Arun, the founder of Boomer has a lofty goal, to make Boomer the go-to website builder for small businesses across the world to build their online presence. As things stood, Boomer suffered from severe rates of drop-off and lacklustre engagement. The roadmap of the product was a vague at best. So Boomer fell squarely in the right spot to benefit from a design sprint.
The sprint consisted of a Captain Planet-esque team — Robin for his business strategy, Binay for his marketing expertise, Chaitanya and Dinesh for their user experience mettle, Kanna for his technical wizardry and of course, the founder himself, Arun. With our powers combined…
Day 1 – Making sense of it
Our first exercise of the day was to get a solid background on Boomer and its audience. Arun and Kanna walked us through the product’s existing features and its shortfalls. In order to get the 360 degree picture, we examined Boomer’s competitors such as Six, Weebly and Squarespace, while making note of where their goals differed from Boomer’s. In short, Boomer would be context, context, context. Users and such.
Post discussion on these nitty-gritties, all of us tried to simplify and encapsulate Boomer’s long term goals in the form of a launch tweet. Out of these, we picked one which proved the most apt and succinctly described Boomer’s core operating principle.
- “Build your website in 2 minutes. Fast. Free. Easy.”
- “Build your website in 2 minutes. Zero coding.”
- “Build a website with live chat and payment in minutes.”
- “Own a piece of the in the internet. Get a free website.”
- “Get your brand online. Build a website in minutes.”
Most drop-offs in the on boarding and website building stages. We chose to make these aspects the focus of the sprint. This new background helped us formulate some important sprint questions and later, HMW questions. Our diverse background helped us come up with myriad viewpoints which otherwise would not have surfaced. The day was concluded by linking the HMW questions to their appropriate places on a User Journey map.
Day 2 – Mind to task, pencil to paper
The second day is about new ideas and remixing old ideas. We had already narrowed our focus to the on-boarding and website building stages of the app, as attempting to build the entire app would be spreading ourselves too thin. It also helped that the HMW questions had been voted on to bring attention to the main pain points. The 80:20 rule is applicable here too; a minority of the questions dealt with constitute 80% of the user’s problems. The Goliaths in front of us were these two post-its.
For the purposes of the sketching exercise, the audience was narrowed down to small and medium sized women’s clothing boutiques. There were four rounds of sketching and presentation done through the day. Although the ideas themselves were sketched independently, they were presented together in a group. All of us worked towards a single ‘Aha!’ moment acknowledging the different solutions across the board for the HMW questions.
Day 3 – A little to the left, a little to the right, perfect.
Following sketching, the gloves come off. It is time to critique the scribbles and doodles on the board. Some key ideas were contained in the sketches which solved different aspects of the product.
- Giving the User a preview of the website as soon as possible.
- Replacing the Sign Up button with “Create a new website” button.
- Allowing the user to select styles which group colour and font choices.
- A dynamic Home page which displays stats, insights and integrations useful to the User.
- Split tabs for making content and design changes to the website. There is no inline editing.
- Defer Sign up until the website is published.
These solutions were consolidated into one solid model for the website creation process which was then expressed in the form of storyboards.
Day 4 – Next stop, validation!
The prototype went straight from the splash screen to the point of publishing the website. At times, the prototyping process itself reveals some glaring mistakes which have been overlooked during the discussions. Once these are attended to, your ideas are ripe for testing!
Day 5 – Interviews
We spoke to several potential customers as they tried to navigate our prototype. These insights revealed to us that the onboarding was doing a stellar job of drawing the users in. There were also users with several (valid) concerns about the way the content editor was structured while some others raised the issue of the overall usefulness of the concept at all. But all in all, this laid out a concrete path forward.
Where do we go from here
The prototype was relooked at, with the users’ feedback fresh in our minds. The prototype that we took away from the sprint served as the skeleton on which we laid out our refinements and the rest of the app. Although we came out of the sprint mentally exhausted, the wealth of ideas and insights it brought into the product development process was worth it all.