Design sprint

for a photo editing app

Project type

This is a concept design challenge provided by Bitesize UX as a part of my UX/UI Design course at Springboard. It's a simulation of the real world project where I received all required materials about the company such as goals, challenges, research results, Personas etc.

My role

My role was to run a solo design sprint using client materials I've been provided with through all Design Sprint stages, including define, ideate, sketch, prototype and test.

# project brief

GramCity logo

GramCity is a photo editing mobile app that helps users to easily make their photos look awesome before sharing them on Instagram or other social media networks.

Project goal

GramCity wants to explore how they can help their users find the most Instagram-able locations to take a photo near them or in a certain place/city.

design challenges and constraints

  • Solution should be designed and tested in 5 days following Design Sprint framework.
  • The solution should be designed as a feature for the existing mobile editing app.
  • GramCity wants to help users find physical places and locations.
  • GramCity wants to create an active community of users who find & share their favourite locations.

Finding the best locations to take a photo can

# problem space

Take a lot of time

Researching for the best photo locations when planning a trip can be time-consuming.

Cause distraction

Exploring great photo-ops near you  while enjoying the trip may be challenging.

Eventually disappoint

Sometimes, the picture you’ve painted of your destination is not the same as what it’s like in reality, which may ruin the trip.

A young woman with a phone thinking hard


# design process

To plan the Design Sprint, I used a DIY guide, which suggests the following steps:

Day 1 - Monday

Understand the design challenge and map a solution.

Day 2 - Tuesday

A review of existing ideas and sketching of a solution.

Day 3 - Wednesday

Decide and weave winning screens into a storyboard.

Day 4 - Thursday

Quick prototyping using 'fake it' philosophy.

Day 5 - TGIF

Interview potential customers and learn by watching them react to the prototype.

DAY 1 - monday


Research highlights

Tell us about how you find new places to take a photo?


  • Explore great places and ideas for photos
  • Spend less time on research
  • Plan a day and build routes in advance
  • Do not miss good spots near me while I’m there


I’ve been provided with 2 key personas I need to focus on:

A selfie of a young man

#start at the end

I needed to set a long-term goal for the design sprint to get started. After that, I defined possible reasons preventing us from meeting the goal and turned them into design questions for this sprint.

#map possible solutions

Once the end goal and the sprint questions were identified, I created a basic map for the project.

The map consists of steps that the user would need to take to achieve that goal. This simple map defines the direction for my ideas generation, which I will be doing tomorrow.



Lightning demos

On Day 2, I conducted quick research and highlighted four different instruments people use to find good photography spots on the internet.

The problem is that none of them works well without the others. More details below.

Additionally, I found very helpful to study apps that help users discover other products or content in different places globally, e.g. booking websites.

#learn, remix and improve

Instagram & pinterest

  • On Instagram and Pinterest, you often can’t get the exact location of the photospot, but they are excellent tools for photo inspiration and finding beautiful places.
  • The other big con of these tools is the lack of search refining instruments.
  • Sometimes, it may take a lot of time scrolling through lots of ‘average’ or not relevant photos to find a few good ones.

Google search & Google maps

  • With google search, you have an excellent search engine to specify the type of places you’re looking for. But such research is time consuming.
  • Google maps are good to find visually pleasant backgrounds in a moment with a live view option and create lists of places to visit, but there are no best photo example options at hand.


  • In addition to classic instruments for photo spots, I also thought of examples where users can see photos/stories on a map, such as Periscope and Snapchat.
  • I liked the navigation bar in Periscope and the option to switch between map and list view.

#sketching out ideas

Crazy 8s sketch

I sketched eight different ideas in 8 minutes. Here is what I had:

The next step is to choose the best one. My choice was a sketch no.8 because it includes a map view, a list of places near you, filtered and sorted to your preferences. A user can also see the place’s rating and how many people have shared a photo taken there.

A solution sketch

I needed to sketch a 3-panel board at the end of Day 2 consisting of the critical screen, plus one screen before and after the critical screen. I’ve decided that the browsing page for the photo spot search is the critical screen that will lead us to the goal. Thus, I started off sketching with this screen.

Photo Editor screen
before Critical
Photo-ops browser
Critical screen
A photo spot profile
after Critical

Day 2 Key Design Decisions

  • The navbar will have links to 3 starting pages: photo editor, my account, and photo spots browser.
  • Every place will contain the address and directions to get there
  • Sites can be shown on a list or a map.
  • A user can set up notifications for catching a new photo spot near him while he is traveling. It will help the user not to miss good photo-ops.



A storyboard

My goal for Day 3 was to create a detailed storyboard: a step-by-step plan that guides the prototype. I split my storyboard based on 4 different user flows.

User story 1. browsing

To start the photo spot search the user needs to find the ‘explore’ page using bottom navigation.

The user starts the search by entering an address/city or choosing her current location. The user can jump to a map view if needed. When the user sees the search results, she can navigate there, add them to the trip planner or open a page to get more details.

The user can refine the search and sort it, save her filter preferences and set up notifications when a new place will be detected near her. It will help users not to miss out on a good photo op at any time.

User story 2. Directions and live view

When the user clicks on the map view, she sees the options available around her with a small photo near the spot. It will help the user select the places that are in the same direction.

The user can also check out the live view to know what to expect.

User story 3. User account and trip planner

In her account, the user can see all photos she shared with the community and collections of places saved for the trip planned.

The user can click on one of the trip collections and see the trip plan. Once the user gets to the location on the list, she can check the visited site on her trip list. In this case, the user sees the success statement and the review form to share photos made at the location and rate her experience.

User story 4. Photo spot preview

By clicking on the photo spot, the user sees its profile with detailed information about the place and all photos shared by the community.

The user can tap on any image and scroll the page down to see other photos. Additionally, the user can add pictures to her favorites to save her photo references.


#quick prototyping

Quick but realistic

For the quick prototyping exercise, I chose Figma because I have the highest exposure to it. I tried to find the right balance between creating the disposable prototype for the design sprint and making it look realistic. I've built 19 screens in one day. It looked very raw but as promised in Design Sprint, it was more than enough to test my ideas and learn.

Open screens in Figma

Prototype demo

To stitch my screens together, I chose the MarvelApp as one of the quickest tools for creating prototypes.


#validate and learn

Usability testing

Number 5 is called the magic number for UX usability testing because the science tells us that returns diminish drastically once you add more than five users to a test group. At the same time, it’s crucial to pick the right participants who align with the users who would actually interact with my product and get the most out of the 5 test users in a research session.

remote moderated usability test participants

General User feedback


  • All participants confirmed that they look for new ways to speed up the photo spot research.
  • In general, users demonstrated great enthusiasm about this idea, and 4 out of 5 participants said they couldn’t wait to try the app.


  • 3 out of 5 participants mentioned that they don’t understand the primary goal of the app. They prefer to use single-purpose apps.

Key Usability findings

  • Participants loved the photo spots notification idea but were quite unsure how it all works together: filters, notifications, and remote search.
  • 3 out of 5 users expected to see past trips in my account page in analogy with Instagram’s highlights rather than planned trips.
  • 5 out of 5 users were unable to find how to skip the review form.

Planning next steps


Overall, results of this design sprint showed that this idea has great potential and helped identify a lot of opportunities for improvement.

01. To think around having a single-purpose app instead of creating a new feature.

02. To improve the experience of the user interaction with the trip planning feature.

For instance, it shouldn’t be misinterpreted as Instagram’s Highlights. Successful states on completion can add satisfaction for the user and the ability to share your travel plans with friends. Progress bar/completion % and the number of places left on the list can be handy as well.

03. To define user stories and build the user flows on photo posting process:

Can the user upload the photo without linking it to any photo spot?
Do we want the user to share other content apart from photo spots she visited?
Can the user link any place on the photo spot or only those on her trip lists?

04. When the user is asked to contribute, it should be easy to skip and flexible.

Consider an option to skip the review form, add a comment, and upload photos from your Instagram.

05. The idea of an on-site photo-ops notification system is good but needs refinements.

It should be clear to the user how and when to use it. Additionally, the feature might be introduced on the filter menu.

06. When the user creates a trip plan, she wants to see a single route with all the destinations.

Consider an option to skip the review form, add a comment, and upload photos from your Instagram.

Key learnings

A design sprint is an excellent tool for the Lean UX and Lean startup methodologies.

By spending only five days on this product, you find the right direction, start asking the right questions, and what is more important, save a massive amount of time on creating unnecessary stuff. Quick prototyping helps you create a product that will most likely trigger a lot of criticism from your participants, which basically means that you will discover the great solutions much quicker.

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