Our website is due for an overhaul. It’s a bit like the builder’s house, not the best in the street. None the less, we are having fun applying some of our toolkit to our own project.
At our initial strategy workshop, we started with an immersion activity. This involved getting the boss, James Breeze, to walk through some typical customer scenarios on the website. This is designed to increase stakeholder engagement with the project and shock them into giving you loads of resources for the project. It emphasises the need for change, and help supports the business case.
Quite a few steps later in the process, we were ready for a design workshop. But we are a company of many talented UX designers, so the question was posed, “How to use this wealth of talent on our own project?”
Enter Design Studio, a collaborative design methodology which aims to draw on the skills of a team, and at the same time, avoids just going with the obvious solution. Instead of the team discussing one solution together, and sketching it together, individuals design alone, share their ideas, and later refine them. You start with a plethora of ideas, not groupthink.
Here’s Nirish working on his design.
You can find the full explanation of the design studio methodology on UX mag but to summarise the basic process :
- Background:The facilitator presents the design problem.
- Sketch: Individuals sketch up to 8 solutions, with the focus on quantity.
- Present: Individuals present their ideas to a small group.
- Critique: The small group positively critiques the ideas so the individual can go away and refine the designs.
- Iterate: The process is repeated with ideas being combined, re-defined, and finally the group coming up with one refined solution.
Ideally you have a full day, with the teams working all day to distill many ideas into one refined solution. But our workshop was on a team planning day, and we had to do it towards the end of the day. So in the sketch phase, we got out the beers, put on some Bach played by the Australian Chamber Orchestra on, and we were away!
Dan, Alexis, Tim and Nirish sharing their designs.
In 2 hours, we managed to do 2 iterations of the process. We had mix of UX designers, researchers and project managers in our workshop, and nearly everyone had a go at designing in the first stage. In the second iteration, people less experienced in design paired up with someone more experienced. We got some great ideas, which are still up on our wall. So Design Studio is definitely worth adding to your design toolkit.
And here’s Anna putting on the final touches of her design!