There are many ways to create high-quality technical content. Did you know that running a UX workshop is one of them?
As a tech writer with a background in designing user experience and trainings, I can assure you that UX workshops can significantly speed up your work and lead to amazing results. In fact, I’m so sure of it that I decided to give a short talk about it at soap! 2018 – the best content conference.
UX workshops in a nutshell
My definition of the user experience workshop is very broad.
If its goal is to improve user experience and it forces people to active participation, call it a UX workshop.
You might want to make your website’s information architecture more intuitive, or kickstart a project for your new client, or gather insight from subject matter experts, or prioritize topics you need to create, or… simply understand how that new tool you’re about to write a manual for really works. In each of these scenarios, you’ll benefit from UX workshops.
And I can’t see a reason why UX workshops shouldn’t be used in tech comm. After all, we’re trying to improve user experience, using words… as a weapon!
So, how do we do that?
1. Set your workshop’s goal
Your goal can be anything from understanding how a product works to deciding how to redesign your web help’s navigation. It’s up to you! But remember that setting goals before the workshop lets you measure the results more effectively, choose a better set of workshop tools, and make progress. Make sure that the reason why you’re organizing the workshop is clear to everyone in your team. This makes it easier to stay on the same page and keep the workshop going.
2. Make it short
Hardly anyone will find time for a 5-day workshop. So, instead of running a long session, keep it short. Even a 4-hour workshop can solve many of your problems. That’s because your whole team is focused on finding the right solutions and, after all, two heads are better than one.
3. Prepare your tools
There are lots of UX tools, exercises, and techniques available online that you can use during workshops. Do your research and make sure you choose the right ones, but no matter what tools you pick, have post-its, markers, dot stickers, and a flipchart at hand. Also, don’t forget about beverages and snacks. Trust me, there’s not much creativity left when you’re hungry.
4. Find time and the right people
If your workshop’s goal is to change the structure of topics, invite an information architect. If you’re figuring out what kind of graphics and animations should be used in an app, let a motion designer join the workshop.
And, as a rule of thumb, you should spend twice as much time preparing a workshop than running it.
5. Be ready to improvise
For sure, some of the exercises will take more time than originally estimated. Or someone will have to leave earlier. These things happen but, no matter what, you should always have a backup plan. For example, you can think of a shorter version of an exercise or solve the most important issues at the beginning of your workshop instead of leaving them for later.
To sum up, running a UX workshop is a tough nut to crack… but it’s worth cracking! It takes a lot of time and energy to make it right. But launching a project with a UX workshop aligns everyone to the same vision and improves communication between you, your team and your client. It’s also a great tool for building trust in a team, and the best way to unleash your creativity.
Would you like to try using a UX workshop to improve your documentation? Just give us a shout!