When operating a growing business, there’s a lot to focus on. There are a lot of boxes to tick, and a lot of things to consider. Your ability to do this successfully is central to how quickly you grow, or whether you grow at all.
The most important thing to grow is your customers. Everything ultimately links back to them. Every move you make is in some way connected to providing a benefit to your customers. And if it’s not, you may need to reassess why you’re doing it.
In today’s digital world, your website is one of, if not definitely, your most important assets. It’s a major touchpoint between you and your customers. And, if your site has an ecommerce component, it has the capability to enable business transactions to take place that ultimately add to your revenue.
Plenty of CEOs at major brands have realised the potential of UX and design, placing it at the centre of their innovation plans. Huge global names like Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, Ford, IBM and Starbucks are all leading examples of companies that have pushed UX and design to the fore and reaped the benefits.
So with all this in mind, where do user experience workshops come into it (we tend to call them UX workshops)? It’s in this blog’s title, so it must be important, right? Spot on. Read on and find out more.
What is a UX workshop?
A UX workshop sees all the interested and involved parties sit down together with the aim of enhancing the user experience of your website to enable all the benefits that brings. They present the chance for all the involved parties to get to know each other, and more importantly what ideas people have and work out what page everybody is on.
The workshops bring together all the developers, designers, decision makers and project leaders, and allow for people to work out the best way forward.
Why run a UX workshop?
UX workshops are where you get the chance to put yourself, with some assistance, into the shoes of your customers.
You get to spend a moment looking at things through another set of eyes. You get to experience a visit to your website as if you’ve never seen it before.
What does that do? It allows you to spot things you wouldn’t necessarily spot. It allows you identify ways to improve your site. And it allows you to make plans on how to make things better.
UX workshops are also set up the enable data to inform ideas, changes and plans that you want to make to your website. Specific data-related touchpoints can be reviewed and discussed to work out what your site is doing well and potential areas of opportunity.
But how best to formulate these plans? We advocate getting the professionals in and taking a systematic review to identify where improvements can be made.
What happens in a typical UX workshop?
We have a few different types of UX workshop (see below). All in all though, each workshop looks to determine set goals and work out the best way of reaching them given the client’s situation.
The overarching business goal is central to the UX workshop. Why are we here? What is the reason for bringing the Williams Commerce team in? What can we help you achieve? This question is fundamental to the entire process and should be referred back to at various points to ensure that the course that the workshops and the process is taking is in keeping with what you want to achieve.
Key performance indicators are also identified. These help with the above, but provide tangible points via which the success of reaching that business goal can be actively quantified.
Personas are a really vital part of the UX workshop process. This is a fictional customer of a certain type and demographic, with certain hypothetical needs and wants from using your organisation. You can then align plans and actions with the personas you identify and make decisions and edits accordingly.
The early stages of the workshop process also have the added benefit of solidifying the project scope to ensure that, no more is bitten off than what can be collectively chewed. The early stages also allow for the right mix of people and expertise to be involved in the process, and decisions can be taken as to whether to add or remove certain people from the process.
As a final point, often overlooked areas such as accessibility can be brought in early on in the process. We use our own experience to identify and explain considerations that some clients may not be aware of or may overlook.
What kind of UX workshops are there?
We run UX workshops that have differing areas of focus, based on the specific needs of the client. These can cover a range of areas that can be tailored to the specific needs or interests of the client.
These include discovery workshops, where you set your stall out for what you and your team want the project to achieve and how we can get you there. We also run empathy workshops, which centre on putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and viewing your site through their eyes.
Our UX design-led workshops are all about getting the layout, style and nuances of your site spot on based on what’s been discussed and your overall aims. Our priority workshops seek to analyse where your areas of focus should lie and how this impacts the design and content hierarchy present on your site.
A final type of workshop is a critique workshop, where you analyse what’s gone right with your plans, what could improve, and how this might be attained.
As part of the general workshop process, we offer a variety of audits for our clients. These include accessibility audits, UX/UI audits, and branding audits, where we analyse and assess the current status of each of these areas within your business and identify opportunities to improve. If you like the sounds of this, but aren’t sure about taking us up on the whole UX workshop job, we do offer these audits separately.
Workshops in the age of Covid-19
Like everybody else, the Williams Commerce team has had to adapt to the changes and requirements the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about.
In ordinary circumstances, we do our UX workshops face-to-face, getting to develop personal relationships with our clients and bringing in that human element to the professional work we do. This allows for lively discussions to take place, plans to be drawn up, and provides an opportunity for relevant parties to really zone in on the task at hand.
COVID-19 has changed all that temporarily, though we hope to be able to start face-to-face UX workshops again in the not too distant future.
However, the good news is we’ve been able to carry on with our UX workshop programme even while physical meetings have been beyond the realms of possibility.
We’ve been utilising a program called Miro that has really allowed us to carry on where we left off in terms of being able to provide insightful, beneficial UX workshops to our clients. This has helped them carry on with their business plans even in the face of something as disruptive and problematic as the current pandemic.
Start your journey towards a better UX experience
UX workshops give the chance to take a structured, collaborative approach to improving your website. It’s a team effort, and the process we adopt helps make sure everybody is on the same page and can pool their knowledge to bring about positive outcomes.
Additionally, the data-led approach we adopt means that we can get everybody facing in the right direction, removing any opinions or egos that might be at play and allowing for easier access to a pragmatic set of tasks and goals that can help your business immensely.
We’ve used or are using UX workshops to bring about tangible benefits for a number of our clients during new website projects, including the likes of Rayware, Professional Books, Seedsman and Autosparks.
To join those ranks and start your journey towards better UX for your website, simply get in touch with the Williams Commerce team today.