Sketch of a whiteboard with post-its and notes.

Tips and Tricks

A collection of tips and tricks for planning a Universal Design Workshop, running a Universal Design Workshop, and documenting a workshop.

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Planning a universal design workshops

  • Setting the purpose of the overall workshop is the most important first step
    What is to be the output and why?
  • Consider how much time and resources you will need
    What is your available timeframe?
  • Choosing the appropriate participants depending on your purpose is crucial
    Who are they and what is important for you to know?
  • Create a workshop plan depending on your purpose
    You can use sorting functions on the front page to generate your workshop plan, or choose one of the preplanned ones
  • Do you need to plan for some inclusivity and accessibility considerations?
    • What are the abilities of your participants? (see inclusivity tips in each method)
    • What is their age?
    • What is their expertise?
    • Any language considerations?
    • Have they participated in a workshop or an interview before?
  • Choose the appropriate environment for your workshop
    Where will you achieve the right atmosphere?
  • Consider which materials you need
    e.g. pens, post its and templates, see for each method
  • Make sure to run through your workshop plan and consider where you need:
    • Breaks
    • Buffers
    • Back up plan

During a universal design workshop

  • First impression is key!
  • Make sure to accommodate any special needs and that everyone is comfortable before getting started
  • Build and maintain trust and remember to consider:
    • Introduction of purpose and the overall workshop agenda to align expectations and make participants feel valued
    • Inspire a positive mood with your energy and inclusive attitude
    • Make sure participants feel heard and respected
  • Establish a sense of authority by means of your expertise and confidence to ensure participants listen and are productive
  • Consider your appearance through body language and tone of voice
  • Introduce each method clearly and make sure that everybody understands what to do before inviting them to start working
    • Consider dividing complex methods and introduce bit by bit as to not overload your participants with information
  • Make sure to continuously monitor the progress and atmosphere of your workshop
    • Does everyone know what to do?
    • Do they need a break?
    • Are you reaching your goals?
    • Are you on time according to your timeframe?
    • Do you need to adjust your workshop plan?
  • When the agenda has been completed thank the participants for their participation and, if you have time, ask if they have any final thoughts or feedback.
  • It is important to keep the timeframe – try to avoid going over time

Documenting a workshop

The importance of documentation is often understated so make sure to plan for how you intend to collect your data for synthesis after the workshop

Consider:

  • Are you able to have a co-facilitator that can take notes and help distributing/collecting material and templates?
  • Templates are a way of organizing and collecting data in real time, saves you a lot of work afterwards (see templates for each method)
  • Take clear pictures of everything you deem relevant for future work

If you are asking your participants to sketch during your workshop, it’s a good idea to ask them to describe in written text what the sketch represents (you might forget afterwards).