A three-step project vision
Workshops are events in which smaller groups deal intensively with a topic during a limited period. The focus is on working together towards a common goal. We adapt our workshops individually to our customers. Today's focus is on a three-part creative workshop series that we run at jls.
What are the goals of a series of workshops?
The main objective of a workshop is to sharpen the product vision. In one series, we conduct three workshops, which each have different goals. Using specifically selected methods, we work with the customer to solve a known or unknown problem or develop a common vision.
- In the first part of the workshop we want to identify the customer’s goals and needs by analysing the current situation. For example, if there is a current solution, we examine its pain points in more detail. This means that we try to find out where a shoe currently fits and where the current solution has weaknesses. In addition, in an initial exchange, we put a clear focus on the crystallising the target group to find the solution, because we can use these to define fictional users, which are also known as persona, in a later step. These should help to keep the focus throughout the workshop series.
- In the second part of the workshop we focus on the customer journey experienced by the defined target group. We borrow the customer’s glasses and play through the whole process from the customer’s point of view. From the perspective of our personas, we see the points of contact as seen by the customer. A lot of valuable data and information about the customer journey can be ascertained. To help us guide the customer through their journey in a targeted manner, main use cases are discussed first before they are defined and recorded in the form of user stores. These later serve to create the information architecture and apply a funnel-based model.
- Initial concept ideas and approaches are outlined and presented as wireframes to allow us to give the customer a first visual impression. At the same time, ideas and inspiration are collected to achieve a first look and feel. This means that a design direction can be defined if this is requested. The phase is ideal for carrying out initial user testing.
In summary, we have time in a workshop series to sharpen a vision comprehensively. In three steps, we deal in detail with personas and main use cases, work out the customer journey together and finally create initial design ideas that can be subjected to an initial test. We solve or recognise current stumbling blocks and work out the best possible customer-friendly solution step by step.
What does it take to carry it out?
When we run a workshop series, we provide a creative team with different specialisms that knows the business cases and tries to cover every stakeholder on the part of the customer in the best possible way.
Before the first part of the workshop, we prepare suitable methods to ensure an interactive exchange. This basic framework is then filled during the workshop and then neatly reworked. Follow-up means preparation! We prepare different personas based on the goals and needs defined in the first part. These representative personas are used to play through the entire customer journey and so to identify specific problems (= paint points) and opportunities. All of the results obtained are processed and converted into initial design proposals and implementation options. The main focus in the workshop is then on defining the design direction.
How is an interactive workshop made possible?
Our goal is to run an interactive workshop so we can get some ideas from the customer. From our side, one person assumes the task of the facilitator who leads the workshop. This person is responsible for managing the time, the structure of the conversation and the rest of the process. This includes, for example, summarising discussions and ending them when the moment for action has come. This creates a good atmosphere and this makes it a breeding ground for any ideas.
How will my workshop become a success?
With good preparation, as an interaction designer I create my own picture of the specific customer and their vision. I look for the right methods and give creative suggestions. I try to take a different perspective and so open the doors for new things or even for potential hidden innovations. In my role, on the one hand, I help stimulate creativity and idea generation and, on the other hand, I keep track of the fact that important topics such as usability are not neglected. Of course, we depend on every stakeholder really getting involved and joining in with the workshop.
Should a workshop series be being run in analogue or digital form?
At the moment, of course, this is a major issue. There is no dispute that it makes a difference whether the workshop is being run in analogue or digital form. For many people it is digitally easier to express their own opinions due to a certain level of anonymity. This offers a new opportunity because it allows multiple inputs to be collected at the same time. Simultaneous inputs can quickly end in chaos in an analogue workshop. In contrast, we are closer to the customer in a live workshop. But it is important to work out a structure so that this works in both forms and is also purposeful, particularly in the current phase.