UX research workshops are activities that UX Researchers can utilize to collaborate with other team members at various phases of a research project. They can be performed before or after research is conducted to gather consensus from the group.
UX research workshops are useful because they offer UX Researchers a way to collaborate with their Product teams to plan out a future research study or align on how to tackle users’ pain points. They are a very collaborative activity, especially when teams are not co-located or lack a recurring meeting time to focus on a research project.
This handbook page covers the main steps involved to conduct a UX research workshop. If you have any questions about this process, please contact your UX Researcher. They can assist with setting up and/or leading a UX research workshop for your team.
There are 5 different types of UX research workshops that can be used whenever a UX Researcher is about to start or finish a project. Within this section, we define each of the workshops and provide links to Mural templates, which can help UX Researchers with the initial setup process.
Early phases of research
Late phases of research
If the UX Researcher determines a UX research workshop would be best for their project, they should allocate approximately 1 week of setup time for a workshop. The following sections highlight the main aspects to consider ahead of time.
At GitLab, we lean towards async communication by default, so we recommend utilizing async workshops whenever possible. However, there are some situations when sync workshops may work better for your use case. The table below highlights some of the main differences between async and sync workshops.
Pros of async workshops
Pros of sync workshops
Any async tasks assigned to attendees should include a clear due date with ample time to complete. In most cases, 1-2 weeks of notice should suffice. There will be times where a due date conflicts with an event (e.g., company or country holiday, milestone deadline, etc.). When messaging the attendees, be open to feedback about the proposed due date and be willing to compromise to ensure greater overall participation.
The length of a sync workshop depends on the size and scope of the effort. UX Researchers can estimate the amount of time needed in general by thinking through how long the individual workshop tasks should take. Since there will often be group discussions happening during a sync workshop, it is better to overestimate the amount of time allotted to each task, so UX Researchers don’t end up rushing through their planned agenda.
When sync workshops are expected to last longer than 2 hours, UX Researchers need to include ample breaks or consider splitting up the workshop across multiple days to avoid burning out their attendees. It is important that attendees are able to stay focused in the workshop. By limiting what you ask attendees to accomplish in a single sync session, UX Researchers will get a higher quality of output from them.
UX Researchers need to ensure that they are being inclusive of any team members who can assist with conducting the research and implementing changes from the uncovered actionable insights. The following roles should be considered when setting up a new research workshop:
If UX Researchers are unsure about who to invite to the workshop, they can ask the team’s Product Manager or their UX Research Manager for guidance.
When setting up a research workshop, attendees need to have context about what they are being asked to do, so they can understand how they can best support the effort. UX Researchers should consider providing various resources and giving explicit pre-work upfront to attendees, so they can start the workshop feeling fully prepared. The list below can be used to advise on what kinds of resources or pre-work to include:
At GitLab, we lean towards overcommunication to ensure that attendees are aware of the upcoming workshop. Thus, we encourage you to share resources and pre-work in multiple applications (for example: Slack, GitLab, Google Calendar), so attendees do not miss any details about the workshop.
When the workshop is complete, the UX Researcher should review the Mural board to determine if there is some synthesis required before communicating any final outcomes. In most cases, there will be some additional analysis needed to identify themes or reorganize the workshop data into a final state.
From there, the UX Researcher can broadly share the outcome of the workshop with attendees and other interested teams. It is recommended to communicate outcomes through GitLab issue comments and relevant Slack channels (#UX_Research_Reports, #Product, #UX).
Some types of workshop outcomes include: