How might we make choosing a more sustainable alternative more convenient?
Sustain.ly Browsers Extension – Design Sprint
In 2019 I had an opportunity to be part of second and third Global Virtual Design Sprint event. During November 2019, I joined four different Design Sprint challenges as a designer, UX researcher and facilitator. In this Design Sprint challenge, I had a chance to work as a designer and UX researcher with team members located throughout the US, France, Germany, and Australia. As I worked with different teams throughout the event, I learned several important lessons that I would like to share.
– As Harvard Business Review found diverse teams are able to solve problems faster than cognitively similar people. Having various perspectives, cultures, and backgrounds within the team strengthened our innovative capacity as we each saw the problem from a different perspective and therefore challenged each other’s way of thinking. It boosted our team’s creativity and we came up with a broader range of solutions. Ultimately the end result of this Design Sprint was beyond our individual capabilities.
– Participating in Global Virtual Design provided me a fantastic opportunity to work on the same project with Design Sprint thought leaders and experienced facilitators, designers and UX researchers from different countries.
Observing their facilitation styles, how they handle potential conflict between team members, helping to deal with ambiguity during the Design sprint process, and last but not least, keeping team members engaged in a remote working space was the most important outcome.
In this case study, we worked on a Design Sprint challenge proposed by our valued team member Lee Duncan, about the circular economy and how we can create sustainable consumption behaviour.
To come up with a new idea, build a prototype and test it with users, we followed the Design Sprint process from Design Sprint book in five days. In the next sections I summarised different tools and activities that we did during each day of our Virtual Design Sprint.
Tools We Used
We used a series of tools to run the virtual Design Sprint sessions. Since we live in different time zones, finding the time that worked for everyone was a bit challenging. We used Doodle for organising the best time for all team members. We also used Slack for communicating and shared resources between our sessions. During our sprint, we used a separate Mural board for each day to share our ideas and process. We also, used Zoom for our video conferencing and recording our sessions.
To keep remote team members engaged during the sprint session, we decided to have fun and use SnapChat video filters for taking group pictures during each session.
Framing The Problem Right
Before our Sprint week, we had a few problem framing sessions. The main aim of problem framing sessions was to help the team gain a common understanding about:
– Main target group dealing with the problem (Who)
– Nature of the problem (What)
– Timing and context of the problem (Where & When)
– Reason this problem was worth solving (Why)
At the end of the problem framing session, we agreed on a problem statement to focus on during the Design Sprint week.
Consumers purchasing products have a lack of understanding about the supply chain process and its impact on the environment.
Consumers purchasing products
Lack of knowledge or understanding about what it means practically
When companies are thinking about what products to create
Create new products and responsible choices for consumers
DAY 1: Understanding The Problem
Subject Matter Interview & HMW Questions
Before our first Sprint session, to have a better understanding about their online behaviour and consumption pattern; the UX researcher team conducted interviews with subject matter experts and consumers who care about sustainable consumption.All team members watched the recorded expert interviews and shared research documents about consumers’ current consumption behaviour and global challenges for sustainable consumption. Based on the research data, we wrote our “How might We” (HMW) questions on Mural board digital cards.
During the Sprint session the HMW Statements’ digital cards were categorised into an affinity diagram and the duplicate cards were eliminated. Then we used Mural’s voting tool and each team member had a certain number of votes to choose their favourite three “HMW” questions.
Our top three “HMWs” were:
“HMW make choosing a more sustainable option more convenient?”
“HMW make it easier for people to find out the sustainability of the product?”
“HMW spark a movement of citizens that influences production.”
Long Term Goal & Sprint Questions
For the Sprint’s Long Term Goal, we had a conversation about: “Why are we doing this project?”, “Where do we want to be two years from now?” Then on the digital cards we shared statements started with a “In two years time…” phrase to capture the long term vision of our solution.
In the next step, we ideated about what could stop us from getting to the long term goal and what we need to overcome to meet our long term goal. Our statement begin with the “Can we…” phrase.
We followed a similar process of affinity diagramming and voting for the long term goal and Sprint question as well. The top voted LTG & Sprint questions were:
“Companies will create products with the end of life cycle in mind.”
“Can we make end of lifecycle more convenient for companies?”
“Can we get people to take action with sustainability data?”
“Can we make sure that people’s mobilisation is strong enough to influence the producers?”
