September 17, 2018

How to use Post-it Notes, Part 3

Design Sprint Day 1.2 — It’s called a SPRINT for a REASON.

Post-its to the Windows, to the Walls. Wall space is a limited resource.

Part 3 of 3 of the series “How to use Post-it Notes”

Overview | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Welcome back!

In Part 2, we took a particularly traumatising shower and built ourselves a means of finding our audience.

We’ve drawn the map, agonised over where exactly we can help and who we’re designing for.

The issue is: Having One Map doesn’t necessarily mean we have One Who. Yet.

Let’s get into it.

A Re-cap on reading the Map

Consider this:

Parts 1 and 2 of “How to use Post-it Notes” took place within half of a day.

…I’m not kidding.

Let that sink in.

Building the Map had been an exercise in defining our challenge.

In half a day, we had:

  • Become aware of the problem,
  • Understood the struggle, and
  • Empathised with our audience.

In the second half of that day, our task would be to develop solutions for that audience.

Big day.

It’s called a Sprint for a Reason. Right?

1:30p.m. Now. Pick a target, again

We thought we’d already narrowed down our audience. But remember?

We can’t help everyone.

But we can help someone. So now, we must narrow down more. Narrow down to one Who. That’s our aim. So, which Who do we aim for?

First, we must consider the fact that:

The Who is a user, but the user isn’t the only target.

We identify our users, but our role is to design their experience. So, our target must be the combination of both the user and a moment in that user’s journey.

Our user’s experience is essentially a combination of many of these moments. And each of these moments is an opportunity.

At this point, the team and I had become aware that each of us would be building and prototyping our own solution.

The assumption was that we must create a product manageable for us to:

  • Prototype in one day (Thursday), and
  • Perform Usability Tests on the next (Friday).

Think together in silence

The Structure. We would tackle creating solutions alone, then share our findings in the next step together- and Repeat.

Inside of our Design Sprint, while the team sketched solutions- we would work alone, but together. This was powerful.

Everyone has something valuable to contribute. But rather than battle for attention- each of us committed our contributions to paper in silence, working in the same room.

We separated, to generate ideas and define them without distraction. Only then would we re-join together, to present and share solutions.

Using this structure felt incredibly effective to me.

3 p.m. First, look around quietly

The first step was a round of Lightning Demos:

The Lightning Demo. Sit quietly for 30 minutes, find solutions to the struggle you’re designing for, present those solutions for 3 minutes.

The Lightning Demo reminds us that there is no one correct solution for any struggle. There are many.

Everything’s been done- so we may as well learn from all of the things. We looked at the solutions that already exist around us- and presented the reasons why they’re great with everyone for 3 minutes each.

4 p.m. Then, review and ideate

The Four-Step Sketch. Look around at everything you’ve researched- take notes on the priorities for 20 mins, Doodle Ideas for the next 20 mins, Fold your paper into 8- sketch an idea in one square each minute- for 8 mins. Take the idea you believe in most, give it a catchy name and describe it in three panels (post-its) in ~30mins

I look at The four-step sketch as a means of focusing myself and my team creatively. The combination of time constraint and variation in exercise brought a certain atmosphere of (sometimes, nervous) energy to the process.

The first three steps are introspective, quiet- while you gather your notes and resources, push through the first round of ideation and rush your way through a series of 8 fast-paced concept sketches- you have the comfort in knowing that these are just for you.

But the fourth takes your final concept and turns it outward. This final titled concept, your Solution Sketch, is for everybody’s eyes. Made to be shared.

Complete with a catchy titles and some short descriptions of the process- this final step closes out our day.

At the end, we each take the Solution Sketch we’ve drawn and place it up on the wall. Here, it can be seen by the whole team- in preparation for tomorrow.

(I’ll cover the final few steps of our sprint in the case study of Magneet- my product of this process).


  • Work Together, Individually. Creation doesn’t need to become a battle to be heard among your team.
  • First, you look around. Then, you ideate. There’s always something to be learned from previous successes, even if they’re not your own.
  • All ideas are made equal. Everyone sketches- and everyone can sketch, no exceptions.
Thank you so much for reading!

I’m Eli Hughes, an Illustrator and UX Designer living in Amsterdam.

I love stories and I love people. I spend a bunch of my time thinking about what people do and why people do it.

Follow me to hear about the next article on my experience in the Codaisseur Design Academy Next Week!

How to use Post-it Notes, Part 3 was originally published in Codaisseur Academy on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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