UX Method of the Week: Strategy Workshop

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  • What is our vision for the ideal user experience, and what do we need to focus on to bring that unique experience to life?

    There is a special moment that’s just right for a strategy workshop, and it’s early in the process before design has been kicked off. It’s the time when optimism and interest in “what could be” are at their highest. This stage gets people when they are most likely to engage with an open mind, and times it so that strategic thinking can influence the ultimate work plan.

    In a strategy workshop, you’re leveraging the collective wisdom of a cross-functional team to begin to establish a vision and a strategy for your user experience. When people talk about strategy, often they’re using the same word to talk about very different concepts. To one person, strategy is about prioritization and having a timeline. To another, it might mean establishing a vision for the future. Neither is wrong, and a strategy workshop can help you get clarity on both.

    A stakeholder workshop can include a hodgepodge of different activities, depending on your needs for that particular project, team, and time. Possible activities include:

    • Triads help you explore the identity of your product, starting with a simple word-listing exercise. For this activity, get the team to brainstorm a list of keywords that they would like the product to embody. Pick three words that you’d put together to describe the core of the product experience. Work with the group to identify combos that are interesting to them. Then, for that particular three-word combo, brainstorm related nouns, verbs, and adjectives that might go with a product built around this triad.
      Triads Example
    • An elevator pitch helps you align around a shared description of your product and what’s special about it. For this activity, you can use a template to create a succinct statement of what distinguishes your product from its competitor or comparator offerings. The elevator pitch can help you understand what differentiates the offering, and hence, which features and characteristics should serve as the defining elements of the product. It can also help you prioritize by shining a light on what matters most in delivering on the core value proposition of the product.

      Elevator Pitch

    What’s YOUR best activity for involving stakeholders in UX vision?

    Post your reply as a comment below by Tuesday, 11/19, midnight PT. The best reply wins a free copy of The User Experience Team of One.

    5 Responses to “UX Method of the Week: Strategy Workshop”

    1. You need to involve senior staff who can sign off on a vision, but also make sure that participants will empathise with the target audience. The problem is that senior staff are often removed from actual users, and can sometimes have problems empathising. After you invite ideas from participants, you can present stories of actual users of comparable products (you probably won’t have enough research to create personas at this stage). You can use those stories—and the expertise of the senior participants—to sieve through those ideas until only feasible ones remain. This produces a realistic, empathetic vision that senior staff will feel affinity for—and will provide resources for in future.

      Reply

    2. Jadwiga Kijak

      Ask stakeholders to show how their customers use their product/service and them go with them in the field and let them observe both – users with their product and with competition’s product.

      Reply

    3. Opening: quick presentation of project personas to get everyone in a user-centric mood.

      Insight combination: prepare a set of index cards for communication/business challenges and possible design patterns/solutions. Participants mix and match problems with solutions in a rapid ideation environment.

      Closing: each stakeholder is given three stickers to place on their favorite combination.

      At the end of the session, stakeholders will have been able to provide input into the design process and you’ll have a set of shortlisted design approaches for prototyping and testing.

      Reply

    4. Opening: quick presentation of project personas to get everyone in a user-centric mood.

      Insight combination: prepare a set of index cards for communication/business challenges and possible design patterns/solutions. Participants mix and match problems with solutions in a rapid ideation environment.

      Closing: each stakeholder is given three stickers to place on their favorite combination.

      At the end of the session, stakeholders will have been able to provide input into the design process and you’ll have a set of shortlisted design approaches for prototyping and testing.

      Reply

    5. We often weave in persona sketches then get stakeholders to roleplay scenarios around use of the product sometimes tilting those scenarios towards challenges or opportunities by having them draw roadblocks or new resources out of a hat. And for prioritization, we give them colored dots or play money so they have limited votes for what’s most important.

      Reply

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