When thinking about design, we often only think about the visual elements that our users interact with. But digital product design isn’t just about aesthetics - it should also be about understanding the product and business goals. UX design strategies determine how your digital product will solve your users’ problems while helping you achieve your business objectives. This is why UX design workshops are so valuable.
UX workshop essentials: focus, speed, and engagement
A workshop can take the form of an intense brainstorming session, lasting a few hours or an all-day event, where members involved in the decision making, design, and development process listen and share their ideas. Workshops can also be done virtually, although the ones that take place in person have been evaluated by industry as much more effective. This is because being in person tends to keep teams more focused, engaged, and creates a greater excitement about the project. It also speeds up the decision making process.
By pulling people out of their normal environments and into a workshop, team members also tend to feel a greater sense of ownership for their parts of the project and the project as a whole. Workshops are a great team-building opportunity. It’s also been said that workshops help to improve collaboration because it’s a chance for teams, stakeholders, and product owners to get to know each other - because truth be told, some of them never meet in person.
Ultimately, your business goals drive software product design decisions
We don’t just deal with design in UX workshops, we also work on your Business Model Canvas. First, we research and fully grasp how your business works, and decide how to align your business goals with your digital product. We also develop a Value Proposition Canvas, going through the pains and gains of what services you offer and determine how they can hinder or help.
What are the key stages of UX workshops?
There are two distinct UX design processes: Agile Design and Design Thinking. Your first step is to determine which is best for your product, followed by hosting a design workshop internally, with your team, or reaching out to external partners or consultants who have a wealth of experience holding UX design workshops.
There are a variety of activities that take place in the discovery phase of these workshops, providing important insights into your product. We don’t just design your digital product, we make sure that your business goals are being met. Any architect will tell you that you cannot build a solid home on a weak foundation - and we can assure you the same goes for building a successful digital product.
We have outlined some of the more common stages you can expect when participating in a typical UX workshop.
“We don’t just design your digital product, we make sure that your business goals are being met.”
Persona development - who uses and buys your software (design)?
Persona development is critical for your organization to understand who your customers are and what needs they have. This should be done both for existing and potential customers, which will reveal different business insights that drive design decisions. Developing personas helps to direct your design, development, and later marketing efforts. We’d argue that this is one of the most important, foundational elements.
The types of details included in customer (or buyer) personas are demographics, such as age, location, social-economic status. In more detailed personas you will find details about their lifestyles, interests or education. Developing personas allows you to understand exactly who you are building your product for, maybe distinguishing who you have to market to and who actually uses your product . This should preferably be based on existing client data, or market research for new products that might not have users yet.
Your take-away from the UX workshop is a set of comprehensive personas that reflect real users or customers who will buy and/or use your digital product. In some cases, you can create multiple personas and then select the top 3 or top 5 you feel best to represent your user-base (or potential user-base).
Journey mapping - a crucial step for every product, digital or not
Journey Mapping helps you see a complete picture of what your customers or users have to do to achieve certain goals while using your products. This also helps identify design, project management or general business problems you might be facing, and what opportunities to jump on, to improve the development process, and deploy software design that users really want.
During this activity, we create visualizations of what is happening in all the steps of a customer journey through first contact with your software product. This is when we highlight what blockers users might stumble upon, which features are efficient and doing their job, and what bits and pieces need improvement. The goal here is to optimize your users’ experience while also prioritizing feature design and development, so that everybody knows what the next steps are and why they should take place, from a business perspective.
We cover everything from the technical perspective, to the planned emotional experiences (ensuring users have positive interactions with your product and feel comfortable using it). This is a key element in your digital product journey.
The final deliverable that you and need to to receive for your software product is the Journey Map itself. This tool allows you to understand how your users navigate through your product, how they feel about the different steps, and what opportunities you can utilize to improve your overall UX and optimize your design processes.
Empathy mapping - understanding users’ feelings about your software products’ experience
Empathy mapping is part of your Business Model Canvas that maps your customers’ pains and gains. User satisfaction and dissatisfaction are directly tied to their experience in using your digital product, and empathy mapping allows you to better understand how they feel at specific moments.
The most common empathy map is divided into four parts; what the customer says, thinks, hears, and does, when using your digital product. This helps you to determine where there are opportunities for improvement and in which areas your product is already addressing user challenges.
What you want to receive when it comes to working on the empathy map is the list of pains and gains that will help you to prioritize features, while also determining how those features should function for the best user experience.
UX workshops will provide crucial insights for your software product
Most companies and consultants offer UX workshops because, other than being a great way to promote collaboration and accountability, they allow for the collection of all these important insights in a much shorter timeframe. This helps get products to market faster. Trying to work on any of the activities mentioned above could (and probably will) take months if done through chats and emails. Having all team members in one room promotes participation and engagement, without long waits for replies. At the end of the day you have multiple tools and takeaways that tell you exactly what to concentrate your firepower on.
- UX workshops provide tangible deliverables that can be used for years to come
- Journey mapping, empathy mapping, persona development are activities best done as a team
- Business goals play a major role in UX workshops. We work on a Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas
- More gets done quickly in a collaborative environment, promoting project accountability and excitement
For over a decade, our clients’ successful digital products enjoyed the benefits of UX workshops from the getgo. Let us know how we can provide you with a team that can collaborate, understands your business goals, and do it all quickly. You can also schedule a call with us on our website.