Student Counselling- What makes a workshop?

Workshops – like so many techniques of improving user experience – don’t need to be long or complicated. If fact, they should save you time.

Workshop phobia

Working in UX, we’ll often unearth somewhat of a fear of ‘workshops’. They’re somehow seen as taking up more time and effort, and as being a bit scary. In my experience, people would much rather come to a meeting than a workshop.

Of course, the idea that a workshop is more time-consuming than other kinds of discussion is at complete odds to why we run them – to save time, to avoid duplicated or wasted effort, and to build clear consensus more easily.

How many staff make a workshop?

Another thing that seems key to the concept of ‘a workshop’ is that there are lots of people there. So when we needed to discuss some key issues in our project working with Student Counselling, it seemed a bit grand to call meeting up with just two of their core staff for an hour and half a workshop.

Nevertheless, we sat in a room and got out the tools of the trade in UX– Post-its, sharpies and a nice bit of blank wall. Together we worked through the ideal user journey for their site, and established exactly what information they need from their webform. We still had time for a few more ‘meeting-like’ activities of clearing up a few of the nitty-gritty details in the content.

Post it notes

Keep it simple – but benefit from experience

The fact is that a UX ‘workshop’ doesn’t need elaborate pre-planned slides, multiple people or long blocks of time. The idea of these techniques is that anyone can give them a go – all it takes is a pen and paper and, crucially, a plan.

The planning and strategy behind it is of course where experience comes in. The training and development the Website Programme has invested in User Experience gives us great understanding and wide-ranging experience of the right approaches and techniques to apply in a project.

If you think your digital presence is in need of some attention, get in touch to explore how a workshop – on whatever scale – could help you, together with usability testing and appraisal, user research and more.

Contact the University Website Programme

If you’re interested in knowing more about user experience techniques, you can join the University UX mailing list.

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