Sumier is the product design lead for Google Station, a Wi-Fi as a service product focused on emerging markets. Prior to Google, he worked at IBM, where he took on design challenges in the media, entertainment, sports and retail industries. Sumier has worked extensively on social impact projects; using sprints and system/service design thinking with non-profits. He received his MS in Digital Media from GeorgiaTech.View the profile
Burgan is a senior interaction designer on the Chrome team focusing on the next billion users. She is passionate about spreading design sprint methodologies to the broader UX community. Prior to Google, she worked at IBM, where she took on design challenges in health, government, energy and retail. She also spent time working for a non-profit in Uganda. Burgan received her MS in International Development from NYU and a BA in Graphic Design from UGA.View the profile
About the talk
A discussion on how to run immersive sprints. By using a combination of research methods, both in and out of the field, participants can build intuition for more relevant solutions and validate them with users. In addition, immersive sprints can bring distributed teams together to build empathy for the user. The session will explain how immersive techniques have been used at Google to design solutions for emerging markets and how they can be extended to any sprint.
Have you ever designed and developed products for users who are very different from you? But today we're going to go over some tips and strategies to deeply understand your user and to create effective products for them at speed using immersive design Sprints. I'm okay. I'm a design need a Google station and Google station is a product that's building high-quality public Wi-Fi for users the next billion users markets. And I'm Bergen. I'm a designer on the Chromecast focusing on our next billion users. All right. Let's Jump Right In. I talked about.
There we go. What is a design Sprint? So we'll do a brief recap of designs friends. So we Define a designs friend as a framework for answering critical business questions through design prototyping and testing or ideas with users to dinner 8 actionable feedback and insights design Sprints were created at Google and they have evolved over time there a mix of methods from design thinking business strategy psychology and user research that were all selected and ordered specifically to support Divergent and convergent thinking and to drive
towards a targeted outcome. So what's different about a design is it we set clear goals and deliverables up front we timebox all of the activities so that we not only speed up the Learning and Development process, but we also dries the right behaviors from our users. And then finally we enable a wide range of disciplines and stakeholders to participate in the design and development process. The design is not an individual Sport and Designs friends are a highly collaborative process. We want to be able to include multiple perspectives and points of
views and to that end. We leverage Sprint's to include all participants voices. Designs from the highly flexible framework and you'll want to flex it and adapt it to your particular challenge or scenario. One of the advantages of the Sprint is you can reduce the risks of Downstream Mistakes by getting to insights that lead to a better understanding of your user and your problems face quicker. So today we're going to talk about her understanding of users that are very different from ourselves through immersion
and her stuff and procreation for bringing actual users instead of Representatives of those users into the center of the design and development process. What is a phenomenon known as the crow creation effect and it shows that when organizations and consumers create something together. Both parties are more invested in the outcome. So what does this look like in practice? We're going to start by bringing a team together a very different disciplines including p.m. To create a powerful team. We're looking for a good representation of
roles and skills. And this is going to allow us to reduce the amount of time and increase the number of the regenerate. So once we have our team together, we're going to walk through the five phases understand sketch. I have a mix of structured individual work and planned route discussions that support a clear diverge and converge process that will guide the team to get on the same page around the artifacts that it's going to produce to test with users is going to provide time for us to reflect on the challenge and also
opportunities to validate or disrupt those ideas. So the goal for the first understand either all of the relevant data and information at hand. We really want to create a shared bring in a line around a new world together and a new understanding of the problems today. We're going to move on to the sketch phase and this is when we're going to generate tons and tons of ideas tons of his potential solution out of your participants on the paper and to really push them to go beyond their first idea to get better and more innovative ideas. Now once we have all of these ideas, we're in the middle of a
Sprint. We have tons and tons of solutions. It's time to start narrowing down and making hard choices with hard decisions and selecting what you're going to prototype with users. What do you want to create a prototype that you can test your hypothesis and validate or invalidate your assumptions? Because you only have a really short amount of time. If you have a couple hours, maybe it should only be as High Fidelity as needed to answer your questions and nothing more. Finally, we're can I buy the
test phase is to confirm that the products and also that use case studies to show you how we've use this framework to give users the tool to engage in the ideation and creation process. And now that you understand the structure of a Sprint, when's the right time does friends really you can Sprint at any point in the life cycle of your product. You might be at the very beginning and I use a Sprint for Visions or creating a roadmap. You may have a mature product in your thinking about
