The Griffith Degree Finder is an interactive tool to enable prospective students to find and explore study options through a seamless search and browsing experience.
We used the (Google Ventures) Design Sprint framework to build the MVP for this tool. Using this methodology allowed our team to foster a creative process which ultimately reduced the inherent risks in successfully bringing a new product to market.
My role was to facilitate the sprint where we developed a strategy and product based on a deep understanding of user needs and current pain points.
My responsibilities throughout the lifecycle of the product also included discovery research, customer journey mapping, product roadmaps, strategy, UX design and UI design.
monday - understand
A big day of informed decision making and the creation of the foundations for the design sprint.
After reviewing the existing research and business requirement documentation the group picked out some of the big ticket items that we could focus our efforts on. After some discussion we decided to focus on creating an excellent search experience for the Degree Finder. Findabaility was something that we felt was crucial to our end users and achieving the business outcome of improving student acquisition.
We kicked off by discussing and deciding upon the sprint goal and hypothesis. These statements guided the teams activities throughout the week and were used as a lens to analyse solutions.
Our exploration and thinking throughout the day led us to the development of a user journey map to allow the team to understand user needs and shape how our ideas could meet these.
Finally, the team went away to collate inspiring search experiences to present in a show and tell on Tuesday.
To enable prospective students to find and explore study options through a seamless search and browsing experience.
Prospective students use the search tool to efficiently find and explore Griffith study options that are relevant to them.
Customer Journey Map
A prospect’s journey from a broad idea to a specific choice. It could start anywhere from a fuzzy awareness of opportunities, discovering possibilities, exploring options, refining options, comparing choices, right through to making a decision and applying for a degree.
tuesday - EXPLORING solutionS
After a day of clarifying the challenges and goals of the sprint everyone on the team had the opportunity to engage in visual thinking.
First up each member of the team showcased and discussed three search experiences with features they believed could add value to the desired experience. This enabled everyone to get into a design thinking mindset and provided varied insights to current best practice.
The next exercise the group carried out was the creation and organisation of ‘How Might We’ notes. We reviewed the map, sprint goal and hypothesis to create a series of questions that uncovered the opportunities and challenges we faced in creating a search experience for the Degree Finder. A series of themes were identified and then prioritised (ordinarily we would have interviewed subject matter experts to help formulate important questions).
The prioritisation took place through a silent vote (which helps eliminate group mindset bias). Popular themes were discussed to help inform a follow-on silent ‘super vote’ where we established our targets for the solution sketching exercise (ordinarily a key project decision maker would be the ‘super voter’).
Once the targets were set the team each went away and sketched a range of solutions. You don’t have to be a designer to do this, anyone can sketch a great solution. A diverse team leads to a stronger range of ideas.
wednesday - decide & refine
Decisions, decisions! We had a diverse range of solutions to review after the team put all of their sketches on the wall.
Each team member had five stickers they could use to highlight the most promising solutions. The silent vote commenced and any sketch that received a vote was then presented by its creator. Once all of the chosen solutions had been presented we conducted a super vote to narrow down the contenders.
The super vote narrowed down the solutions to three scenarios which we agreed to progress to the storyboard stage. The storybording process allowed us to refine user flows and reflect on our sprint goal, hypothesis and user journey map.
wednesday - Storyboards
thursday - prototype
This is where we focussed on bringing our solutions to life.
In a live design sprint we would have built a tappable / clickable prototype but for the purposes of this proposal we produced a set of annotated designs so you can get a clear picture of the key aspects of our solution.
As with any design sprint it really is incredible the amount of work you can get done in such a short space of time. Even though the solution is not perfect it presents some great design thinking. In our minds this goes a long way towards delivering a search experience that meets the intended sprint goal.
Design sprints are about speed so please note the following designs will have details that are being used as placeholder content. The benefit is that moving quickly from sketching concepts to testing them with real end users is the fastest way to finding out what works and what doesn’t.
3 Ways to start exploring
With diverse information-seeking behaviours, we need to offer multiple pathways to study options. The journey from a broad idea to a specific choice is catered for with an equivalent range of broad-to-specific ways of finding information.
Friday - Test & learn
This is a vital day within a live design sprint as it is when the solutions developed over the week are tested with end users.
This testing takes place via one on one sessions, where feedback is solicited and users are observed interacting with a tappable or clickable prototype. The whole project team observes, sometimes remotely, to ensure everyone is able to gain valuable insights. It’s far better for stakeholders to make decisions based on first-hand insights rather than second-hand say so.