An important part of user research is facilitating workshops. Workshops are a crucial starting point of any user experience project because they help teams empathize with customers, define problems within the customer journey, and brainstorm solutions to those problems.

Before holding a workshop, it is important to align expectations with everyone attending and organizing to help facilitate the process of identifying common goals and outcomes. When participants come in knowing what is being asked of them, it will also be easier to engage full participation by walking them through the process, agenda and topics to be covered.

Group activities, like workshops, encourage honesty and real conversations to uncover customer (end-user) pain points. We recommend starting the workshop with icebreakers to encourage people to open up and share without worrying about finding the “right answer” or looking foolish. Icebreakers also help push people to think creatively by starting them off with some an easy and fun activity that only requires participation. A great example is asking people to create a six word story that describes themselves.

Workshops should be used to hone in on identifying the problem, clarifying pain points, defining what competitors are doing, and deciding what can be done to improve the customer experience. User Experience is all about thinking like the customer so it’s very important to create a user persona to begin the workshop; get everyone in the mindset of being an end user of the product. Then, conduct exercises including but not limited to: customer empathy mapping, customer journey mapping, ecosystem mapping, how-might-we’s, building a priority matrix, and on. These are all used to discover possible problems and brainstorm solutions to these problems.

Credit: The Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning (CITL)

When it comes to data collection, the larger and more diverse (different teams and levels within the company) the group the better the data because more points of views are shared and ideas funneled. Workshops are really for uncovering any problems through honest and open communication (as such, are started with the icebreakers). We want to do our best to end the workshop with ideas for solutions to problems discovered.

However, it’s important to understand that the solutions garnered in workshops will not always be the final solutions; there will be analysis, building and testing before a final solution can be determined. Workshops are the necessary first step in solving user experience issues.

Interested to know more about User Experience workshops and how Saggezza can help your company facilitate one?  Contact our experienced delivery team today at: contact@saggezza.com.