For Aesthetic Workshop 2010, Download And Install Business Intelligence Tools – Running a remote UX workshop can be extremely challenging. To avoid disaster, it is important that facilitators follow best practices, adhere to proven techniques, and prepare thoroughly.
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For Aesthetic Workshop 2010, Download And Install Business Intelligence Tools
Carlos is a user experience strategist, researcher and strategist who creates useful, simple and enjoyable digital products and services.
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Today’s top designers are more than creative; they are facilitators. In an increasingly multidisciplinary, collaborative and creative process that involves many participants, they act as conduits that align and inspire the team to do their best.
UX workshops are probably one of the best ways to put this into practice. The rise of ideologies such as Design Thinking, Lean UX, and Design Sprints have made UX workshops a necessity, and for designers, the ability to facilitate a design workshop is a highly desired skill.
A UX workshop consists of inviting your team (other designers, developers, product managers, etc.) into a conference room, creating an agenda around a goal (e.g. a new product functionality prototype) and coming up with some collaboration techniques , such as brainstorming and sketching. You’ll get better results doing this than trying to manage everything yourself—and as an added bonus, cultivate a more engaged, motivated team.
Imagine doing this with remote team members across a large geographic area without face-to-face communication in a situation where technical issues are highly likely to occur. If running a design workshop with a collaborative team (all in the same physical location) is already a challenge, taking it remotely can be a real frustration and waste of time if you ignore critical, tried and true facilitation techniques.
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Let’s take a look at some time-tested practices that will help make a remote UX workshop run smoothly. We’ll also look at what happens before, during and after, as well as some of the pitfalls to watch out for.
Planning and facilitating a remote design workshop requires preparation and collaboration. It is a good idea to delegate some tasks to others. This will help avoid difficulties and any unpleasant surprises during the workshop – such as collecting notes and explaining the next steps at the same time.
This is the person (most likely you) who will, among other things, “run the show,” manage collaboration and the workshop schedule, set the pace of activities, and keep participants engaged. Your primary mission is to help the team be productive and keep the workshop flowing. Be a servant leader. Depending on the technique of the remote workshop, you can also participate (for example, you can lead a prototyping session and sketch at the same time).
Given that a facilitator can only be in one location at a time, each of the remote locations should have a local assistant who can contribute alongside the rest of the team. It is important to have someone on the other side who:
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Nothing is more frustrating than a great discussion or idea generation interrupted by a lost connection, a screen sharing problem, too much echo in the room, or the realization that you can’t see the details of the sketch your colleague made on paper and positions himself ineffectually in front of the camera to watch and give feedback. This list could be long.
Despite the fact that the ultimate performance of a remote UX workshop depends heavily on the technology and the room, many of us still take it for granted that everything will work out. This assumption can be dangerous. While it’s probably not possible to run a perfect UX workshop, with a little planning and enough testing, you can avoid most of the negative surprises. Make sure you have:
Finally, once you’ve checked off the above items on your list, be sure to test everything well before the workshop. Then test again if you can.
Plan ahead with your local assistant and decide which workshop techniques and tools you will use for the results you want to achieve.
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One of the most difficult challenges in running a remote UX workshop is finding the perfect mix of digital and physical tools. It’s a delicate balance as both have their advantages and disadvantages; one must choose wisely.
The goal is for the workshop to flow while efficiently handling the stream of data (content) it generates. You want the team to generate ideas quickly, but you also want to get the most out of those ideas by processing them in a way that achieves maximum productivity (grouping, merging, splitting, prioritizing, etc.). Here are two different strategies for this combination:
This approach applies when you create most artifacts “analog” using pen+paper and digitize them later by scanning or taking photos. This approach is best when:
For example, in a workshop concept called a “design studio,” session participants can quickly sketch by hand, capture images with their mobile phone, and share via Dropbox or Slack. Another example is a short brainstorming session where you only have a few slips to prioritize (less than 20) and someone can quickly type the slips into a spreadsheet for easier sorting and prioritization.
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Use this approach when using digital tools to create and manage workshop-generated content (such as whiteboards and online spreadsheets). This approach is best when:
A good example of using this workshop approach is when the team creates affinity diagrams, empathy maps or user journeys using virtual whiteboards.
Another scenario where this approach works is when you need to gather ideas in brainstorming sessions. Instead of sticking to the whiteboard (physical or virtual), you can use a shared online spreadsheet where each participant enters their ideas in the cells of the spreadsheet (see below).
You can also speed up the process of selecting and prioritizing ideas during brainstorming using automatic calculation and sorting functions. In the example below, the team had to choose the best ideas from more than 40 that they had previously considered. The spreadsheet allows for voting on the best ideas and automatically sorts the list by number of votes. The whole process took less than 8 minutes.
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Workshop participants voted on ideas (column B) by entering points on a scale of 5 to 1 in their designated columns (columns C through L). The spreadsheet then calculates the total number of points (votes) for each idea, allowing the facilitator to quickly sort the results (column M).
We discussed two approaches for a UX workshop (1: mostly physical and 2: mostly digital); in the “real” world you can use a hybrid approach and mix aspects of both. Let’s imagine a one-day design workshop for which we can apply the following method (given that everything is done via video conference):
Make sure you have everything ready to use when the workshop starts: templates, pre-filled documents, virtual whiteboards, etc. Prepare thoroughly and don’t waste everyone’s time by setting yourself up in front of them.
It’s a good idea to get feedback from your team after the workshop and identify areas that can be improved. The best time to do this is right after it’s done because everything will still be fresh. For example, as a result of the extensive use of technology in the case of a predominantly digital approach, many pitfalls and potential problems invariably surface – discussing why they occurred and how to avoid this happening again is of great benefit to any team.
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Before the workshop, prepare a short anonymous online survey and send the link to the participants immediately after the workshop. Be sure to track each aspect as a separate section (equipment and techniques used, communications, remote technologies, software, workshop duration, etc.) and let the team leave comments, not just rate or tick.
There are many other ways to get feedback after the workshop – such as asking the team to post comments on a wall (physical or virtual) or conducting one-on-one interviews. Choose the one that suits you best, but don’t waste the opportunity.
The assets generated during the workshop are not only useful while it is running, but can be used for further discussions or as a starting point for other workshops.
With a traditional (or mostly non-digital) approach, you’re likely to end up with stacks of slips of paper, handwritten notes and sketches. If that’s the case, it’s good practice to keep at least the most important artifacts until you’re sure you can release them. You also have the option to digitize them (take pictures, spreadsheets, etc.).
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With a mostly digital approach, you won’t have as much paper to deal with, but the digital artifacts generated will still need to be organized, sorted, and archived in some kind of system. It’s best not to leave a messy list of incomplete, abandoned files that will cause headaches in the future – take some time right after the workshop to organize them. You can do this in two ways:
Using different techniques and tools, remote UX workshops can deliver the same results as co-located workshops. If done right, the productivity benefits boosted by digital collaboration tools make up for the lack of face-to-face discussion.
Planning and conducting a remote UX design workshop is not rocket science, but very complex
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