Better be quick
to enjoy the creative rush of a Design Sprint

Since Design Sprints became so popular I happened to participate in some. In most cases the goal was to design something concrete super fast. Not perfect, not even close to a real product but enough to produce interesting learnings from showing it to people, ideally target audience users.

I did not lead or moderate sprints but enjoyed contributing my UI / UX expertise. Usually, I was the only designer around, assigned with producing mockups, click dummies and prototypes. While making sure the product would be usable and up to modern standards of UX and interaction design.


Listen to people brainstorming wild digital product ideas, watch a business model canvas fill up, consume as much information as possible, sketch, draw boxes, mood boards. Design like a lunatic to flesh out a ten screen high fidelity prototype in just ten hours straight. Test, iterate, test, iterate, present.

2017 / 18

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Take a look at three sprints I was involved in, each with a leading question and some roadblocks we discovered along the way.

I want to point out, that all of these designs were done super speedy, like in a day or two. They are neither perfect nor fancy. Their purpose is to convey a clear idea of a possible product and bring it in front of test users as fast as possible. Those designs were made in Sketch, Prototypes were done in Flinto, Principle and ProtoPie.

One – Dream about a new home

Question: Can we inspire a young audience to dream about buying their own home?
Desired business value: improve customer retention and attract new audiences

This was a 4-day sprint. We wanted to encourage future homeowners to think about their potential dream home. In Tinder-style, users swipe interior designs left and right to eventually create a mood board that resembles a simplified floor plan. The app then provides additional functionalities for notes, shopping options and budget calculations.

Designing was fun and super fast, so we had a prototype after day two. The algorithms, however, were tricky and lead to long discussions. We were too focused on the ability of the app to make good image suggestions based on a short survey during onboarding. User testing was done with the prototype (I think we used Flinto back then) and a stack of interior design printouts. We wanted to test interactions like swiping, liking and playing image Tetris.

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/      \      /XXXXXXXXXX\                  \
        \    /_I_II  I__I_\__________________\
               I_I|  I__I_____[]_|_[]_____I
               I_II  I__I_____[]_|_[]_____I
               I II__I  I     XXXXXXX     I
            ~~~~~"   "~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Two – Let’s buy a new home

Question: Are potential home buyers willing to do a full credit check to earn a certificate that would give them a better chance against competing buyers?
Desired business value: Build strong relationships with customers, accompany them over longer periods of time.

We created a real estate platform, showcasing beautiful new homes. Then we asked our test users which filter criteria they would apply to look for objects… to get them into the mood of buying a new home, of course (‾◡◝ )و

On our detailed property pages, we showed a lot of useful information as well as available units, some of which could be requested directly. We tested different levels of scarcity and content limitations. We wanted to find out whether the user could be motivated to create a finance certificate to retrieve exclusive benefits, like elevated contact options. And whether the advantage of such a certificate could be revealed at all, through simple and concise UX writing.

Three – how about real estate investments?

Question: Can we make use of our databases to generate valuable insights for an audience specifically interested in purchasing real estate as an investment?
Desired business value: Win returning visitors with a high interest in purchasing real estate.

The project aimed to build a prototype and to test a website for people interested in investing in residential properties. By using this platform, investors should be able to identify which areas of Germany offer them the best financial return.

This was interesting because the quickly designed website went live for a couple of weeks. Visitors got information about the current number of purchases in certain regions, so that interesting cities or even neighborhoods could be discovered and compared. In addition, Immoscout objects for sale were displayed on a map for the corresponding regions, accompanied by information and consulting services offered by Interhyp.