A user experience (UX) workshop is an essential part of the UX Design process. It involves a group of people collaborating together in hands-on activities to solve a specific problem. The purpose of a workshop can be anything from discovering diverse perspectives and gathering stakeholder knowledge to generating design ideas and encouraging empathetic thinking.
Workshops can be conducted remotely or in person, depending on resources and capabilities. They differ from meetings in that they focus more on using interactive activities to solve a problem rather than a discussion-based session to share information. Find more about the types of workshops here.
If you’re planning a UX workshop for non-designers, you’ll need to adapt your approach to deliver a useful workshop for all group members.
Stakeholders participating in UX workshops vary greatly – they could be other UX professionals, professionals in different fields, or end users. In some instances, they may not always have a background in user experience design. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider the participants’ prior knowledge and expectations beforehand to design and facilitate a successful workshop.
Before The Workshop
Preparation is essential to ensure you get the most out of your workshop, especially when designing a UX workshop for non-designers. The key considerations include:
A workshop is typically more time-consuming than a meeting. When participants have no prior knowledge of user experience, allowing more time is essential. The extra time enables you to explain everything in detail and allows time for participants to process and carry out the tasks and discuss them with the group. When planning the workshop agenda, if you’re unsure, it’s best to overestimate the time needed rather than underestimate it.
Using inclusive language is crucial during a UX workshop. You need to be inclusive of knowledge and understanding. If you know your users may not have a background in UX, try to remove jargon and ensure communication is clear and easy to understand.
Various workshop activities may help to achieve a specific goal, but remember that the participants may have never come across them before. Even if they seem straightforward, providing a clear explanation of each task will ensure they are as useful as possible.
Although a workshop is known for its activity-based sessions, having discussions during and after each activity can help foster collaboration and generate ideas.
During The Workshop
At the start of the workshop, it is best practice for the facilitator to welcome participants and explain the overall session plan. Before the participants commence each activity, there should also be individual explanations to make sure the method and expected outcomes are clear.
Tip: Keep explanations clear and concise, and use a slide deck to add visual examples to improve comprehension.
Once the participants understand the purpose of the overall workshop and individual tasks, they will carry out the planned workshop activities. It is helpful if the facilitator wanders around the room to check in with people, answer any questions, and ensure the participants focus on the task at hand.
After The Workshop
After the workshop is complete, collate and analyse the workshop findings. It can also be helpful to reflect on how the workshop ran to note any improvements or anything that went particularly well for next time. At this stage, it would also be beneficial to refine ideas and define the next steps for the project.
Running a UX workshop is time-consuming, but if planned and conducted with careful consideration for the users and the purpose of the workshop, then it can be a beneficial part of the UX process.