Presented by Lana Criggs

Approx. time

1-2 weeks




3-4 Prototypes & 6-7 Interviews before start


Design Team, everyone




Sacrificial concepts are low-fidelity prototypes that represent assumptions (or early ideas) and serve as a conversation basis for in-depth unstructured user interviews. Unlike in a classic user test scenario, this time, you will lay several ideas around a central theme in front of the interviewees and see how they react to them – compare, combine, and add new bits and pieces. The goal here is to encourage creativity and outside-the-box thinking from the people you’re designing for. This way you will generate learnings that don’t leave room for misinterpretation, and can kill assumptions faster and uncover business opportunities sooner.

When to use it?

Why use it?

What is unique about it?

Method steps

Determine a general topic you would like to explore. Think about relevant users and problems they have in their daily life.

Approximately 28 Minutes to finish this step

Gather assumptions of the team – what solutions could your users like or hate? Come up with a list of ideas you want to see your users‘ reaction to.

Approximately 28 Minutes to finish this step

Define 3-4 possible design directions. Sacrificial concepts are often artificially pulled apart to trigger reactions from users to different design directions. They are presented in an unpolished state to make sure feedback doesn’t get hung up on implementation specifics.

Approximately 28 Minutes to finish this step

One way to depict a sacrificial concept is via a value proposition (composed of a tagline plus benefits) sketched quickly on an A4 paper. It could be a marketing page describing potential benefits of using your product/service
!! The point is not to come up with a realistic implementation. Remember, we’re not crafting a prototype to hone in on a solution, much rather we’re creating a discussion basis to learn and afterward decide on one design direction.

Approximately 28 Minutes to finish this step

Recruit participants. TBD

Approximately 28 Minutes to finish this step

Brief participants about the format of the interview. Tell them that you are in a very early stage of your exploration and want to bounce some ideas with them. You are interested in their reactions to a couple of ideas – Some may be silly, some may be absurd, you’re only looking to get their opinions.

Approximately 28 Minutes to finish this step

Conduct interviews. Start off with the user sharing a related story from their life. Then present the 3-4 concepts one after the other. Give interviewees time to study silently concepts you present to them and then ask to describe them aloud like if they’d tell about it to a friend. Be open to however she interprets the concepts
Then invite the user to tweak the concept to make it better suited to their needs. This way you can spot opportunities you might have missed.

Approximately 28 Minutes to finish this step

Downloads & links

Slide deck

Lorep ipsum


Lorep ipsum

Further readings

Lorep ipsum