adding a specific feature. Whatever point in the life cycle of your product that you couldn't remember that involving users early and often can really help validate the problems faced and create better ideas. Another couple of outcomes from a Sprint. So I like to say that there's never a failed friend because you always learn something Bishop failure so it can be a little dispiriting that something didn't work, but it's really useful to know and you saved all of that time money and
resources that you might building Alpha product and then learning but it didn't work. So you've learned quickly things to do you have a password, you know, what you need to do next and sometimes you have an epic win. Maybe have a couple things you want to tweak, but you're ready to move to production. You need to set your expectations with stakeholders at the beginning of the Sprint so that they everyone is aware of this and they know what the outcomes might be. Now. Let's talk a little bit animation. Great, so
really comprehensive recap of a very complex topic there. And the reason that we rushed through that is because we're assuming that if you're here, then you've heard of a design Sprint before you have most likely taken part in a design Sprint before and maybe some of you have you been around your own design Sprints. So we're going to jump right into immersion. Now before we talk about it more since Prince Let's try to understand what inversion actually means. So you think about immersion I went to Google and I looked up the dictionary and here's a definition of the
term immersion. Immersion is instruction based on extensive exposure to surroundings or conditions that are native or pertaining to the object of study. This is a lot to take in. So I kept Googling there's another definition much simpler. Immersion is a deep mental involvement. Your superb one has a state of being deeply engaged are involved absorption emerging from all of these definitions. Let's bring this back to you asks. How can an immersion guide your interaction with users especially users that you don't know very well. I like to
think of it in terms of three steps. Step one immersion is about awareness. So Forest doing the background research and study that it actually takes before you go into a new environment and users then bringing those learnings with you into these new surroundings so that they can provide you the contacts that you need to process that correctly. And then when you're in this new environment just being very keenly aware observing without preconceived notions or bias or judgment. So that's a very honest.
Step2 immersion is about listening. So you're going to hear a lot of new sounds process Avenue sites, you're going to talk to a lot of users that you haven't interacted with before and these are going to tell you about their lives about their problems problems that you haven't faced before so it's really important to listen attentively and this is actually pretty hard to do if you tried yourself right now when you try to listen to someone speaking, it's very easy to let your mind wander and think about what you want to say next. It's very hard to mindfully. Listen. I hope that's
what you all are doing right now, by the way, but it's really important to listen attentively so that step 2. And then step 3 is taking awareness and taking listening and bringing it to empathy and this is when you are actually stepping into someone's shoes and experiencing what they experienced understanding. The their needs their pain points their hopes and dreams and even things that Delight them so when you have awareness listening empathy all of these two things together that's going to be considerate immersion. So how does this relate to
design Sprints and Design? Now when you're in the design Sprint, you're making a call and you're designing solutions for users based on what you think is going to work well for them come from intuition. Right and how does intuition get built? It comes from a lifetime of experience. It comes from knowledge and study. It comes from trial and error like launching a lot of designs and seeing what works and learning from success learning from failure. It's a constant Loop of learning intriguing but when you're designing for users that you've
never interacted with before you don't have this intuition. So what happens in the context of a Sprint all of this gets Amplified in a Sprint your time boxed. So you're doing things really fast. It's a high pressure situation. It's not just you but probably you and a bunch of splinters were all in the same boat as you you don't understand you use a really well. So Bergen and I are often placed in situations like this because we both work on products where we are distant from our users. You don't understand their uses very well that offered so what happens if
you seen that in Spence like this, there is analysis paralysis because you are sprinters are not confident about deciding how to move forward with your design you end up making safe Choice Senior design Solutions are not strong Sprint outcome suffer. You just don't see that big leap that you want to see at the end of a spring. So we need to help you and your sprinters build intuition. How do we do this? So we think immersion is a great solution to doing this good design in Spencer's about making educated and informed decisions about
how to solve a problem that your uses are facing. So with immersion, you're helping your sprinters gain the foundation to confidently design Solutions. So, let's bring it all together emergence Prince create a realistic environment to guide your sprinters Drive Great outcomes, and then validated Sprint outcomes. If you don't understand your uses very well and you wanted design solutions for them in a fast-paced Brit environment than immersion is a great technique to set you up for success. So, how do we do this?
