01 Nov Phase 5: Prototype
Phase 5: Prototype
In the Prototype phase, the Design Sprint team will work together to create a prototype of your concept. This is when many decisions are made around what exactly the concept is and includes. You will aim to create a prototype that is just real enough to validate, and you will do it really fast!
In the context of Design Sprint, we use the word “prototype” in a slightly different way than in standard product development. A Design Sprint prototype is a facade of the experience you have envisioned in the Sketch phase. You are building just what you need to make the prototype real enough to get an authentic response from a potential user in the Validate phase. This means mapping out the exact flow for the experience and only building the steps you want to test. There is no need to build a full functional back-end or to solve for every flow in your product.
You can think of your prototype as an experiment in order to test out a hypothesis. This means you have to think critically about what you will build in order to get the feedback you need to validate or invalidate your hypothesis. Anything can be prototyped in a day if it is clearly mapped out.
The Storyboard method unifies the entire Design Sprint team on the prototype concept and helps the group make critical decisions during the prototyping process. A Storyboard maps out each step of the experience that you want to test and clarifies the pieces you need to prototype.
At this point in the Design Sprint, the team often begins to brainstorm aspects of the product, some of which might be outside the scope of your Sprint questions and prototype. Capture these ideas for later, but keep the team focused on exactly what needs to be built for successful user testing.
Script writing is important at this stage as it helps align the storyboard to the user interview and clarifies the structure of what mocks or experiences will be needed in the testing. The script can also help create a plan for the Validate phase.
- The facilitator draws the Storyboard on the whiteboard or poster in a grid
- Narrow in on four or five key moments that will help illustrate the solution
- You don’t need to sketch out every single user flow or use case. Just focus on what you need to create to get accurate user feedback
- Map out the flow you’ll use in the user-interview script
- Figure out which moments can be rough, and which need to be well-defined
- List all the tasks that need to be completed. For example: mock making, writing, stitching, reviewing, scriptwriting for the interview, etc.
- Allocate each task to a Sprint participant or form groups of two or three people
- Keep everyone engaged at this time to keep people from disappearing
- Schedule use validation sessions
The Design Sprint methodology can be used for many different business problems, not just digital products. It can be used to design and test physical spaces, physical products, processes, or even brands. The prototyping tools you choose will depend on what you decide to build. For digital products there are many great options out there, and we have listed a few below.
One important thing to note: Do not attempt to learn a new tool during a Sprint. It is far more effective to use the tool you are most comfortable with (or your maker is most comfortable with), even if it’s not exactly the right fit for your output.