A multisensory experience for U2
If we talk about the greatest groups of contemporary music, it is unavoidable to name U2. Their great scenographic and technological bets make their concerts great spectacles, even beyond the merely musical plane.
But, what else can U2 do to make a difference?
Why a Design Sprint?
Because it is a methodology designed to solve big problems and test new ideas quickly and efficiently. In just 5 days, it allows anyone to prototype a realistic prototype and test it with users, getting real data.
The goal is to learn more about what the product has to offer and how users will respond to it.
The Design Sprint methodology was developed by Jake Knapp at Google Ventures. According to J. Knapp, the perfect team to make a Design Sprint is 7 people, because more than that slows down the working process. However, each Design Sprint can (and should) be adapted according to the needs of each project.
In this case, it was decided to reorganize the process in such a way that , the first day include a group of 8 people, in order to come up with as many ideas as possible. Thereafter, it was split into two smaller groups of 4 people each to work more efficiently.
First day: understanding
The first day was challenging with many uncertainties due to every single person in the group facing their very first Design Sprint. No one had any idea what the week would bring.
Is it really possible to develop a product in just five days? Will it be a success or a complete failure?
The most beautiful thing about this method is that probably all the doubts we were filled with the first day will be repeated every time we face this process again. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it is just a mixture of excitement and curiosity. It is one of those wonderful moments at the beginning of a new project, with the desire to face a completely new challenge with motivation, but at the same time not knowing where the ideas or even the process will lead us to.
Starting at the end: the challenge
The first thing that was done was to try to understand the problem we were facing and set a long-term goal:
To start the concert experience at the moment you buy the ticket.
The next step was to think about all the questions that could come along during the process in order to have a clear idea of all the hypotheses and obstacles that could rise. The purpose was to try to understand what users would require or want from the moment they purchase a ticket, or even what might not work for them.
Once all the sprint questions were gathered (so many questions!), a map was drawn to identify the points of interaction of our product with the user, and identify points of experience improvement and where friction could occur.
The last step was to ask ourselves how to solve the problem. Again, many questions were gathered and and ordered by topics.
At the end of the day, those ideas that were found most interesting to resolve, based on time and limitations, were voted. The two most voted ideas were chosen and split into two teams of 4 members to continue working on them for the rest of the week. In my group, the question to solve was:
how to turn the concert experience into a multisensory experience through technology.
Second day: sketching
Trying to answer the question of how to make the concert experience a multisensory experience, we decided to focus on users who suffer from sensory loss and bring the concert experience closer to them. In this case, as it is a musical event, we are faced with the challenge of bringing this type of experience to deaf or hard of hearing people.
On this premise, we look for individual references and ideas of existing products that could help us find relevant information to tackle the problem. This was then shared and explained to our colleagues in three minutes.
This is a great way to learn much faster and collaboratively!
Sketch in four steps
The afternoon was set to work individually and make a sketch in four steps. But, what exactly is a four-step sketch?
A four-step sketch consists of:
1º. Notes: Writing down any relevant information that has been shared in the quick demos.
2º. Ideas: Coming up with basic ideas of what could be done.
3º. Crazy 8s: Thinking fast! How else could it be done? It consists of making eight sketches, each in a minute, trying to approach the challenge in a different way each time.
4º. Solution Sketch: Drawing a detailed solution. This is the time to sort out everything that had been done so far and draw a detailed solution of the idea.
We already have four possible solutions!
After the end of this process, we came up with four possible solutions, but we would not look into any of them until the following day.
Third day: Looking for the best solution
The morning of the third day was set to look together into the four possible sketches for the first time. Each of them was checked carefully by every team member and then we made a thermal map with the more interesting ideas.
This allowed us to have a pretty clear idea of what could worked best and then we voted the solution we wanted to develop.
We already have our solution!
Once we decided on the solution to be developed, we set out to draw a storyboard to identify how it would work in a real life situation and detect possible pain points.
Fourth day: Prototyping
The Design Sprint methodology is based on only one prototype being developed per team. In our case, a prototype was developed by every single member of the team so that each of us could fully understand the methodology individually.
The idea was that people could select a specific area, enabled for deaf people, when buying a ticket for U2 concerts. People who purchase this type of ticket will also get a code that will allow them to access an app from which they will have access to:
- Exclusive daily content until the date of the concert.
- Reproduction of the concert Setlist in an adapted form, in sign language or with visual effects.
- Controllers of the physical elements that will allow them to live the experience during the concert itself, such as vibrant platforms or adapted headphones.
Fifth day: Testing
The last day was dedicated to testing the prototypes.
The main challenge faced when testing a product dedicated to the accessibility of deaf and hard of hearing people through the control of physical elements was how to test it.
When explaining the objective of the product and the functionalities, the users were receptive, however, when facing the product in solitary, they found it difficult to understand the functionalities it offered.
In general, “listening” to the songs and adapting the display options were tasks that all the users were able to perform.
One of the requests made to them was to modify the concert preferences. These preferences would turn on or off the different physical elements adapted to transmit vibrations during the concert. At this point, the users had trouble understanding what exactly would happen if they modified these options.
We could not reproduce the sensory experience necessary to understand the main functionalities of the app, and so we could not draw any conclusions about the perception of the experience we were offering.
We could say that the ambition of the challenge could not be fully met, as we were unable to obtain conclusive results by testing the prototype.
However, Design Sprint’s objective was fully met by allowing us to evaluate the viability of our product and to be aware of the needs and constraints we would face in order to launch our product into the market.
In the future, it would be necessary to make a prototype of the physical elements that would accompany the application in order to simulate the full sensory experience and make a new prototype clearer in its options, in order to test it with deaf or hard of hearing users and evaluate whether they would really be interested in the product.