• Design

Organizing the “Sketching Product Experiences” UX workshop

In March we were invited to attend and speak at Cluj Innovation Days. We talked once again about the whole Telekom experience that we unveiled at WIAD. But that was not all. After the event we got to organize a full UX workshop for the Tech Academy initiative at ClujHub.

What we proposed

We couldn’t go empty handed so we started brainstorming for a proper concept. The idea was to give the participants a product and let them try to create its features and sketch its structure. There were no special requirements. You didn’t need a laptop or fancy software. All was done on pen and paper (and gray markers of course).

For this workshop we proposed ILLUSTRO – a collaborative web platform where illustrators and copywriters/storytellers can work together and produce online comic books that can later be read or bought online or paperback.

The Illustro App
The Illustro App

For the first exercise we produced an “incomplete” brief that the teams had to fill. The brief included features, personas, technical limitations etc. (we would have made great clients with a brief like this). The teams had to insert descriptions for the Personas and new functionalities. If they didn’t agree with something, they had the possibility to change parts of the brief, but the main concept stayed the same.

The teams started with the Brief.
The teams started with the brief.

Once they understood all that is required, as a second exercise, the teams had to draw the main flows based on the brief they previously completed. As you can notice, all exercises were connected with each other.

Tracing the flow is not as easy at one may think.
Tracing the flow is not as easy at one may think.

Now that we knew what Illustro is and how it works we moved on to sketching. We presented the techniques Marius taught us. This was the base for what was yet to come. For the third exercise, the teams had to sketch the web/desktop app (good thing we made the brief and flow first, right?).

The Gray Marker - a UX Designer
The Gray Marker – a UX Designer’s best friend
Use red color to annotate the important features.
Use red color to annotate the important features.

As you probably guessed, for the 4th exercise, the teams had to draw how Illustro would have looked as a mobile app or in responsive view. For both sketching exercises, Ciprian presented the most trending patterns up to date for both mobile and web/UI while I gave them templates to work on.

Ciprian explaining the most popular patterns.
Ciprian explaining the most popular patterns.

Finally we made a quick overview regarding wearables and as a last exercise they had to imagine a wearable app for Illustro (on Apple Watch or Android Wear). They went with all sorts of solutions: from notification centers to remote control.

"We have one more thing to show you."
“We have one more thing to show you.”

How it went

It was awesome. We were really impressed by all 17 attendees and their commitment, energy and diversity (developers, project managers, designers and/or enthusiasts). Each of them came up with interesting ways to bring Illustro to life and worked to the last minute. Only smoke and lunch breaks could peal them of their desk. The workshop took around 7 hours (a bit more than we estimated), but we managed to deliver something worthwhile.

Pizza time and fresh air to clear the mind
Pizza time and fresh air to clear the mind

What we learned 

God bless the feedback. The attendees did not restrain themselves and offered us valuable and constructive feedback. We learned that next time we will come with our solution if we go with a certain theme (Yes, we didn’t have our own vision for Illustro, shame on us, I know). Also for next iterations we will focus more on one-to-one direct feedback, and not so much on a group level.  As you can see we are open to improve and upgrade the workshop.

Looking forward

We enjoyed every moment while working with the teams and had lots of fun. We will refine our concept and make it even better. Some of the teams were so thrilled about the project, it won’t surprise us if we are going see an Illustro launched in the not so distant future.

With this occasion we would like to thank the organizers for giving us this opportunity and for their support. Thanks Cristian, Diana, Ioana & Raluca.

If you are interested in our workshop concept and how we do the things we do, give us a sign and let’s talk more.

Til next time.

  • Tags: design, desktop, flow, sketch, ui, ux, wearable, workshop