dscout Sprint App Helps Designers Build Empathy Under Extreme Deadlines

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With new research tool, relevance trumps usability--puts people’s reality above clicks and taps

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Raw user videos help us understand where a product is or isn’t resonating with people. Some responses may speak to usability, but usability doesn’t mean someone will actually use a product.

Research experts and software makers at dscout this month launched Sprint, the first research tool to automatically collect and organize raw, unfiltered videos that inform designers about a product’s relevance to real people---going beyond simple usability testing and beyond the friends and family that designers historically rely on for fast feedback.

“As a product manager, what I really want most every day is feedback from real people … in person. But what product team can do that every day? It’s unsustainable and it’s expensive. And it takes too long to run a project as a full research team might,” said Sprint product manager, Jack Wheeler.

“dscout Sprint is the next best thing to bringing actual people into your office on the day you want feedback,” Wheeler added.

Wheeler says Sprint customers are launching research projects in less than 5 minutes, receiving analysis in less than 24 hours, and sharing results immediately. To date, the tool has been used by user-oriented product teams at Marriott and Threadless, as well as Kevin Wong, currently Airbnb’s design team lead:

”Sprint simplifies gathering feedback … It's as easy as it sounds and helped our team quickly find big gaps in our product that needed to be filled,” Wong said.

The new Sprint tool is comprised of two parts: First is an online platform where customers launch and analyze a test on any app, prototype or website -- even those of competitors. Second is a mobile app, used by testers who are screened and recruited from dscout’s pool of 100,000+ participants.

Wheeler said that Sprint’s high-speed project turnarounds appeal to product teams who are trying to build empathy for user experiences but have tight timelines.

“Research hasn’t caught up with the speed of tech product design. Timelines don’t leave room for the days needed to recruit and design studies, or to gather and analyze feedback, as a research team might be able to do. Sprint cuts through that by delivering short videos that can be collected and shared in one day,” Wheeler said.

dscout has published Sprint projects for Google Duo and Instagram Stories to show the three kinds of feedback submitted by Sprint testers: 30-second “selfie” videos, quantitative scores, and remote screen-sharing. Wheeler emphasizes that Sprint is not a tool designed to gauge usability.

“If I build a product, and it’s really easy to use, I might still see a 90% drop-off rate if the product doesn’t do something that people actually care about. I’ll want to understand more about that.” Wheeler said.

“Raw user videos help us understand where a product is or isn’t resonating with people. Some responses may speak to usability, but usability doesn’t mean someone will actually use a product.”

Although Sprint is not positioned as a usability product, the tool’s screen recording feature can contextualize a tester’s responses, and show every tap and touch within their session. The company sees Sprint as a likely complement for other prototyping tools that aim to help customers get feedback.

Because it falls outside typical usability offerings, Wheeler admits that Sprint sometimes requires explanation before customers understand its value.

“It’s a bit of an educational leap to understand how to harness all the information delivered in such a condensed time and format,” he said. “The basic idea, though, is to inject the voice of users into your design decisions.”


dscout offers web platforms and mobile apps to help companies scale and simplify user research at an unprecedented level by extending reach, improving efficiency, and reducing costs by up to 70 percent. Sprint is dscout’s newest offering. For more information, email Jack Wheeler (jack(at)dscout(dot)com).

press contact
Kari Dean McCarthy, dscout director of content
kari(at)dscout(dot)com, 312.342.1211

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