Guest post by Tyler Fortune
A three month design sprint with local designers to create a product and design resource
Design Orlando (DO) originated as a local meet up for designers to gather, talk shop and listen to the ideas of guest speakers and industry leaders. DO was born at Code School in October 2012 and is quickly approaching a pivotal three year anniversary. My friend and mentor, Paul Hershey (UI/UX Designer at Code School and UI/UX Content Director of AIGA Orlando), crafted an idea to take the meet up to a new level of involvement and learning. It’s a concept that I’m extremely excited to be a part of.
Design Orlando is being revamped into a collection of product design sprints with curated design teams. The mission is to heighten community involvement and showcase the local talent that’s rooted in Orlando. The meet up will break away from the guest speaker formula and transition into an active design sprint to experience the ins and outs of product design.
Among the changes to Design Orlando the meet-up has also joined forces with AIGA Orlando to become the UX/UI initiative of the local chapter of this global organization.
AIGA is the oldest and largest professional association for design—advancing design as a respected craft, strategic advantage, and vital cultural force. AIGA Orlando structures everything they do around the goal of building a community where design thrives and creatives are united.
With missions that so closely align, the partnership between DO and AIGA Orlando helps strengthen and grow those of us involved, while also helping to establish our city as a hub for creativity that much faster.
This article is part one of a three part series that will document the process of restructuring the Design Orlando meet up, take a look into the design team’s process, and give a glimpse of my personal process throughout the sprint.
The concept behind the design sprint is to curate a group of 7 designers to embark on a three month design sprint to learn the basics of user-centered product design and create a digital product as a free resource for designers around the world. The idea is inspired by InVision’s efforts to offer the community resources through their high quality product designs (Tether, Do, and Now).
1. Sketch and Photoshop files of the digital product design (featuring 10 unique screens)
2. Website to house the project files, sprint information and designer profiles
Month One: In the first meet up, the community will vote on the product being created, outline personas, construct user stories, and initiate ideation activities to determine art boards and content. The design team will then contribute time outside the event to build wireframes for the next month’s meeting.
Month Two: This is where the community will review the wireframes that the design team created and offer constructive feedback. The brand guide and web design will also be presented so the designers can transition their wireframes into high fidelity product designs.
Month Three: This is the big day. We will make any necessary refinements and package up the deliverables for the product and site launch.
Month One Meet Up
I arrived at the Design Orlando Meet Up for Sprint 1 and was shocked by the size of the crowd. There were people from Orlando’s Starter Studio, Canvs and many other agencies and tech companies. AIGA Orlando worked to bring a huge wave of community members to the event. It was inspiring to see such a wide array of people to collaborate on DO’s first ever product design sprint. Paul lead the meet up and introduced the designers that were curated for the sprint. Then it was time to get down to business and learn some user-centered design.
User-centered design (UCD) is a process in which the needs, wants, and limitations of end users of a product are given extensive attention at each stage of the design process.
Picking a Project
Three unique product types were chosen before the meet up in order to streamline the voting process and offer more time for ideation. The three ideas were a drum machine, food delivery app, and a home automation app. I’m an avid drummer and musician, so obviously I cast my first vote for the drum machine (only a few musical comrades agreed). It was a close vote between the food delivery and home automation app, so we settled it the usual way– a cheer contest.
The home automation app took away the win and we were all eager to get started on the dirty work (picking a name).
Choosing a Name
Choosing a name can be tedious, but we created a great technique for reaching consensus (which included a cheer contest, of course). Everyone had five minutes to brainstorm possible names. Paul then called on volunteers to offer their savvy names and compiled a whiteboard list. A voting session was initiated to narrow down the contenders and then the cheer contest commenced. The crowd’s decibel level decided that our home automation app would be aptly named Casa.
The first step in the process was to create assumption personas, which are fake user profiles that are established to outline the goals, background, behavior, and concerns of the target users. Paul asked everyone to break into groups to assemble an assumption persona using three key characteristics: attributes, goals and concerns.
- Attributes can include the person’s name, demographics and information on their technological environment and familiarity.
- Goals include the user’s motivations, wants, needs, and their desired outcome for using the product.
- Concerns are the factors that can influence their interaction with the product. Are they interacting alone or with a group? Where are they using this app? What potential hurdles could arise?
Check below for an example user persona that was created during the process:
User name: Angela
Attributes: Divorced, health care professional and two kids
Goals: Save money, convenience and comfort
Concerns: Security, safety and a secure login
The next activity for the night was the ideation process. Everyone teamed up to discuss tasks and features that would fulfill their user personas. The trick was to align the features with the user’s concerns and goals in order to heighten the product’s value. Everyone had to be mindful of how the features would integrate with one another in order to place emphasis on the product’s information architecture.
Paul asked everyone to team up and outline a scenario for the ultimate story time (I like to call them user stories). The group recorded their features onto sticky notes and compiled a story of how the user would flow through the app and utilize each feature.
The last step was to create sketches of possible screen designs and organize them using the scenarios. After working with the design team, I ventured around the room to check out the sketches that were being created. It was inspiring to see the different paths that groups were taking. Everyone offered entirely new perspectives apart from my own ideation and thought processes.
The community was equipped with five colorful stickers to use for voting on screen sketches. We walked around and pondered the possibilities of every sketch and carefully cast our votes on the screens for the design team to create. One of my favorite screens included statistics to track the user’s energy consumption and trends over various time periods. It aligned perfectly with Angela’s user persona (more specifically her goals).
This was the most inspiring meet up I’ve ever attended and I can’t express how excited I am to be a part of the community and talented team of designers that are creating this product. Orlando offered so many unique ideas and perspectives that are going to launch these designs to a whole new level.
You may be asking what’s next? Well, I gotta go work on some wireframes for the next meet up. Tune in to the next article (or read in– you catch my drift) to see the ten screens that were voted on for the final product design, the wireframing process, logo and style guide reveal, and news on Month Two.
Do you live in the area and want to get involved in the next design sprint? Head over to designorlan.do to sign up (you can even submit a product idea– like an app that takes pictures of food, grants wishes or transforms you into a Jedi). All are welcome to attend the meet up and contribute to the project. Just come on down to Code School on the second Tuesday of every month at 7:00PM.
Have Questions or Want to Connect?
Dribbble: Tyler Fortune