This post was written for BoagWorld.com
One of the first steps towards creating a human-centered website is to conduct a User Experience (UX) workshop at the very start of the project. In this article, we will look at how to prepare, who to invite, what to bring and how to make sure your UX workshop is a successful and productive event.
Why Should You Deliver a UX Workshop?
User Experience workshops are built on collaboration, designed to bring together different perspectives from across an organisation. They help stakeholders to think like and empathise with their customers (users), can improve communication between stakeholders, and ultimately bring about clarity and a collective sense of ownership, so that projects can move forward with a shared goal in mind.
How to prepare for a UX Workshop?
The secret to getting ahead is getting started, and the secret to getting a UX workshop started is preparation. You will need to have a solid plan, formulated well in advance so that you can maximise the possibility of a successful outcome whilst ensuring your participants are engaged and enlightened.
Who should attend a UX Workshop?
A UX workshop is a great opportunity to bring stakeholders together and get them on the same page before a website redesign project gets underway. Getting buy-in from stakeholders early on in a website redesign is a great way to ensure they feel invested in the project and provides them with an opportunity to have their say. Ultimately, this is a good thing for all parties and will increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.
At a bare minimum, you will want to invite everyone who will be working on the project. It’s also wise to include any key decision makers and anyone who can provide insights into the organisation and its customers.
It’s especially useful if you can invite those who will fly the flag for the end user. Staff in customer-facing roles are perfectly placed to represent the customers point-of-view and will be able to offer valuable insights into the customers wants, needs, problems and pain-points.
Where possible, inviting actual users to your workshop is highly recommended and will help to demystify any incorrect preconceptions that stakeholders may have.
What You Need to Run a UX Workshop
In order to run a successful workshop, you’ll need to be prepared and keep your attendees engaged. Here are a few things you’ll need to get started:
- A space to hold your workshop. It’s preferable that stakeholders are physically present, not connecting in from elsewhere. The room should be spacious, so you can move around it easily, and activities can be carried out without treading on each other’s toes.
- Tools for activities. Post-it notes, sharpies, large sheets of paper, coloured dot stickers and anything else you can think of that will help your activities run smoothly.
- Research or user-feedback. Anything you already know that will provide insight as to what your users need. Any prior research, such as User Personas or data from analytics, should be available to be shared with your group.
- A spare pair of hands. Ideally, you’ll enlist the help of a facilitator who can support you in keeping activities on track, taking notes and ensuring your plan runs to schedule.
- A plan and a goal. Be sure participants know how the day is going to look, it’s a good idea to put this somewhere that it will be visible throughout the workshop. Explain the activities, what’s expected and what you hope to get out of the workshop by the end of it.
UX Workshop Tips and Tricks
Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind:
- Create a ‘Parking Lot’ – This is a place to put ideas or insights that are off-topic or outside of the scope of the current workshop.
- Summarise responses – Some people like to give long and complex responses to your questions. Summarise it as soon as possible to show that you understand and to help other participants keep up.
- Leave the screens outside and ask your audience to do the same. This will encourage participation, better focus and engagement.
- Come prepared – Know how you’re going to kick off the workshop and have an agenda that you share and stick to.
- Take regular breaks – to help creativity and productivity.
A day in the life of a UX Workshop
The content and activities of a UX workshop will differ depending on the client, although the desired outcome can often be the same. With that in mind, here’s a sample plan for a full day UX workshop.
Read the Sample UX Workshop Plan for a Website Redesign on Boagworld.
The format and content of a UX workshop will change depending on the product, desired outcome, and deliverables. But in this article, we kept our focus on running a UX workshop prior to a website redesign.
At the end of the workshop, you will have a greater insight into the organisationscustomers.
This UX workshop should help you to:
- Clearly define who the audience is.
- Gain a better understanding of what the website needs to deliver to its users.
- Provide a starting point from which wireframes can be developed for key pages of the site, such as the homepage.
So if you are considering redesigning your website, start with a UX workshop. It will transform your project, and if you need help making that happen, drop me an email.