User Experience

How to Run a Remote Design Workshop

By May 22, 2020 No Comments

Last week, Bytelion had the opportunity to participate in MICA’s UX Design MPS Virtual Residency. This interactive workshop was held for over 50 graduate students across the world looking to transition into or jumpstart their careers in UX design. After speaking with Daniel Sipzner regarding possible topics for workshops during the event, Bytelion decided to focus on “UX design within project constraints” as a topic. Below we will go over how we approached the workshop,  some of our successes, and what we could do better next time.

Goals

During our planning, we approached this workshop with the following goals in mind for the students:

  • Ensure students understand the value of UX processes in terms of what is providing value to the project as opposed to set deliverables
  • Relay the importance of time-boxing activities
  • Provide students with a base template for an ‘ideal’ project and answers to their questions to help them develop their own UX process
  • Have students work in a group and effectively communicate how they think the UX process should be customized to provide the most value for an example project
  • Help students actively think about project planning by having them allocate percentages of their allotted time to their planned activities and thinking critically about their deliverables
  • Students will have a UX process personalized to their strengths that can work as a template for future project planning
  • Each student will gain experience planning out UX projects down to the number of hours per day in addition to which steps are needed or not needed depending on project specifications.

Planning

The workshop was held twice in back to back sessions, with each session lasting 2.5 hours.

Here is a break down of our agenda:

Part 1 – Introduction (30 minutes)

  • Introductions (5 minutes)
    • Marc
    • Stefanie
  • Marc’s Presentation: Why are we here designing things and how do we do it? (15 minutes)
  • Stefanie’s Presentation: Insight from a MICA Alum  (5-10 minutes)

Break (5 minutes)

Part 2 – Solo and Team Exercises (45 minutes)

  • Solo Exercise:  Fill out UX Process Details (10 minutes)
  • Solo Exercise: Fill out UX Process Percentages (5 minutes)
  • Marc’s Presentation: Sample Project Breakdown Explanation (5 minutes)
  • Getting into Teams!!! (5 minutes)
  • Team Exercise: Fill out Team UX Process Details (5 minutes)
  • Team Exercise: Read Mock Project Description (5 minutes)
  • Team Exercise: Discuss the Mock Project (5 minutes)
  • Team Exercise: Fill out Team Process Percentages (5 Minutes)

Break (5 minutes)

Part 3 – Team Exercises and Follow Up (45 minutes)

  • Team Exercise: Project Estimation (30 minutes) [Marc joined rooms to answer questions]
    • Team Reassessment of Project Steps and Percentages (10 minutes)
    • Organize Steps into a Project Plan and Assign Hours (10 minutes)
    • Review & Refine Plan (10 minutes)
  • Team Presentations  (10 minutes; 2 minutes per team)
  • Solo Exercise: Students Vote for Best Solution (5 minutes)
  • Marc: Explanation and Questions (remaining time)

Logistics & Materials

  • Presentation material communicated via a slide deck.
  • A UX process template provided to all participants.
  • Directions for team activities provided to all participants.
  • Miro board with templates for each group and their activities provided to all participants.

Tools

  • Google Slides
  • Google Drive
  • Zoom
  • Miro
  • Webcam
  • Computer
  • Beanie

MICA students collaborated in teams and worked on a virtual artboard created by Bytelion in Miro.

Where We Could Have Done Better!

Timing –  We allotted for 20 minutes of extra time or 20 minutes of questions. This was not enough time. We did not account properly for needing to communicate directions multiple times regardless of documentation provided. Due to some students having no experience with project planning or working in Miro, additional clarity was necessary. On the plus side, participants were willing to stay 15 minutes late after each workshop to ask questions.

Providing More Documentation – Despite providing multiple documents in addition to having the Miro board set up prior to the workshop starting, we feel we could have provided more for participants to reference when they missed certain concepts. We should have provided the itinerary above so students could better understand how the various exercises worked together from the start.

Things to Consider for Future Workshops

Questions During or Afterward – We allowed participants to ask questions during the workshop as a way of keeping them more engaged and excited about the work they were doing. We also wanted to make sure that they understood exactly what there were doing, as this was a fairly new concept for most of them. This also added to our time but seemed to result in people being more comfortable with the process and understanding its value.

What Went Well!

Establishing Trust – We were fortunate to have a recent graduate of the program as a new hire at Bytelion. Stefanie had the opportunity to speak about some of the things she had learned as she transitioned from an academic setting to working in the private sector, which resonated with what current students were experiencing.

Connectivity and Audio/Visual Quality – We had few connectivity issues during the 5 hours of the workshop. Both video and sound quality were generally good. Prior planning and testing technology in advance helped a lot here.

Providing Value – Students said that they had not been so excited to work so hard all week and learn about real world UX constraints. Multiple students also expressed that if given the option they would love to take a class on the topic.