At their core, Design Sprints are intended to solve a problem in an organized way – bringing experts, outside examples, structured brainstorming, a prototype, and ultimately customer feedback all into one actioned-packed week. At Banjo, we’ve found that Design Sprints are an incredibly useful tool for VR concepts and prototyping. But, before we get into the why, let’s examine what a Design Sprint is.
The Sprint is mocked up in a helpful, succinct, and easy to understand book. Specific communication tactics are utilized to generate ideas and teamwork. Additionally, games are involved – with plenty of stickers and post-it notes.
The Sprint challenges our ideas on how brainstorming and idea generation should happen and provides direction. It walks you through a whole week of problem solving, design, prototyping and testing. The idea is for you to walk out of a 5-day Sprint with a greater understanding of a key problem (which you defined) and a working prototype that allows users to provide immediate feedback.
So, why specifically are Design Sprints so helpful to VR creation?
- It Forces us to Move Quickly
VR is complicated and requires spatial thinking – it’s easy to get caught up in the minutia. The Sprint forces us to make decisions, think about the end user, and iterate on a physically immersive prototype. As the book discusses, it’s important to make a prototype – that while clearly still a prototype – allows the user to experience the team’s solution. For VR, that is a demanding requirement for an immersive 1-day prototype!
The longer it takes to make something, the more committed we feel to that something’s success. This sentiment relates to products and projects in general – if we take months to create something, we’re bound to feel tied to its success. If we innovate and create something quickly, we’re more likely to feel less committed and open to change.
- Demands 5 Days of Focus
When you’re designing and creating a VR or AR prototype, there’s a lot to consider. The project is more likely to succeed through focused idea generation and a shared understanding of the overall process.
Specific tasks and accomplishments each day of the sprint keep us and our clients motivated and dedicated to one specific problem. Instead of prolonging these discussions over weeks, or maybe even months, we commit to solving it together over the course of one week. While committing 5 full days away from regular work and meetings is stressful, it allows the Banjo creative and engineering teams and the client to focus on that singular problem and solve it together.
- The Sprint Requires Expertise, as well as Participation from Clients and End Users
The Sprint gives us a framework to share knowledge about specialized subject areas – not only VR interactions but also the clients’ expertise. It is critical to take the time to discuss how the technology actually works, what the limitations are and draw out users’ existing VR expectations.
Banjo learned to be thorough in giving more background on the science behind these technologies. There is a line of what is possible – and it’s not readily understood by customers. We like to think of our Sprints as a great learning opportunity, on both sides of the table. Not only are we ending the week with an amazing prototype, but we’ve also empowered one another to learn and engage with 100% of our attention aimed at finding a perfect fit solution.
Design Sprint prototyping is about the process. Stop thinking about your end product and focus on your users. What can we create, together, in a compressed timeline that will test the core hypothesis and not break immersion with the users we are asking for feedback?