introducing a new tool, ensuring alignment with the user’s needs.

Competitors exploration to identify the gap for Flickthrough

Understand your users

Diving deep into understanding your users through detailed research is vital for success. Tailoring our approach to the product's stage, ensures that our designs resonate with your audience, enhancing user satisfaction.

For tools in the discovery phase, we focus on understanding the user’s goals, pain points, and workflows to shape realistic requirements. In later stages, we validate existing features through targeted user feedback sessions, refining the tool based on user expectations and identified pain points.

Prioritise your strategy

Ending the exploration phase with a MoSCoW prioritisation report will optimise the focus and identify a clear structure for the next steps. This prioritisation method, known as Must-have, Should-have, Could-have, and Will-not-have, categorises action points accordingly. Our MoSCoW analysis translates research findings into actionable priorities. The resulting report is presented to the client to provide an actionable plan that focuses on pivotal issues to generate maximum impact.

What we did for Flickthrough

For Flickthrough, our next step involved expanding the user sample to diverse backgrounds and needs, to better understand varied perspectives. The objective of these next steps aimed to define our tool's added value based on users.

Several actionable priorities derived from the exploration phase for Flickthrough

The exploration phase of Sprint 1 is valuable for products navigating uncertain trajectories. It lays a foundation that can seamlessly integrate with more advanced methodologies introduced in the next sprints.

Sprint 1 objectives

  • Learn from the competitors' wins and losses to avoid common pitfalls and uncover fresh opportunities

  • Discover your own strengths, areas to improve, and market gaps

  • Discover who your users are and how they engage with your system or tool

  • Receive a clear road map of actionable priorities based on the research findings

Sprint 2 – Design user-centric experiences with user flows

Clear user flows

To create an intuitive design aligned with user expectations, we use User Flows. Mapping user steps and screens, helps identify bottlenecks and complexities, facilitating precise planning. Collaboration between developers and clients refines the information structure for effortless user experience.

User flows visualise the user’s journey and enables designers to optimise the usability of the tool.

Flow chart of a user flow with user interactions and information structure

Dynamic prototyping

Sprint 2 ends with delivering high-fidelity wireframes and a functional prototype. Our interactive prototypes ensure a comprehensive tool ready for testing, while also giving a good sense of the final product in an early stage.

What we did for Flickthrough

For Flickthrough, we created a high-fidelity functional prototype showcasing fundamental actions: receiving notifications and organising tasks into 'buckets'. While not a complete product, this provides users with an early-stage experience resembling the final product, enhancing ease of interaction.

Sprint 2 objectives

  • Identify and improve important user paths for designing effective solutions and an optimised user experience

  • Through collaboration with stakeholders and users, refine these flows for efficiency

  • Receive interactive prototypes that allow quick validation and give a good sense of the final product in an early stage

Prototype showcase the flicking interaction for managing tasks
Sprint 3 – Usability testing evaluates design before implementation begins

Test your product efficiently

To avoid investing heavily in tool development without addressing major usability issues, we conduct usability studies using wireframes. This gathers early feedback, validates flow, and identifies areas for improvement, ensuring alignment with user needs.

Usability studies combine various UX methodologies, focusing primarily on user interaction. Task completion is pivotal, with the "Thinking-out-loud" approach encouraging users to vocalise thoughts and concerns, providing deeper insights than tracking mouse movements or clicks alone.

Complementing these studies are user interviews. They provide a chance for direct discussions and follow-up questions, yielding extensive insights. Usability studies can also benefit from focus groups, enabling collective engagement with the UX researcher for quicker feedback exchange compared to individual interviews.

Overview of the combination of usability study, interviews and SUS study

What we did for Flickthrough

For Flickthrough, we involved five users in a series of tasks, while recording their interactions with the tool. Alongside their actions, we prompted them to articulate their thoughts and feelings. Complementing this usability study, we administered the SUS (System Usability Scale) to measure the tool's market potential. Additionally, to delve deeper into users' experiences, we conducted brief one-on-one interviews to elicit more comprehensive insights.

Sprint 3 objectives

  • Validate design decisions with users, to ensure they meet their needs

  • Address issues early before investing on the development of the tool

Flickthrough sprint result

Strategic decision making

Our clients approached us with a promising idea, supported by initial research they had conducted. Their objective was to assess the feasibility of their concept, aiming to avoid unnecessary investment in uncertain ventures.

After carefully considering the study finds, our client found that the target demographic for this tool is relatively niche and specialised. Also, there are already similar apps on the market that most users are satisfied with.

Since the majority of the users don't seem keen on switching to a new tool, our client decided proceeding with the project would be too risky. Instead, they decided to use their resources on projects that have a better chance of making a difference and return on investment.

Create the tool users need

A complete UX flow with our design sprints

Each package builds upon the others, forming a holistic UX approach for the tool. ‘Design Sprint 1’ focuses on market exploration and targeting users with actionable steps. With the boost from the previous step, ‘Design Sprint 2’ generates user-centric flows, wireframes, and a functional prototype. Finally, ‘Design Sprint 3’ completes the UX cycle by testing the product extensively, preparing it for implementation and release in the market.

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