We going to go over a few techniques today first. We're going to talk about doing pre and post Sprint researcher actually incorporating research as part of your Sprint then creating immersion during the design Sprint itself. Third participate redesign Sprint. So this is when you're cool designing with your users. You actually asking users to come to the Sprint with you and take part in it as a sprinter and then last instead of saving validation for the last stage in corporate validation at every stage of the Sprint make sure that you check in with your users at the end of each day
so that you know, you're on the right path. So they give you an understanding of how all of this works in practice. We're going to walk to two case studies of successful Sprint's that both Bergen and I have run so far. So I'm going to hand it off to Bergen to talk about a really interesting when she ran in Kenya. About a Sprint iPhone with an app called after scout to help her survive on going through out. The pastoralists are nomadic people who move their livestock between pastors depending on the season
for staying harder to find new routes new pastures and new sources of waters and the traditional methods of scouting ancestral knowledge have proven insufficient to maintain healthy hers in this changing landscape. An organization called Project Concern International a nonprofit based in San Diego and created a program that relayed satellite data to iOS that showed current vegetative condition critical intelligence about where they move their herds. The proof of concept was highly successful. We saw a 50% reduction in heard mortality and an 80% adoption rate in the local populations that it
was tested with but the delivery system was cumbersome and inefficient the email to the PCI field staff who would print them out deliver them to District livestock officers who would pass them on to the locals. So this process was slow and difficult to scale. Thor question was would it be possible for us to cut out those middleman straight to smartphone? As we plan to the Sprint, we recognize the difficulty in properly understanding the cultural societal and usage scenarios and countered by populations so different from ourselves,
but we knew that the community as Experts of their own experience would have the historical context and the knowledge of what was and wasn't important to the community rather than just consult the community we decided to involve it now, it's designers and Developers for people with stakeholders in users ensuring that the people most affected by the solutions are part of the development process. And this is really based on the ideas and the belief that all people are creative creative.
Another design Sprint gives us a framework to put this into practice and through the Sprint process. We can guide users to the ideation and creation process to really give voice to their eyes. As you can imagine we had a lot of different perspectives around this challenge. So we had to build the right Sprint team and we had quite a large team with a number of diverse stakeholders. We had our traffic info geographic information system specialist with our mapping specialist. We have local developers in a ux researcher from IHOP, which is the incubation space in in Nairobi to
staffers from PCI San Diego and we had ux designers from Google but most importantly we had to pastoralists from different districts in Tanzania. And then we had three PCI field staff from Ethiopia and Tanzania who works directly with the pastoralists and has been part of this proof-of-concept program. So it was important to us at this ass have transcended Geographic and tribal boundaries. Now this team required the integration of experts and users really working closely together. So empathy between our participants was essential and face-to-face communication was
fast. So we all gathered and I hubs office in Nairobi. Stucco creation can be applied at any stage of the design and development process through different activities at each stage of this process and incorporating user feedback throughout the process. We can avoid the anchoring effect where we're going to have really see that human tendency to rely on that first piece of information to make subsequent judgment. So trying to understand phase has helped us
understand the problem and documenting and sharing how might ways were technical infrastructure offline experience battery life traditional decision-making. So is really important and traditional decision-making with something. I don't think we would have talked about if we run this friends and San Diego or here in Mountain View. It really is something that we learn to be Elders make a lot of the decisions around where to move the herd. But the younger generation are the one with a smartphone so we had to take that other things into consideration as we considered the design.
