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I’ve recently started my next endeavor as a UX Lead with the The Home Depot. My focus is on design thinking within the organization. Like many enterprise designers, I am tasked with the arduous request of implementing lean methodologies as it’s difficult to break down silos. To combat this, my first project introduction to the team is a Design Sprint for THD homepage. The goal is to create upfront alignment across cross-functional teams and test assumptions quickly.
As many of you know, THD was named one of the most innovative companies of 2017 by Fast Company. This is due largely to our focus on connecting the physical store to the digital world. In 2017 THD continues to place a focus on delivering meaningful and frictionless experiences across all customer touchpoints.
As an important project for this year’s focus, our team set out to use a Design Sprint to help re-envision THD homepage as an interconnected and personalized One Home Depot. Specifically, we set-out to design a new homepage that dynamically serves meaningful content based on targeted user segments.
In the week preceding the sprint, we performed several pre-sprint exercises to set the sprint and team up for success. These exercises were centered around THD and our Customers.
We spent time understanding problems the business is passionate about solving. Specifically, we embarked on two business alignment workshops, default future and a visioning exercise.
In the default future exercise, we asked ourselves if nothing changes what will the future of the homepage look like? From this, we landed on four main themes. Next, we posed the question of what the ideal state of the homepage is and synthesized these themes. Now that we spoke with the business, we shifted our focus to our customer base. I used a sample survey to build a high-level view of our users perception of the current homepage.
Our sprint team was made up of representatives from design, product and content. On Monday, we set out to re-frame our problem and landed on a business goal:
Homepage will act as a personalized dashboard that serves relevant content to each customer and can be accessed from anywhere.
Additionally, we focused on one data point for new users with one additional data point for existing users.
Once we had our target, the team began to ideate on solutions using the four step sketch process. This process is centered around the philosophy of “work alone but together.” Specifically, the notion is that group brainstorms aren’t effective. Instead, we leveraged our group brain on several activities geared toward each person thinking through solutions individually.
After we chose a design direction, we opted to use a modular cut-paper approach for storyboarding. This allowed us to explore different layouts very quickly with no risk on re-drawing.
In the end, we were able to identify modules that tested well based on the user goals and data points selected. These were prioritized into follow-up UI refinement workshops.
Our retrospective revealed that the team praised the framework for it’s ability to create upfront alignment and collaboration. Furthermore, we do plan to run subsequent mini-sprints around the prioritized modules. For anyone looking to run sprints themselves, I recommend reading the book and jumping right in. It is important to frame your problem and research ahead of time and vet it for the sprint. Once this is done, the book lays out a great agenda that you can use out the gate.
In closing, Design Sprints are an excellent framework for answering critical business questions and testing assumptions. That said, I will continue to use Design Sprints as part of my design thinking toolkit as I drive experiences for the Interconnected Retail team.