Design Sprint – exploration of an idea that could help us to increase the value proposition of our product.
design sprint facilitator, visual design, HTML/CSS, usability testing
On clients' visits, we started receiving feedback that traders would be interested in checking orders on their personal mobile devices. Strict policies have changed and the trading companies are more open to new approaches. What exactly the traders want to do on their mobile? Do they expect a feature-rich mobile clone of the complex desktop application?
It is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. Thanks to the technique you can shortcut the endless debates and instead of waiting to launch a minimal product to understand if an idea is any good, you can get clear data from a realistic prototype before you make any expensive commitment.
We created a team of 4 members - designer/facilitator, developers, and product owner, who were released from their day-to-day routines so they could be together and synchronized for the whole week.
In the morning we discussed our long-term goal, where we would like to be in 6 months if everything goes well and our hypotheses are correct. We agreed that we want a device-agnostic and read-only extension to our complex desktop application available for all of our clients.
Based on our long-term goal we brainstormed all possible concerns and rephrased them into questions, not only from the user perspective but also from the future of development or our business strategy points of view.
In the afternoon, we designed a map of roles and activities which need to be done in order to get to the desired goal (trader can see the orders on his mobile) and we captured every new concern or question which appeared. When we felt that we had covered everything, we validated our outcomes (the list of long-term questions, the map with questions) with representatives of our sales, support, and top-management team.
In the end of the day, we had a clear vision of the idea and potential obstacles. Since the technique encourages to choose and test the boldest challenge, with product owner we decided to focus on part of the journey when the new extension needs to be opened by the trader.
The second day each of us sketched the UI flow on a paper and then we discussed every part of it in detail. We voted and then we decided which ideas we want to translate into a working prototype. We also asked our product owner to recruit a few traders willing to participate in a usability session on the 5th day of the sprint.
In the middle of the week, together we sketched a comprehensive storyboard. Having the long-term goal, the list of questions, and journey map in front of us, we were able to choose the right wording and visualize our prototype accurately. Since we finished the task earlier, we started with prototyping in the end of the day.
Sketches with voting dots around the whiteboard and the final storyboard in the middle.
The fourth day we dedicated to the prototype only. Combination of screenshots, Axure, and ReactJS allowed us to create a complex customer-facing surface covering the agreed part of journey map:
In the most important day of the design sprint, we collected feedback from internal stakeholders and potential clients. We found that traders understand the idea of mobile extension and they have no issues in interacting with it. However, they don't expect fully-functional clone of desktop blotter. On the contrary, since they don't have any intention to trade from their phones, they would like to see analytics behind their orders instead of the listing as it is the desktop application.
A part of the prototype - the login page for the mobile blotter.
The whole team enjoyed the design sprint process and we impressed our product owner and top-management with the outcome. Even though we didn't use computers for the first three days, that raised a little bit of concern among observers, the final prototype and findings helped us to realize where we should really go with the mobile blotter idea.
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