Soap to make the pastoralists experience resonate with all of the Sprint team members, we broke into groups and create stories about people and steal and the things that they do and what happens to them and stories can be useful and generative design to invoke empathy and Imagination and Trigger idea for a more ideal future. We use Crazy Eights to allow the team to generate a ton of different ideas based on everything. We learned on the understanding phase and to help our
users with this activity gave some structure to it around so we did this in four phases. Entering the decide phase. We really gave our users more power and the decision-making process with extra votes and we reminded are participant or of our other participants to evaluate considering what are and what they wanted. Depending on the level of the Fidelity that you're aiming for one of the most difficult phases to incorporate users inclusive. Okay, we were aiming for a little bit higher Fidelity
difference dissipation actually proved crucial when the designers were designing this middle screen. They were struggling to come up with iconography. That was really represent some of the diverse ideas that we were trying to get across this location has no water or scary animals were you shouldn't take care of her there? But we were able to rapidly iterate and show our designs to the users and get immediate feedback so that we were able to confirm which icons
resonated and which ones didn't. Search for user testing. It was important to solicit feedback from a larger and more diverse group. Then was just the Sprint team. I feel remember we had sprinters from Ethiopia and Tanzania. So we were able to go about an hour south of Nairobi and test start prototype with a group of Maasai Litany of the stool immediately and that the approach we would transcend Geographic and tribal boundaries and develop a Common Language and work together to fully understand
the username from the very outset of the project. Next we're going to talk about a case study that Samir did hear it, Google. Great. What an impactful Sprint so cool. I'm going to switch gears and I'm going to talk about the product that I work on and that's Google station. Now just as a recap Google station is a product that's bringing high-quality public Wi-Fi to next building using marketsworld right now. I can't really talk about the actual product that we were designing in the Sprint, but I can talk about the process and that's what I'm going to do
here. So while ago someone in our team had this really cool idea. They wanted to bring in the features that are present in a different Google product into Google station. You got super excited. We talked to this team and that team. Super excited and we were all like really to have this happen, but you didn't know how so you didn't know what this experience would look like the great reason to have a Sprint. We also had never work together as a team. So there was like no working relationship another great reason to have a spring to bring teams
together so they can establish Trust. Now here's another challenge. The Google station theme is based largely in Mountain View. This other product is based in Asia. And at the time the user that we were designing for was in India. So three different countries really challenging. And going back to the slide at Bergen show earlier. We had an answer from the business side how this product would work. And we also knew that from an engineering standpoint. We could most likely make it work, but we didn't know this is this something that are users even care about you. Didn't know
if this is desirable for our users. So this big gap or something you needed to address so we decided that we should run an immersive Sprint. Stop the Sprint challenge was design an experienced a line with user needs that would combine functionality of two products in a very seamless way. But before we could even talk about seamless and the interaction design and all of that, I really wanted us to figure out does this make sense for users? So I flex the standard 5 phase methodology of the Sprint and added an extra face, which is that orange circle you see her for
strategy. We wanted to figure out is there a strong user Focus product strategy for this product? And this is critical reading of this would work for our users and this product strategy needed to come from actual user insights villain or user that well. So he added two more faces to the Sprint. Before the Sprint be added research after the Sprint we added research different kinds of research though before the spread be added foundational research. And after the Sprint we were going to validate the design Solutions you come up with with the research to validate it. So that was also
in the field, but it is a different style of research. I'll just extended the duration of the Sprint and we invited all of our Sprint participants to actually take part in the research. We thought this was really important because I would be an immersive experience for them and it would lay the foundation for them to effectively participate in the Sprint and come up with great design Solutions. So this is also a lot of overhead in terms of planning because that meant travel going out into the field for a large group. So to recap understand that user context
doing Foundation research use those user insights to drive the entire Sprint. And then when you have design Solutions with outcomes take them back into the field to validate them with your users. So that was the process to be followed. So how did we do this research for both pre and post print research be used a technique known as intercepts. Now, I mean going out into the field finding a user asking them that they can spend a few minutes with you and then doing an interview. And you can do an interview and ask them about
their habits and their lives and you get a lot of foundational information about them or you can show them a prototype and you could this could be like a clickable prototype. It could be your life product. It could be sketches on a piece of paper and you can ask them to use this for the type to do certain tests and observe how they do it and this would be evaluative. So intercepts are really flexible in that sense. You can use them for different styles of research and it's also in a user's natural environment. So instead of bringing a user to you and asking them to come to a lab
