Prepare for the critical final day of a 5-Day Design Sprint


You may have heard about Design Sprint by now. It’s a methodology being used by a wide variety of different businesses and corporations when they are trying to solve a problem, expand their customer base, or simply innovate. The beauty of this approach is how streamlined the whole process is, lasting only five days from start to finish. We’ll give you a quick summary of what the Design Sprint is, with a focus on Design Sprint user testing, a critical step in the timeline. 

Design Sprint 101

We’ve discussed what a Design Sprint is before. Basically, it was invented by Jake Knapp and Google Ventures in order to completely authenticate ideas in only five days. This is vital, as we’ve all likely witnessed first-hand how long the process can take from the initial spark of an idea, to actually creating and testing the idea. Then, unfortunately, these ideas sometimes don’t work, effectively wasting any time you spent. The Design Sprint won’t leave a company with a completed product, of course, but it will validate the initial idea. You can then move on to bring the idea to market from there. The process starts with mapping, moves to sketching, to deciding, then to prototyping, and finally testing. This is all done in five days. In this article, we will focus on Design Sprint user testing, which occurs on day five. 

For more information on all of the steps of the Design Sprint see here.

What is User Testing?

Let’s pretend you started your Design Sprint on a Monday. On Thursday you’ll be making a prototype of your initial design. This will not be the finished product, but a realistic idea of your design. On Friday your product will be ready to be presented to users. This is the user testing step of your Design Sprint. You will have a prepared idea to present this day, ensuring the users are given a prototype as close as possible to what you want to eventually create. You’ll also be prepared with a way to gauge their reaction, interest, and overall thoughts about your prototype. Pay attention to any problems they have, or if they are unsure about certain functions. Here’s how to prepare for your Design Sprint user testing. 

Design Sprint User Testing Audience

When you come up with your initial idea, it is critical to consider the audience you’re targeting. Who will be interested in your product? This should be thought about and solidified before you actually start the Design Sprint process. Once you know who this product will be marketed to, you’re ready to recruit your audience. A great step is for your team to create a screener questionnaire. This will help you acquire the type of audience you need for the user test. The type of questions you ask will depend entirely on your product. If your product is a book app for horror stories, for instance, you don’t want to recruit people who don’t read. You also don’t want to recruit people who like the exact same type of book, however, as you want your product to appeal to the widest audience it can. Once you create your questionnaire and a form that people can fill out, you’re ready to post it. 

Finding Your Audience

Where you post your form also entirely depends on your product. Given the book example, it might be a good idea to post about your study on social media, using hashtags to reach a community of readers. If you want your participants to be somewhat random, you might consider posting on an online forum. If you want experts on a certain product, you will have to reach a bit wider and farther. Think about professional contacts, past clients, networks, anywhere you feel might reach the audience you’re hoping for. You also might want to consider offering an incentive for participants, as it can sometimes be difficult to find an audience for your Design Spring user test. 

Your Interview Guide

Now it’s time to select your audience and finalize your interview. Create a spreadsheet and select the participants for your interview. Contact them and schedule their test. You should also have a non-disclosure agreement ready for them to sign before their testing day. This can easily be created in DocuSign. Then, create your interview guide. Think about how you want your users to interact with the product, how long each task might take, and what you want them to walk away with. A good blueprint to follow is providing an introduction, context questions, follow-up questions, and a debrief. Another tip to keep in mind is to start broad, and then move on to more specific questions. 

Design Sprint User Testing Day

Make sure you set up your room, either in-person or virtually, before your audience arrives, ensuring they will be comfortable. If you’re recording the user testing, make sure everything is working accurately and test your prototypes for everything you’re wanting them to accomplish during the test. If you have the time, conduct a test run of how you want the interview process to go. Basically, make sure you’re completely ready before any of your participants arrive. Your team should also be watching the interview process.

For a Design Sprint user test to go as smoothly as possible, make sure you show no bias. Be friendly. Ask follow-up questions. Pay close attention to the time and to nonverbal clues from your participants. Then, show appreciation for the time they spent trying out your product. Now that you’ve completed your user test, analyze the results and determine the next step. Was it a success? Do you have any problems to fix? You’ve completed your user test!

The Design Sprint is a streamlined, effective way to completely authenticate an idea in only five days. The user test is an extremely important component of the whole process, one that has to be prepared adequately in order to be successful. If you’ve recently found your company in a rut, failing to come up with unique ideas, and holding ineffective meetings with frustrating outcomes, Voltage Control can help. We believe in ridding the world of bad meetings, replacing them with productive and inspiring workshops that will lead to creation and innovation. If you’re interested in conducting a Design Sprint, we can guide your team and illuminate the path. Contact us today if you have any questions. We want to help you bring your biggest and boldest ideas to fruition.