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design thinking

design sprint




applying the design sprint

to discover and solve a problem in 3 days

One of the aspects that truly fascinates me in my career is observing non-design professionals solving a problem and being able to facilitate that process. It's incredible how, many times, all it takes to stimulate their creativity and critical thinking is to follow a well-defined process.

At Fitcard, the company I work for, we applied the Design Sprint methodology to solve a seemingly "simple" problem: the discoverability of establishments in one of our main applications, the benefits voucher app, which boasts over 109,000 active users and approximately 40,000 accredited establishments.

However, my goal wasn't just to find a solution to the problem but also to demonstrate how design thinking works to non-designers.

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context about the

design sprint and motivations

At that time, I was the only UX Designer at the company, working alongside various developers. To consider the mission accomplished, I wanted to leave the sprint with the assurance that these professionals would have a more accurate understanding of a designer's work and how they could apply some tools in their daily routines.

The objective of a design sprint is to create a tangible solution for a business problem or challenge in a short period collaboratively and efficiently. "By the book," the methodological guidebook, the sprint typically requires 5 days to complete. However, we adapted the sprint into a "workshop" format, allowing us to accomplish it in just 3 days, excluding prototyping.

Perhaps it's easier to understand by looking at the image below, representing the "leap" we achieve by applying this process. Before even building and launching a product or feature, we ideate and test it:

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starting point

and the problem to be solved

We had an open card in our Product Backlog for some time, regarding a search functionality for establishments in our Benefits Voucher app. We decided that this would be a good opportunity to apply the Design Sprint, as it's a feature of a product where we have plenty of autonomy to develop new functionalities.

  • As a user, I would like the way I search for accredited establishments to be changed, making the flow more practical for use.

  • Story purpose: Make alterations to the search screen for accredited establishments in order to make the search more practical and user-friendly.

The original interface:

As the methodology was applied remotely, we used the Miro tool for it.

Below, I will describe each part of the process:

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first step


In the first step, we used the "How Might We?" technique. As the facilitator of the Design Sprint, I explained to the participants how the process would work.

In this stage, all participants listened to an interview with stakeholders and app users and took notes. These notes should follow a logical sequence of questions, using the initial structure of "How might we?"

As a designer, I know that recognizing and discovering the real problem is one of the most important tasks to start a project, so asking structured questions is essential.

After that, each participant drew a flow that represented how our user would choose an establishment to use their card.

We used "silent voting" so that participants could choose the flow that best fit reality and contained the most assertive steps. This voting allows everyone to think critically, and the group is not influenced by the opinions of more dominant members.

As a facilitator, one crucial point is to gain the trust of the participants. When needed, I explained the reasons behind each step. This kind of process is very different from what people are used to, and my role is to make them feel comfortable while learning something new.

After the voting process, we found the focal point of the design sprint:

Search and Decision.

With that, we established the final goal of that functionality:

Increase the number of users (customers using the cards) and accredited establishments. The new functionality will make it easier for the user to use the app, leading to increased profit for the accredited establishments.

As the facilitator, this was the stage where I started gaining more confidence from the participants. Here, it became clear that the definition of the problem was much more in-depth than what was initially in the original card. This served as a guide for the next decisions and will help us determine if the proposed solution was effective.

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second step

time to sketch

With a clear goal in mind, we began the conception of a possible solution.

In the first stage, I asked the participants to look at other products on the market that solved similar problems, the famous benchmark.

This is a step that every designer usually performs and is crucial for participants to start "switching gears" and move from thinking about the problem's structure to focusing on the solution.

Each participant brought an example and had a few minutes to show how it solved the problem.

After the benchmark, I asked each participant to take a sheet of paper and a pen (previously arranged) to make some notes.

I gave them 10 minutes to go back and review all the steps we went through and take note of the points they considered most important. I asked them to revisit the ultimate goal while making more visual drawings.

This stage is not shown to the other participants; it serves to stimulate creativity and assist in a subsequent task.

After that, each participant drew some solutions. Another 10 minutes.

Now came the dreaded “Crazy Eigths”. Perhaps this was the most challenging step for the participants. Each one had to take their best idea and create eight variations in a short period. Normally, 40 seconds are used for each variation, but as the facilitator, I slightly increased the time without notifying the participants because I felt that was necessary.

For this step, I explained that it would not be necessary to show their work to the other participants and reassured some concerns.

Now comes a decisive step:

Each participant would choose the best solution they came up with and draw some sketches while explaining the solution. As the facilitator, I explained that this step would be presented to everyone, and they would vote to determine the best solution.

The voting was done in three ways:

  1. Each participant had one vote (green) for the overall ideal flow.

  2. Each participant had one vote for specific points from another flow that could be added to the main idea.

  3. Each participant had multiple "small votes" to place on specific points of different flows.

This voting allowed the sketches to look like a "heatmap," where we could visualize the standout points of each flow.

After the voting, we organized the main flow and adapted it with other highlighted elements from the heatmap. Several points became complementary at this stage. We used the wireframe for this step, resulting in:

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third step

prototyping the solution

This was a stage where only the design focal points of the team participated: myself and Jojo (our UI Designer).

Here, we took the information created in the wireframe to craft an interface. As the goal was to test this interface with real users, we created various interaction points using Figma.

You can see the final result below:

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fourth step

testing and testing

Now came one of the stages I enjoy working on the most: user testing.

After completing the prototype, I invited 5 users to participate in the tests. Since this is a product used by many professionals within the company, I had the opportunity to invite the participants of the Design Sprint to observe the tests.

Several important points for adjustment were identified, but they were minor changes. In the end, the feedback was very positive.

Tests were conducted with different user profiles to ensure that the functionality met all needs.

I asked each participant to take notes of the points users mentioned during the test, whether positive, negative, or neutral.

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The application of the Design Sprint methodology was a success. We managed to solve the problem of the establishment search functionality in just a few days, collaboratively and efficiently.

Furthermore, the experience provided a deeper understanding of design thinking for all participants, enabling them to apply this methodology in their future projects.

The Design Sprint days were a highly enriching experience for everyone involved and will undoubtedly be used in future projects within the company.

This article serves to demonstrate the effectiveness of Design Sprint as a valuable tool for collaboratively and agilely solving business problems.


structuring the design department in a company


co-creation process in interface design

​Design Sprint is just one of the many tools in my toolkit. How about reading a report on how I built the design department in a company or another co-creation tool?


workshops &


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