Phase 6: Validate

Phase 6: Validate

Phase 6: Validate

In the Validate phase, the Design Sprint team will put your concept in front of users – this is your moment of truth! You will gather feedback from users who interact with your prototype, and if relevant, you will conduct stakeholder and technical feasibility reviews. You’ll end your Sprint with a validated concept– or an invalidated concept to improve on. Either way, you’ve made progress.

 

Usability Study

The Usability Study is a Design Sprint method to identify any usability issues and determine the user’s satisfaction with the product prototype. This involves observing the user attempting to complete a task or set of tasks while using your product. Typically, the user is presented with different scenarios and asked to think aloud as they try to complete the tasks.

Examples of questions this method can answer:

  • Does the UI give enough information to start a specific task?
  • How do users perform tasks on a new UI?
  • Is an element discoverable?
STATS
Time
30-45 mins
Activity
Researcher & User Participant
Sprint Type
All

Directions

  • Recruit 5 participants
  • Set up a lab arrangement: one room for the interview and a separate room for observers
  • Introduce the participants and set the parameters for the interview. You might want to use an NDA or some form of agreement to protect their personal information
  • Determine how to document the test. If you choose to record the session, be sure to get approval from participants. Taking written notes is an option

Cognitive Walkthroughs

A Cognitive Walkthrough (CW) is a usability inspection Design Sprint method that places emphasis on the most frequent tasks done by new or infrequent users. In a CW, usability experts evaluate the product completing a variety of tasks using two questions:

  1. Will the user know what to do at this step?
  2. If the user does the right thing, will they know they did the right thing and are they making progress toward their goal?

The idea is to evaluate the product in detail on the task level (rather than holistically). Examples of when you set up a Cognitive Walkthrough:

  • Can users identify how to complete a task?
  • Can users successfully merge contacts in an app?
STATS
Time
30-34 mins per session
Activity
Researcher and Participant
Sprint Type
All

Directions

  • Pick the tasks. Determine the level of detail you want to use for each task and allocate time accordingly. The level of detail depends on the product and research questions
  • Create a “happy path, a list of all the actions needed to complete the task. You may need to bring participants back to this path if they veer off of it
  • Invite the participants (UX folks and possibly other members from the team) to a meeting and do the walkthrough in a group setting. Using the questions as a foundation, the usability expert documents as each participant describes, in turn, how they would complete the task. The moderator should ask the two questions before, during, and after each task. If an issue is found, make a note of it and continue this process until every task is completed to the level of detail you determined in the beginning

Stakeholder Review

The Stakeholder Review is a Design Sprint method used to confirm buy-in on the prototype from key stakeholders. It is ideal for the key stakeholders to participate in the entire Design Sprint, though it is not always possible. In this scenario, invite the stakeholders to join the Design Sprint for thirty minutes to provide feedback on the prototypes or early sketched concepts.

Directions

  • Schedule the review session as early as possible to make sure your stakeholder can fit it into their calendar
  • If you are scheduling the review at the end of the Sprint, schedule it after User Sessions so you can share the results and help the stakeholder understand the user feedback
  • Consider creating a presentation of the prototypes and user feedback in advance to help make the review go smoothly

Technical Review

Similar to the Stakeholder Review, the Technical Review is a Design Sprint method to secure buy-in from the engineer or technical lead for your product. It is ideal for technical stakeholders to participate in the entire Design Sprint, though it is not always possible. In this scenario, invite the engineer or the technical lead to join the Design Sprint for thirty minutes to provide feedback on the prototypes or early sketched concepts specifically for feasibility. If you have created ideas for new technology or in a new space for which you need a technical expert, you can set up a review with one from the appropriate industry.
STATS
Time
20 mins
Activity
Group
Sprint Type
All

Directions

  • Schedule time in advance so that your engineer/expert can fit it into their calendar
  • Invite them to come in person and participate for User Interviews or Usability Studies
  • Consider creating a presentation of the prototypes and user feedback in advance to help make the review go smoothly

Sprint Conclusion: Recap and Next Steps

Once you have completed your validation sessions, bring the team back together to review the findings. Create a visual presentation of the Validation Sessions or compile the results into a document. The important thing is that the team reviews the findings together to absorb the learnings and discuss next steps for the project. Every Design Sprint should have actionable learnings that lead into the next round of product development.

A Design Sprint can have the following outcomes:

  • An efficient failure: The prototypes didn’t hit the mark, but you learned something (or many things) and saved your team four to six months of work building the wrong product. You might want to run a follow-up Sprint.
  • A flawed success: Some ideas met your user’s needs, but not all of them. You learned something and can now iterate and test again.
  • An epic win: The concept met your user’s needs; they were able to complete tasks easily and engaged with all the features you mapped out. You are ready to implement!

Closing the Sprint.

The team has worked really hard, generated a broad range of ideas, and learned from their users. The Sprint Master should acknowledge all of this hard work and celebrate the learnings the team has achieved. A closing circle is a nice way to bring everyone together. Here you can ask people to share insights, what they will take away from the experience, and give people a sense of accomplishment. And perhaps discuss what problem you want to tackle next!



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