UX Design Through Creative Sprints

By Huan Song

London is one of the greatest technology hubs in the world. Since our HQ is situated in this vibrant city, our staff are always out and about attending various technology events after work. From our Umbraco evenings to Agile workshops, there is something here for everyone. My colleague Nisha Patel (who brought you the great read - Mind the Gap) and I went to a Outreach Digital Meetup this week at Innovation Warehouse where we mingled with other UX enthusiasts and got our creative cogs turning. 

Outreach Digital is the biggest Meetup group in Europe and London’s leading community for digital enthusiasts. The volunteer-run organisation hosts daily workshops on digital marketing, data science, UX, etc. 

Those of us working in the technology sector understand the value of continuous professional learning in today’s rapidly evolving environment. Meeting like minded people not only allows us to share ideas, but can also foster long lasting friendships. Nisha and I actually ran into one of my friends who runs the award-winning hardware startup Vorganise at this Meetup.

UX Designer Sunil Pithwa hosted a great workshop on ‘Design Driven Development for Apps’ and walked us through his brainstorming, wireframing and testing processes using his current work with Movebubble as a case study. Movebubble is an app that simplifies the process of organising flat lettings for both renters and estate agents. The app for renters has already been completed and the company is currently working on the beta app for agents.

Sunil started the workshop with an unexpected creative exercise to get our post-work brains back into gear. Instead of a full Crazy 8s exercise, we carried out an abridge version, Crazy 4s, where we were given a problem and had four minutes to sketch four ideas that would address this problem. 

Our prompt was to design an app for someone who is planning a trip, but doesn’t know where to go. You can see my very rough sketch below where each of the quadrants represents a different app idea.

The purpose of the Crazy 4s exercise was to challenge us to dig deep within ourselves in order to generate more interesting solutions. The team at Movebubble repeated the Crazy 8s activity in multiple rounds to maximize the number of ideas. 

This brainstorming idea is outlined in detail in Sprint, the authority on design sprints by Google Ventures, and is a method that we have used here at The Cogworks. A particularly interesting point in Sunil’s workshops is when he talked about looking for innovative app ideas outside of the real estate industry. 

Sunil walked us through the prototyping stage by showing some low fidelity wireframes that he used to conduct initial tests before creating high fidelity prototypes using Invision, also one of our favorite tools to use around the office. Testing with pen and paper enabled the team to respond quickly to feedback and cut down the turnaround time to test improved features. 

The point of UX design is its dedication to listening to other people. At its core, UX design is empathy embodied and enabled by technology. Design sprints are a tool to help product teams tease out the absolute best solution to solve a problem. From this perspective, Sunil and his team at Movebubble have been doing a wonderful job through continuous and creative user testing. 

Through events like this one, we hope to bring new techniques and ideas back to our daily roles and to grow professionally in this nurturing London community. 

Looking forward to the next UX Meetup!