3 Lessons I’ve Learned in Planning and Running a UX Workshop for AIB & Women Who Code

When my colleague Ana and I were offered to hold a workshop on User Experience (UX) for AIB & Women Who Code organisation in Dublin, we were thrilled to accept it and promised ourselves we’ll do the best one yet!

It was a bit of a challenge to squeeze all the content in a given time frame, because User Experience is a very large area and it covers an array of disciplines, some of which are; User Research, Usability Testing, Information Architecture, Visual Design, Interaction Design, Content Strategy etc. It often gets mixed up with User Interface (UI), but those two terms aren’t synonyms. UI can be defined as a combination of Visual Design and Interaction Design and as such, is a component of the UX process.

We had plenty of work waiting for us, so we decided we should first present UX in general in about 30 minutes and then follow up with an activity workshop.

We succinctly explained UX; User Experience is what it feels like to use a product, system or a service and it’s all about focusing on the details that really matter to our customers as end users!

When it comes to best practices within UX, there are 3 areas we highlighted:

1. User Research & Testing

Extremely important part of User Experience Design, because the user is the most important segment and we want to know them inside and out.

2. Developing User Personas

User personas are a clear representation of an audience that will use our product, and they’re based on the previous research.

 3. Mapping out the Customer Journey

A customer journey is a story of the customer experience while using our product. It starts with the first contact and goes through the entire engagement process.

It was important to clearly elaborate these activities and artefacts to our audience because we planned hands-on workshop after the presentation part, which included:

  • Reviewing the user persona that was assigned to each table
  • Creating the customer journey based on each persona’s attributes and description
  • Sketching out wireframes for the customer journey

Above is the link where you can check the entire Meetup on the WomenWhoCode Dublin

Now, let’s go back to those 3 lessons I’ve learned by running the UX workshop.

1. People are always eager to learn something new, so make it simple and interesting for them.

We learn things every day, from the day we were born to the day we die. At some times, we are afraid that we won’t understand something new, and we stop doing new things because we are afraid of failure. When that happens, we get trapped in the magic circle: “If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got!”

Those are very common situations so we should care more about the simplicity of content when sharing our knowledge.

We thought about this when we were creating our presentation. We were especially careful about our wording and we went through each technical term with special care and explanation for our audience.

2. People enjoy meeting new people 

These kind of events are great for networking and meeting a whole bunch of new people that are also interested in the same area as you are. So with that in mind, next time when you are thinking whether or not you should go to that meet-up about Best Practices in Social Media, don’t think twice.

Even if you are not entirely interested in a particular subject, you could be surprised in the end. After meeting a few people, sharing couple of thoughts and finding out what they do for a living, you might come up with ideas and inspiration for your new project.

3. Workshops are always a good idea

Hands-on workshops are always the best way of learning new things especially when combined with the short introductory presentations.

Even though our presentation was adjusted to be less technical, I couldn’t say that it would be enough just by itself. We explained UX, personas & customer journeys and gave our audience information about what to focus on when designing for mobile devices – but the real engagement started when they actually began the workshop activities!

In conclusion, I was genuinely happy to see people so engaged, empathising with given user personas while developing user journeys and designing wireframes. It was a really special feeling providing some new insights while keeping it fun. Their ideas were great, their attention for details and everything that mattered in the assignment was perfect.

We are so proud that workshop went so well.

Million thanks to our audience and mentors who were brilliant!

Looking forward for the next Meet-up!

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