DAY 2: Exploring Current Barriers & Solutions
Before our second day, we each explored the current ideas, products or services that somehow were related to the sustainable consumption challenge. Then in the second day’s Mural board, we shared an image from examples and added a note about reasons why we think this solution inspired us with a reference material for explanation.
During the second session each team member had time to present their founded ideas and explain why they are important.
Making a map
From my experience, developing the User Journey Map and choosing the right target area for HMWs is one of the more challenging activities during the Design Sprint, as some participants write the Journey Map for a future situation, or do not consider the outcome of previous activities. We started User Journey mapping by reviewing the outcome of our problem framing session, HMWs, LTG and Sprint Question statements. It helped all of us be on the same page when writing our user Journey Map together.
During this Journey Mapping activity, each team member chose the most important user/customer in the problem space and then in the last card, wrote the most important goal that particular user/customer needed to accomplish. Then we filled in the necessary steps that each person would take to achieve his/her goal in the current situation.
After we reviewed all the Journey Maps together, we had a voting session to choose the individual cards that represented the best path from the user to achieve the goal; with each team member getting the same amount of votes.
In the next step, the facilitator copied the top voted cards for each step and asked us to illustrate where we thought our top “HMW” statements fit into the map. At the end of this process we agreed on the main target problem area that our Sprint solution needed to focus.
DAY 3: Sketching & Choosing a solution
Sketching & voting
Our idea generation phase was an offline activity. Before our third day session, each team member used techniques such a Crazy-8s, and followed the Art Museum solution and shared it in our Mural board. We each had a chance to explain our ideas to others and then we had a voting session. Each team member had two types of votes: a Heat Map vote for any detail that we liked about a concept and we each had votes to choose a sketch overall that we prefered.
As a team, we chose an idea proposed by our team member Marybeth Hill, which was a browser extension that recommended sustainable alternatives for users in the same price range during online shopping sessions. When users where aided with details, and had options regarding their purchasing habits; it changed habits significantly. Through sharing their individual carbon footprint data, users were able to choose more sustainable alternatives.
At the end of our third day we chose our Solution Sketch and developed the Storyboard to make the concept more tangible. During this stage our prototyper focused on making the concept look real. We incorporated features from other Solution Sketches with significant interest (dots) from the Heat Mapping step. In the end, we decided to call the new concept innovation “Sustainly.”
I started the prototyping process by quickly reviewing the storyboard and our targeted “HMW” questions, to make sure that the final prototype was well aligned.
I used Figma for prototyping to allow all team members to collaborate or leave comments while I was working on the prototype file. As we all live in different timezones, my teammates Mohemet and Marybeth updated the file when it was Midnight here in Australia. We managed to finish our prototype in less than a day and went through it with other team members to make sure that the prototype had the right flow (based on comments). I did the final iteration to make sure the prototype was ready to be tested the next day.
Using Figma for designing and developing the prototype gave the entire team the opportunity to collaborate at the same time. Since we were collaborating remotely, Figma’s feature that assigned each team member a different colored cursor made it easy to track changes. Everyone, even our non designers were actively involved in the prototyping process via comments.
DAY 5: Getting Feedback From Users
User testing & Validation
Before we started User Testing, a user testing plan was prepared and the research team shared and reviewed it together. It helped the UX research team make sure we were aligned and have a consistent approach during user testing sessions.
In our team we had four user researchers. We recruited and organised the user testing in advance and managed to conduct 8 sessions during a short period of time. The recorded user testing sessions were shared in a Mural board and everyone watched it before the retrospective meetings.
In our retrospective meeting, we discussed the participants’ statements about different sections of the prototype and categorised feedback into positive, negative, informational, and insightful notes. We then compared the feedback with our long term goal, “HMWs”, and Sprint Questions.
We discovered items we could have done differently during Storyboarding and Prototyping. At the end of the retrospective session, our team decided to tailor the project’s scope and target group in our second Design Sprint. We all agreed to run the second Design Sprint during 2020 to iterate on the project’s outcome and build a functional product to follow through on our goals.
In Dec 2019, our team members Lee Duncan, Josh Fryszer, Matt Pupa, Fatima Bambo-Jaïtay, Mehmet Karakus, and Marybeth Hill and I showcased this Design Sprint project in an online webinar organised by Dallas Design Sprints.
We talked about our experience as a team going through the process of the Design Sprint and how the feedback we received from the user testing sessions changed the direction of our next Design Sprint outcome.