User-centered Design Sprint for creating a HubSpot app

Recently we built an app for HubSpot to interface with Xero. HubSpot is approaching 50,000 customers and Xero recently broke the million mark, and based on feedback from the HubSpot team, there was definitely a need.

So we wanted to create an app to organically interface between two existing product designs and decided a user-centred design sprint was the perfect fit.

Developed by Google, the user-centred Design Sprint is a “greatest hits” of business strategy, innovation, behaviour science and design thinking, wrapped into five intensive days of answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and user-testing.

So, this is how it went:

Day 1

For Day 1 we started at the end. We reverse engineered the problem to identify exactly the right place to start. The first day of any user-centred design sprint is about information gathering to gain enough expert opinion that you can identify an achievable long-term goal and create the roadmap to hit it.

Day 2

Was all about solutions. There’s rarely just one solution to a problem, so we focussed on getting all of the team’s ideas catalogued so they can be reviewed, revised and revamped. Despite being called a ‘design’ sprint, this stage is really about critical thinking and how we need to use design to solve problems.

Day 3

Revolved around identifying which solution was best aligned with our long-term goal. Afterall,  we couldn’t prototype them all! Once we’d gone through the process to decide on the best solution, it was storyboarding time to create a step-by-step plan for our app.

Day 4

We split into teams to turn our storyboard into a prototype. Divide and conquer! We weren’t looking to have a functioning product, just a realistic façade we could test with our customer user group.

Day 5

Was the nerve-wracking bit, testing it with real live humans! The feedback was great though. We’d got the majority of the functionality mapped into the prototype, and with only some minor additions we were able to put it into production the following week.

And we’re done!

All told, the project took 6 weeks, and without the user-centred Design Sprint it could easily have been double that.

The app is now up and live on the HubSpot App store. Called XeroSync, our plugin enables users to invoice deals directly from HubSpot, saving time, reducing the risk of error and increasing efficiency. Check it out at https://xerosync.engaging.io/

If you need help developing a product or realising a concept and need expert help to get to the right solution as quickly as possible then drop us a line.

You might also find it useful to read our article on prototyping.