Today’s lesson introduced to us what design briefs are and why they are important. They are used in a project to guide decision making, create a plan of action, and generate a list of deliverables.

A design brief is like a project’s constitution – a set of guidelines to govern the project. It needs to be easy to digest and collaborative to ensure team buy-in and alignment.

A design brief should have the following elements:

  • Why is the project even in existence?
  • What is the project going to entail? What’s the scope?
  • Who is affected by the project?
  • Impact – what does success look like? What metrics will we use?

We were then asked to come up with a design brief for the fictional news agency – “New News”. Here’s what we came up with: New News Design Brief.

Next, we were introduced to sprints and sprint planning. Although I’ve had experience with sprints from past work experience, most of my fellow classmates were new to the concept.

Sprints are a set period of time lasting usually from one to three weeks. They are used to focus a team on the design and development of a smaller portion of a larger project. It makes it easier to accomplish a large project if the project can be divided into smaller, more manageable chunks of work that are distributed into different sprints.

The challenge with sprint planning is to make sure no one on the team is sitting idle at any given time. If there are dependencies between chunks of work, then those need to be taken into account when planning to make sure no one is blocked.

So how does one come up with the actual plan? First, we looked at job stories.

Job stories are similar to user stories but they do a better job at creating more empathy for the user b/c they give situational context and talk about the motivation of the user as opposed to a specific action that the user takes. As such, job stories are less prescriptive of a solution which enables the designer and developer to be more creative in how to solve the problem.

Job stories are written in the form of:

When I [user’s situational context], I want to [motivation], so I can [outcome/benefit].

Whereas user stories are written in the form of:

As a [persona/role], I want to [action], so that [outcome/benefit].

Once the job stories were written, we then grouped them into features to build. Here are the job stories and features that we came up with for New News’ website redesign project.

Finally, we had to assemble a rough sprint plan for redesigning and building New News’ website. And with that complete, we wrapped up Day 3 of the course!

Other UX deliverables that we will produce over the next few days include:

  • Information architecture documents
  • User flows
  • User personas