A self-guided design sprint.
I'm Albert, a design technologist.
I'm currently advising early-stage startups on their design strategy through Dorm Room Fund. Previously, my work has mostly revolved around supporting first-time founders with tools such as VCWiz and FounderKit.
On the side, I do freelance work for brands including Royal Carribbean, Alpha Bridge Ventures, and LimeBike.
My core design focuses are in digital product design with an emphasis on product ideation, user experience (UX), and sprint frameworks.
Sector-wise, I'm deep into fashion, wellness, and AR/VR
Thanksgiving Break, 2017. That was when I discovered the Sprint book, a manual created by the design team at Google Ventures detailing a 5-day process for going from problem to prototype.
Reading that book inspired me and the next day, while visiting an old friend at UPenn, I pitched him an idea – let’s do a design sprint this break. He was interested in product management and I in design. We were a good fit and he agreed.
So, what problem do we tackle?
We ended up picking something that resonated with the both of us:
I was involved in all aspects of the design sprint from beginning to end. In addition, I handled all of the prototyping work.
Timeline: 5 days | Tools: Sketch, Principle
How Does it Solve the Problem?
As a college student living in fairly large suite, my room is often the hangout place. After a Friday night of going out, everyone would gather in the living room and to unwind and share stories about the week. Like most people, we like to have some light music in the background when we hangout.
However, people within our friend group have fairly diverse music tastes and everyone wants to be the one to control the music. With multiple strong opinions and only one DJ, this becomes a difficult situation to manage.
Enter: Spotify Party. With this feature, now everyone will have a say in the music being played. Since the playlist is automatically generated from everyone's music tastes according to the selected mood, all the DJ needs to do now is press "Play".
Instead of spending time trying to create the perfect playlist for the situation, people are empowered to do what is really meaningful to them: having good conversations their close friends :)
Day 1 – Map
We spent the first day learning more about our question’s environment.
After researching and sharing our knowledge for a few hours, we realized that our question was far too broad and we needed to narrow it down if we wanted to continue with the process. We also realize that many of the steps in the GV framework were not a perfect fit for our project.
Time to improvise :)
Instead of hashing out a map of a user’s flow through the problem, we focused instead on detailing the different type of music listeners and the means with which they listened to their music.
Due to logistical constraints, we decided to interview 5 users about their experience with music instead of interviewing stakeholders and experts within Spotify itself.
After these interviews, we did a round of affinity-mapping with our notes and discovered some valuable insights that would heavily influence the direction of the rest of the sprint.
The back-to-back interviews were exhausting, but we knew we needed to do one more thing before the day ended – decide on an idea. Inspired by the recent release of Spotify.me which showcases the amount of data Spotify has on its users, we ended up moving forward with a concept that seemed promising:
Day 3 – Decide
On day 3, we stuck our sketches to a wall and reviewed them. We started off independently reviewing them and writing down our comments silently. After that, we spent the rest of the day talking through our feature, going through each edge case and situation in which the feature would be utilized.
To summarize everything, we mocked up a storyboard further detailing the most likely experiences from the perspective of the leader and the party member.
Day 5 - Test
On Friday, we gathered a group of five students to test the feature using the Principle prototype.
From these five tests, we discovered the following:
Overall, the tests and the sprint were a huge success. In just 5 days, we were able to ideate, prototype, and get feedback on our idea.
Through this experience, I was able to develop a better understanding of a framework that I hope to use with actual startup teams in the near future. Key points I learned through this process were: