What is a Design Sprint? | Overview

September 15, 2021


Design is not a separate stage of a project. It starts as soon as the project does! Incorporating design in the beginning ensures efficiency during the production process and a product that caters to the user it was made for. In this article, you will scratch the surface of what a design sprint is and how to conduct your own in our blog post series: What is a Design Sprint?

Although a common misconception of design is that it is about making everything pretty, the actual purpose of design is to solve problems. A Design Sprint is a toolset used by designers based on research. The research used in this process is conducting preliminary surveys on potential users and tests on services or products, identifying the target user, and understanding their behaviors, needs, and motivations through interviews and user testing.

Icon of two people working together on a project

Using these research results, a design sprint allows you to make a general hypothesis and identify the main features of the product or service that solve the problem users face. Knowing the key features allows you to experiment with different solutions and build upon them in the next design sprint. At the end, you will learn what solutions work and fit the customer’s needs the best.

Design Sprint Stages

Design Sprints can vary in length from hours to weeks. Depending on how intensive each step may be for your team, the number of days and goals may vary. Generally, the Design Sprint is a five day process for testing potential solutions with users. This consists of five goals:

  1. Empathize with users.
  2. Define the long term goal.
  3. Ideate on the best solution.
  4. Prototype the solution.
  5. Test the prototype with users. 
A flow chart showing that the steps of the design process are empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test, and then to repeat the process

Throughout each step, make sure to include any technical requirements or stakeholder opinions. Receiving technical input in the beginning of this process addresses any concerns or limitations with early solutions, allowing the team to create a product that is feasible. Additionally, incorporating any stakeholder feedback, especially during the prototype process, ensures support from key stakeholders.

Next Steps

Once the service or product is created, the goal of new design sprints is to constantly improve the product or service, restarting from the first stage after testing is completed. If you are interested in the details of each stage, continue reading with the next blog post in our series, the first stage of the design sprint: empathize with users.

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