you're going out to user see you putting them at ease. And paper prototypes are totally okay. So one of the things I really love about intercepts is that the release Scrappy you can put them together and in a really short time and also their cross-functional this gives your team your non user experience research and design team UPMC your engineers to take part in research and actually come face-to-face with your users. It's amazing and eye-opening for them. This is why I love intercepts. So that was a research Park. Let's talk about that strategy piece to figure out if we
had to write user Focus product strategy video use a technique known as value prop canvas. So based on those user insights. We ask you to do it over already using Google station. We made a list of all the teachers in the product and weather what the pinpoints of users were using Google station then so we had all these are pains then give me the list of all the games that users are seeing by using that products Avenue the user game. Then we went to the Sprint been to a lot of sketching the diverged we voted on ideas. We converged we came up to we came out of the few Solutions
Solutions are any of the features and distribution going to relieve the pain that uses a facing are they going to boost the games that uses a scene? If both of these boxes map then you know, what you're designing is great for your users. If they don't map. Then you have a problem. You don't have a strong value proposition and that's when you have to decide for the Des even make sense to move forward with So this is what we used for exploring product strategy. All right. So, what did I learn by running the Sprint first the sequence of methods that you use in a Sprint
really matters, and if I hadn't taken the time to think about the screen challenge and add a product strategy piece. We wouldn't have been successful. So think about the sequence of products do a dry run try to see if one method feeds into the other does the output of one method feed into the input of the other if there's a gap then address it. Make stakeholders your partners, especially when you're running abroad Sprint like this you want them to be your partner's you want them to agree with you invest the time and money and resources and you want to do daily check-ins with them. Tell
them how you're doing. What did you do today? What did you achieve as a team get feedback work on it? I've never done this print that is always gone according to plan. So things go wrong people have questions. They questioned the very premise of your Sprint things take too long to run is done go as the as you planned logistical issues submit be nimble B Agile be prepared to change things around on the Fly. One of those great side benefits of a Sprint is that you're bringing two teams together with not work together and you're going to drive a lot of alignment between them and
really strong working relationship between them. So no matter what happens you're going to get that and we got that. And then the last thing I wanted to leave you with for this case study is that this was a super successful Sprint with for us not because we figured out this amazing new product that we want you to lunch. We actually learn that we did not have a strong value proposition with this new idea just did not make sense. For users at the end of the Sprint we decided we didn't want to move forward with this to the fact that the Sprint helped us understand very quickly if the
time effort and resources required to build this was worth it makes it super powerful for us. so you might be thinking. I'm not going to Kenya and I'm not going to India. Why does any of this matter to me? Well, have you ever designed for users in regions different from where you live? I bet you have have you ever designed to develop solutions for users who are different from you kids the other Lee minorities people who are less tech-savvy than you I bet you have.
And how have you designed for use cases? You aren't familiar with every have you made a product for the automotive industry or made a fitness app, and you've never been to the gym, you know. We do this all the time. This is our job immersive Sprint's are perfect for the abuse cases. And why they're powerful is because you not have the opportunity to bring your team with you to learn instead of doing research in a silo and bringing a research report back. You can take them with you. This is where the power of Sprints really shines through the cross-functional their
participatory and their democratic. So now I'm going to resent some tips to run your own emergency, Springfield, Oregon. So the very first one I went over little bit in advance as its intercepts now in a great research methods, they're very Scrappy and fast, they don't work. Well when you need to recreate a lab setting, so if you're doing and internet of things set up and you need Hardware you want to recreate the home intercepts don't work well, but if you have a nap if you have fever
prototypes you want to do foundational research and talk to users and just learn about them intercepts a great now. It's important to know that if you go in a large group of 10 people trying to talk to One user you're going to scare them off. So don't do that try to split up into smaller groups and then spit up and talk to people on your own come back regroup and share your notes. If you're doing International research is a couple of things to be aware of being aware of cultural nuances how to talk to people. How do I address them dressing? So do some research beforehand
get good interpreters are translators because even if they speak the same language as you there might be important nuances that you would miss. If it's possible and if your user is okay with it, ask them beforehand, if you can take a video if they say yes take a video of your interaction with them because when you take a video back to your team, it is super powerful be more powerful than a research report can be. Paper prototypes and focus groups are okay for this because you're talking to so many users you correct for that. And then watch out for selection bias.
