Interaction Discovery Workshops

Workshop approach

Overview

As part of the Interaction Discovery project we will be holding workshops with practitioners to explore our research questions in ways that allow participants to share knowledge and experience with each other and more directly benefit from their involvement.

If you work in User Research, are a UX practitioner, or work in digital-product design we would like to invite you to participate in a workshop, exploring and sharing ideas about methods and challenges in achieving a shared understanding between customers, designers and developers. We would like to know what you currently do to understand the problem before thinking about solutions, and what the everyday challenges to this discovery process are.

The workshops may also provide an opportunity to explore some of the questions that arise from thinking about unwanted interactions, and how teams can build resilience into their thinking to avoid surprises becoming shocks.

Remote workshops

For remote workshops, our preference is Microsoft Teams. Sharing sketches and ideas via a whiteboard app is encouraged, but not essential. The workshop materials we use are available for download, and work just as well for individual notes with pen and paper as they do as a whiteboard background. The focus of the remote workshops is the conversation around the task, not the task itself, so you can join with audio only if you prefer. Using Teams to capture the conversation, with a separate whiteboard app like Miro for spatial sensemaking activity, works quite well and allows you to use a tool you are familiar with for the bit that matters to you, while we get the data we need in an environment where we know the information governance aspects are covered.

Face-to-Face workshops

For in-person face-to-face workshops, we use a workshop method (Ketso) that combines individual idea generation with structured group discussions. The session starts with an introduction to the question for the session, and we describe each part of the Ketso method as we go along. You do not need to have previous experience with Ketso, and seeing how it works is one of the benefits we hope you'll get by participating.

Session overviews

Past sessions

User Jeopardy Models

As part of my research, I have explored the idea of a User Jeopardy as the User Experience analogue of a safety hazard. As a starting point for modelling ways a system might provide a bad experience, I have defined four key user jeopardy provocations: Equity, Agency, Proportionality, and Accountability. By considering these provocations, and the questions that arise from them, the actual user jeopardies present in a design may be discovered during user research. These provocations have been deliberately chosen to focus on ethical failures rather than functional failures because ethical properties of a design are more stable over time.

Jeopardy Workshop Outline

We use the example of a yoga pose to explain precarious situations

The workshop starts with an explanation of what I mean by jeopardy, and why it might be helpful to think about it. Then I present an outline problem and ask participants to think about it as if they they were planning a user research campaign. The aim in that task is to think about what questions need to be asked, and who should be in the room. When the activity reaches a suitable point I ask how the approach went for them, and what they might change about it. I then suggest a possible way of visualising what they have just learnt, by applying some ideas from the safety world, and discuss how that might work in practice.

For those of you familiar with the Pip Decks workshop tactics deck, what we do has aspects of the Premortem, SWOT, and Rose Thorn Bud evaluation tactics and the Journey Map, Prototype Persona, and Assumption Collecting understanding tactics, but in an integrated activity.

In the pilot session, we found the Microsoft Whiteboard application quite useful, and on that occasion Teams behaved itself and let us share one. If there are other tools (like Miro or Mural) that you are familiar with and would prefer to use, then I am happy to discuss how we could best do that with you.

Participants will be sent a workshop information sheet and research consent paperwork by email. The same information is available for download, so you can see it in advance, or find it later if the email gets buried in your inbox.

Ideally we would like a small group of 2 or 3 participants who are already used to working with each other.

Examples

Workshop scenario 1 - Monday Broadcasting

We have a scenario based on planning the user research you might do when introducing a 4 day week into a company.

Workshop scenario - Personalising a university website

As a real problem the participants were interested in, we have a scenario based on the personalisation of a university website.

Explanatory videos

As a quick overflight of the ideas covered, there is a 3 minute video that introduces the idea of user jeopardy.

As an example of what I have in mind, there is a 5 minute worked exampled for equity

User jeopardy downloads

Ethics paperwork

Workshop materials

Exploring Current Practice

To better understand current practice, and refine our research questions, we began the project with community engagement sessions using the Ketso workshop format. These face-to-face workshops allowed us more flexibility and more opportunities for serendipity than a survey could provide.

