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The design sprint: Days 1 and 2

engineering, blog

In our last post, we introduced the idea of using a design sprint, along with its potential benefits. In today’s post, we will talk about what we did in the first 2 days.

Personas and User Journeys

This video outlines the first day of a design sprint which is about understanding the problem you are trying to solve.

We started by defining personas so we could understand our users and their needs. We created 4 personas:

  • Nicole, the new grad
  • Bao, the recruiter
  • Ron, the experienced candidate
  • Ahmed, the interviewer

In collaboration with the Capital One recruitment team, we listed traits for each user. For example, here’s Nicole, the new grad:

Next, we used the whiteboard to draw out the user journey - what processes do these personas go through to get what they need?

Discussing personas and user journeys was a valuable process in helping us understand who we are designing for, and what their requirements are.


This video outlines the second day of the DS which is all about formulating promising ideas and sketching these ideas into solutions.

The group started off with a quick refresher of the user journeys. We made sure to isolate any obvious pain points. Many of the pain points were associated with recruiters scheduling candidates and coordinating with interviewers. Solving the scheduling pain point became our goal. We walked through existing solutions to the scheduling problem. With a goal for what we were trying to solve along with ideas from an existing solution, the sketching began.

This sketching exercise was split into four steps, slightly different than the ones outlined in the video.

Step One: Digest

For 15 minutes, we sat with our thoughts and ideas and wrote down any ideas we felt were promising.

Step Two: Crazy 8s

Each member took a large sheet of paper and folded it three times to get eight sections. With this sectioned paper, we were encouraged to do one of three things: pick out eight of your ideas and draw one variation of each, pick out your best idea and draw eight variations of it, or do a combination of the two. This lasted about 15-30 minutes. These designs were drawn with little detail.

This is because we would be sharing our ideas, so it was not necessary that the designs be self-explanatory.

Step Three: Share and Vote

All the crazy 8 designs were taped up to the wall. Each of us took turns presenting our ideas. After all the presentations, we voted on the ideas we liked best by placing tiny circle stickers near the portion of the design we liked on each sheet. We then reviewed our most popular idea and moved it forward into the sketching stage.

Step Four: Sketch

In the last hour, members alone, or in pairs, began sketching a more detailed, self-explanatory version of the ideas from step 3. The entire flow of ideas were to be outlined, keeping in mind they would need to be mapped to a prototype later in the DS.

Some of us found that our ideas were much too abstract to be clearly conveyed to the group. So, we decided to make the goal of the sketching step laying out the flow of our different users. We were also encouraged to keep in mind the pain points discussed earlier and to think in terms of the presented ideas that we liked. At the end of the hour, we were given the option to hand in our sketches or to take the sketches home to complete over the weekend if they were unfinished.

In our next blog post, we will conclude this series by talking about the latter half of the design sprint and what we achieved.

Ealona Shmoel, Matthew Cabral, Mahtab Sabet, Sarmad Ali