We have an idea in her head of where user is. So there's like a bias to go and talk to you so that you think would like be likely uses of your app. Don't do that. You're outside in the field you have access to a diverse range of users. So go talk to everyone. And then one last if we try to make sure that we don't primer uses to give us answers that they think we want to hear. So we try not to tell them that hey I designed this give me your feedback cuz they'll be nice to you and they'll tell you this is amazing even if they don't like it. So we try to save that information
for after the interview. Those are some great tips and a lot of them will apply to code is Ian as well as a fundamental change in the relationship between product creators and users traditional interviews with mostly passive users and co-design users are deeply involved in the ideation and creation process. They really want to prepare your users in advance. Let them know what to expect and talk about the different activities experiences that they normally perceive is routine. So perhaps you ask them to do a
diary study beforehand or have them talk to other members of their Community to get a wider Force. Logistics are also quite important. You're going to want to allow more time for each of the activities and more time to explain them as well. Do you need a translator similar to ends intercept it might be useful. Are you in the natural context of the experience or are you asking the users to come into your space What would make them more comfortable? What materials do you need to allow your users to fully Express themselves into town?
If you gave them something to build with different components that they could put together would they be interested in role-playing or storytelling so really think through all of the contingencies schedule of your Sprint is going to be here and you're going to be switching roles a little bit translator of the user experience to facilitating the users and guiding them through the creative process and finally make sure you include a diversified diverse and inclusive users
that And why do we do that? Sounds like a lot of work? So what are the benefits of co.design you're really going to get it in an increased knowledge and empathy for the user for the full team. And that's key. You're going to have all your engineers your face to face with the user's your decision making is going to be more efficient and your Sprint participants are going to be more confident in the decisions that they make and you're going to have immediate validation of
Concepts and ideas. Just as I am twist iconography in rf4 after scalloped able to immediately validate what worked and what didn't and long-term relationship with your users. Now what if you can't bring users in for the false prince, maybe they have to work. They're not able to take that much time off to come in and participate participate in your friend. We also often do something called extended use their participation. So this is an alternative where we bring users and Milestones
within the Sprint. So we'll recruit users to do checking a critical Milestones are at the end of each phase will do cognitive walkthroughs will let them look at Skechers will just show them what we've been working on and get their feedback. You might have to Pivot but you want to act on the feedback of you What if you just can't bring your users to you at all? Go to them? What do we do then? So that's when remote sprinting comes in and you'll be honest with you. This is not been very successful
and we don't highly recommended. But sometimes it's unavoidable your uses of far away. You can go to them so you can use things like slides or docs to collaborate remotely. You can use Google forms and send out a survey and get your uses to take a survey to get inside. One of the things that we've done especially when you're doing research from many time zones away is overnight research. So an example was we were doing a Sprint here for a product that was based in Indonesia. So we did a lot of work all day package it up sent it over there a researcher and research for us overnight
and we had a feedback waiting for us the next morning. So that was great. Obviously just a situation specific. So if you can do this you might want to consider taking a break and instead of doing all five days of a Sprint in one go do two days at a time break off do some research. Come back and then regroup the next week. So these are some techniques for doing remotes printing. All right, so to recap 10 extended user participation and remote printing. With
that, we hope that we've shown you the value of immersive design Sprints and giving you the right tools to run your own successful in Mercer Sprint. Thought we'd love to hear from you. So please provide feedback for the session by signing in on google.com iOS schedule and if you want more helpful resources about design Sprints for the design Sprint get. With google.com. That's it from us. Thank you. Thank you.
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