I love structures, they give me guide and also flexibility. I believe in structured design process, although I don’t believe there is a perfect design process. Our design process should fit for the project we’re involved in, it needs tailoring for each company (startup or enterprise, small, middle or large team etc.). So here is the structure that I like to follow.

Design sprint outline

Design sprint is a process for answering business questions through design, prototyping and testing ideas with our users. Just in a few days we’d get through a lot of the core parts of the design process. Also, the days need to have some flexibility depending on the complexity of the problem/feature/idea so the sprint days can overlap. Design sprints usually have two parts in my projects:

Product Discovery

(this cycle is iterative until we solve the problem we identified)

  • define UX (core participants: design, engineering, BA, product owner and other stakeholders if needed)
  • prototyping
  • validation test and learning
Implementation Discovery and Delivery

(non-iterative cycle)

  • visual design
  • interaction design

Product Discovery takes 5 days:

Day 0: preparation for the sprint (decide who needs to be involved, start recruiting test users)

Day 1: understanding everything about the problem we’re trying to solve the best we can. It includes user study (doing research, understanding our users).

Day 2: quickly developing as many solutions as possible using pen and paper only, trying to sketch a lot of ideas that can solve the problem. (Personally I’m not a fan of brainstorming workshops/brainstorming sketching workshops. It can be fun, everyone can contribute etc. but usually coming up with the best ideas take individual heads-down work time. So therefore I’d like each team member to have some individual time to think about the problem, how to solve it).

Day 3: sketch iteration day while deciding which idea/solution we actually want to test and put them into a storyboard form.

Day 4: building something quick (far from perfect) that can be tested with real users. Trying to come up with a mid-fidelity prototype that is more than a wireframe but not yet a hi-fid prototype. It’d be just good enough to test.

Day 5: validation testing with real users. Learning what works and what doesn’t; summarizing the test results.

Brief Summary of the sprint:

Before the sprint: Prepare
Day 1 - Monday: Understand
Day 2 - Tuesday: Sketch
Day 3 - Wednesday: Decide
Day 4 - Thursday: Prototype
Day 5 - Friday: Test

Implementation Discovery and Delivery takes another 5 days:

Visual Design and Interaction Design:
  • overlap each other as visual design might take only 1-2 days but the animation is so complex that needs 3-4 days
  • last day: include preparing hand-over assets for development

I can’t take credit for coming up with this amazing process unfortunately. You can read about the topic if you just search for “product design process” or “design sprint”. These are my go-to resource pages, I highly recommend to read them through, take them in, and tailor them to your own project: Google Venture and design sprint by Google Developer.

Can you tell I’m a huge fan of Google?