A few weeks ago, Slice of Lime was invited to speak at the TechStars-powered Nike+ Accelerator in Portland, Oregon. The accelerator’s purpose is “to allow companies to leverage the Nike+ platform, and NikeFuel, to build offerings that inspire and assist people to live more active, healthy lifestyles.”
We held office hours with the teams and gave a presentation on “Lean UX”, stressing that user experience can be done quickly and effectively without investing a lot of time and money. In fact, it could be done for free within one day’s time.
In the Nike+ Accelerator, ten startups receive $20,000 to build an application over a three-month period. With a tight schedule, and a relatively small budget, each startup needs to iterate quickly and be willing to pivot when necessary (which is often). For many startups this is easier said than done. It’s hard to get through a large queue of ideas quickly while also allowing for customer feedback.
At Slice of Lime we don’t start a project without knowing how we will be getting feedback and validation on our work. We use a variety of tools to get feedback from our client’s users. We typically start by sharing our own internal sketches, move to high-fidelity wireframes, and eventually show designs and functioning code.
As an early-stage or pre-funded startup, working with a UX Design agency may not be in the budget. And that’s OK! It’s still possible to integrate a smart user experience into your workflow.
To demonstrate this, we came up with our own Nike+ Accelerator startup, and used it as a case-study.
Enter “Gut Check,” a conceptual iOS app based on the Nike+ API. The idea is simple: after checking in to one of Portland’s many great breweries (Foursquare, Facebook), Gut Check prompts the user to enter how many beers they’ve consumed, then calculates an activity that will burn off those extra (delicious) calories. Once the activity is complete, some clever calculations are done, letting the user know if they have kept off the beer gut.
How long did it take us to develop a basic idea like this, sketch out a few prototypes, AND get user feedback? Five hours. That’s right. Less than a day’s worth of work.
The only bit of technology we used is POP App (free on the Apple App store). A couple pieces of paper and some pens and we were on our way! Here’s how it works:
- Sketch out the idea on paper.
- Snap a photo of the paper using the POP App.
- Add some tappable areas and link them to other “pages.”
- Grab someone to test on.
- Push play!
It’s pretty simple, and was actually quite fun. The best part about this approach to an idea is the ability to rapidly iterate and adjust based on feedback. A tester doesn’t like one of the navigation labels? Change it, and test again.
Here’s some video of one of our test sessions below.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Get feedback, and get it early.
- Don’t worry about making the sketches perfect. They are going to change.
- Have fun!