Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light


This is a template for the Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light exercise. The exercise is best used when a team isn’t satisfied with their existing application design, mockups, or marketing design and believes that they can be improved upon. It should be conducted after gathering insights from usability testing or user research.

How to Use Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light Template

Step 1: Prepare

As a team writes down a problem statement, go over research that has been collected up to this point, explain the short-term goals of the exercise and long-term goals of the project.

Also talk about things that aren’t on the table for a change. For example, API constraints that are out of our control.

Step 2: Add Mockups/Designs

Take screenshots, actual designs, wireframes or any visual that represents what you are trying to test.

Give each idea a simple and memorable name to help creating a unified language among your team.

Step 3: Assign Colors

Ask your team to assign a color (red, yellow, or green) for each idea and briefly explain the reason behind their decision.

Step 4: Clustering & Discussing

Cluster similar ideas then discuss each cluster with your team. Try to arrive to a consensus among your team on each idea whether you should do it, do it with some adjustment, or discard.

With larger groups, consensus can sometimes be difficult. Use dot voting to create consensus.

Step 5: Wrap up

Once the voting is complete, take a look at what some of the most popular pieces of feedback are and start to map that to the time that you have to do the work. Start to prioritize the changes: which are most important to do right away, and which probably need some more thought and validation.

This template is based on thoughtbot's blogpost about the same subject.


Rami Taibah image
Rami Taibah
Senior Designer@thoughtbot
I am currently a product designer at thoughtbot. Prior to joining thoughtbot, I worked as a product designer for many of the top Middle Eastern startups and brands including Salla, Hunger Station, AlBaik, Savola, Saudi Telecom, and many others.
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