Ketso Workshop Outline

Ketso uses brown leaves to denote things in current practice that work well

Ideas are written on leaf shapes, everyone in the group writing their own thoughts independently. Going around the table, each person then shares their ideas with the group, so that everyone gets a chance to contribute equally. The leaves have different colours to represent current practices, challenges, goals, and innovations, so you can see at a glance what kinds of ideas you have. As the session progresses related ideas are grouped together into the branches of a tree. The facilitator will provide a series of questions to help structure the session and provide the appropriate kind of leaves for that question.

We enjoy working with companies at their own premises, so please contact us if you would like to do that.

Structuring questions

We start by asking how you know when discovery has gone well and you have a good understanding of the problem to be solved.

What does successful discovery …

  • look like?
  • feel like?
  • produce?

Participants are given 5 minutes to think about that and write their own ideas on as many leaves as they need. As we are defining the goal of discovery, we use yellow leaves. The ideas are shared one person at a time, going around the table so everyone gets a chance to contribute.

Next we ask what you currently do that you like and works for you.

What works for you now …

  • mindsets?
  • methods?
  • materials?

Participants are given 5 minutes for their own ideas, and we allow around 10 minutes for discussion as they are shared. As these are things the group has found useful, we follow the Ketso convention of using brown leaves. They are placed on whichever branch the group thinks is the best fit. We provide some default branch labels as a starter: Mindset, Methods, and Materials.

The ideas so far will reflect the practical challenges people have, so next we ask what they would like to do if they could ignore their usual constraints. For example, if they had more time.

What would you try with …

  • more time / people?
  • more space?
  • permission to fail?

Again we allow 5 minutes individual thinking time before going around the table. These ideas may be more creative so we use green leaves, and allow at least 10 minutes for discussion.

Some of the green leaf ideas may be things people have tried in the past and liked, but found challenging in practice. We are interested in what the practical challenges are for successful discovery, and that is the next question. Challenges are written on grey leaves.

What are the challenges …

  • behaviour?
  • surprises?
  • technology?

At this point, if time allows, we take a break to reflect on the ideas that have come up so far, discuss which have most impact, and think about how they are related. Depending on how many people are involved, it can also be an opportunity to look at what other groups have thought about, swap tables, and take time out to socialise.

Reflection …

  • which have most impact?
  • how are they related?
  • which seems most important?

In thinking about how these challenges might be met, we are interested in practical steps that could be taken. So, for example, if the problem is lack of time then the solution might be where and how extra time might be found or how the time consuming things could be done differently.

How might you solve them …

  • mindsets?
  • methods?
  • materials?

The final 5 minutes are a review of our original goals for successful discovery, and an opportunity to associate them with particular branches if they fit particularly well with one of the themes that has emerged.

How is our vision of success …

  • any new goals?
  • any new criteria?
  • any new priorities?

The Ketso method has been used successfully for various community engagement projects where drawing up an action plan was part of the remit. The kit includes a grid to help do this, and we are happy to facilitate a discussion of next steps if participants want to do that, although it is not part of our research.

During the session you will be given some background information and asked to provide some basic details on your role. You'll also be asked to sign a consent form for our analysis of the ideas shared. The downloads provided here are for information only, we will provide a paper copy.

Ketso workshop downloads

Ethics paperwork

Example

The example Ketso cloth from our first session shows branches radiating out from the centre of the cloth. If you have a lot of ideas, or want to put the cloth up on a wall, you may find it easier to have a set of parallel vertical branches, in more of a candlestick arrangement.

Schematic version of Ketso cloth from a pilot session at UCLan

Pilot jeopardy modelling session Monday 11th January 2021

Our first remote workshop in Microsoft Teams was in early January 2021. That identified a number of improvements to the user jeopardy workshop format, that are reflected in the materials available for download from this page.

Company in-house Ketso session Monday 13th January 2020

The first of our 90 minute in-company sessions was held in early 2020, before a certain virus intruded, and involved three groups of practitioners from a large retail organisation.

Open Ketso session at The Landing Tuesday 9th July 2019

The workshop was organised and funded by UCLan, as an open session for anyone but particularly aimed at small start-ups. It was free to participate and there was a break for drinks and pizza mid-way. Registration was provided by Eventbrite.

Pilot Ketso session at UCLan Thursday 27th June 2019

Photograph of a Ketso cloth after the UCLan pilot session, showing ideas grouped onto branches

The first workshop was held at UCLan, as an internal pilot session to validate the questions and timing. Participants were teaching staff and a product designer from the Innovation Clinic.