Design Sprint: ManagingU

Overview

Date Fall 2017
Role UX Design
Skills Sketching, design thinking, lean UX, product development

As part of a course project, my teammates and I worked through a Design Sprint process to design an initial proposal for an app marketed to colleges to help students manage their schedule and workload. We drew additional tools and inspiration from Lean UX.

Understand

Lean UX Canvas

We began by exploring the problem space, creating a Lean UX Canvas using Mural to coordinate among our distributed team. We later generated a number of proto-personas to guide product development, before selecting a single persona to focus on during this phase. The focal proto-persona was a traditional freshman student.

Proto-personas

Diverge & Converge

We used several exercises to generate and then prioritize feature and design ideas, including sketching (four-ups, crazy eights, and storyboarding), feedback sessions (design critiques, dot voting), and “buy a feature” testing with potential users.

Selected sketches

Prototyping & Testing

Although we did not have the resources to do substantial testing of our prototypes, identifying our assumptions and mapping their risk helped us to identify the propositions most in need of validation and to brainstorm ways in which they could be tested.

MVP

In the final phase of our project, we sketched a paper prototype of a minimum viable product that could be used for initial validation testing. The core features centered around a task list that could be populated both by the user and automatically from courses in which the student is enrolled. To keep the user on top of his or her work and to manage potential anxiety, the task list draws attention the most urgent assignments, with the option to collapse panels with future assignments to reduce information overload.Push notification for approaching due dates also helps to prevent missed deadlines. An additional calendar view provides an opportunity for longer-term planning. Lastly, mechanisms to mark work as completed keeps students organized and may increase motivation. Elements of gamification were incorporated to show users their progress, with the potential for social comparisons with classmates or friends.

Retrospective

The central challenge of this project was dealing with the compounded uncertainty of product development while also exploring and implementing new techniques from the Design Sprint process. Because of the nature of the assignment, we needed to find ways to self-manage without a dedicated facilitator.While initially struggling with the absence of clear guidelines, we later felt empowered to define our own goals and shape the direction of the project and our activities. Timeboxing forced us to move forward even if we didn’t feel ready, which helped us to learn to work more quickly, become more decisive, and to focus on progress over perfection.