Andy Schwanbeck teaches you important skills that help you become an effective facilitator and leader of design research work sessions.
- [Instructor] Before we talk about the specifics of how to choose what activities you run in a work session, let's first visualize the environment that we want. So a good work session should be fun, should be energetic, spontaneous, and well-organized, should be full of sharpies, post-it notes, whiteboards, notecards, poster activities, it's a sort of living, breathing, collaborative zone. Remember what we talked in the beginning of this course. By bringing your client into your design process, you're giving them the opportunity to look under the hood, see how you work, make some of the decisions about what to fix right along side of you.
They should feel empowered, and your job is to instruct them and learn from them at the same time. So we're gonna look at activities in a broad sense first by considering big ideas about how to organize and cultivate information. So let's consider for a minute that any design problem that we might be solving has some measure of complexity to it, and within that complexity of the problem lies a bunch of different pieces and parts of information, some with relationships to each other and others that kind of stand alone on their own.
And this information that lives in the complexity of a problem, this is what we're aiming to cultivate and organize in a work session. And so what this boils down to then is thinking about how can we gather and organize these little segments of information because that's really the key to unlocking valuable insights. So first, we can ask a question that forces our participants to cluster information, tell us what belongs together, categorize or bucket it, however you want to think of it. Doing this allows us to say that all this information here, it's all about this process.
And this information over here, this is different because it actually deals with this service. And the one little bit out here, it's different too. So by clustering information, you're doing really high level organization. And through organization, you're able to better understand what the information is and how it's related to each other. We can ask questions that help us link information together such as in helping building a flow chart like this so that we can better understand the order of a process.
We could also ask to build a mind map structure that demonstrates the relationships between one cluster of information and the next. A simple border can be a really useful tool to eliminate information or organize into two simple categories like a pro and a con, or an in and out. And this little framework and be particularly helpful in establishing criteria that will build some consensus. If enough people think that something should be in, and only two or three put it out, then it's fairly easy to have the conversation to justify keeping it in.
Another great way or another great tool is using the axis like this to show and organize information through polarities, or opposites. Each end of each arrow has an opposite from the one on the other end, and it forces people to place information in between these four different descriptors, and then plot how much or how little of both. There's also the target to question how close information is to a stated goal. And so in short, there's many ways in which to organize information. These are just the tip of the iceberg that can help get you thinking, and we'll begin our process of choosing which activities to run with our first while client workshop just like this.
We're gonna look at the information that we want to learn and how we want the client to help teach it to us. And then we're gonna look at how do we want to organize this information, and finally, try to pair that with an idea of what will the client need to do to participate.
- Defining the problem and setting early goals
- Understanding your client's organization and expertise level
- Establishing your research questions
- Inviting the right players
- Leading a workshop
- Identifying trends, patterns, and outliers
- Creating documentation that explains your design research