Three things I learnt from my first co -design workshop
by Sophie Corbin,

Three things I learnt from my first co -design workshop

Workshops are a great way to collaborate, share ideas, and gain valuable insights. But, while in-person workshops are enjoyable, the growth of remote work over the last few years has brought about a new way of conducting them; virtually. And even though the idea of remote workshops can be a little uncertain, they can be just as insightful and enjoyable if they are planned thoughtfully. In this article, I will be sharing with you the three key takeaways I took from our remote co – design workshops that made them a success.

1. Pilot testing

The first approach that helped make the workshops successful was our pilot test (practice test). Before the actual workshop, it’s critical to run through the activities and timings to make sure everything runs smoothly. As we started piloting, it became clear that we were missing something that was very important for our participants, directions. We were naturally jumping back and forth between Miro and Zoom, but our demo participant felt confused as to where they needed to be. Just because we knew what to do, we overlooked that didn’t mean the same for our participants.

Our pilot test let us identify any possible issues that ourselves or our participants would encounter which helped us adjust our script to make it better for everyone involved. As a result, the workshop was efficient, and engagement was high from everyone. Everyone involved knew exactly what they were supposed to do and got stuck in. Piloting helps you to fine -tune your session, making sure it goes well for all.

2. Tech checking

Another approach that was important to carry out was tech checking. This is where we ask our participants to join us on a 10- 15-minute call on the meeting platform we will use on the day, to check their tech is working and cover off any other aspects they will need to be ready for. It is always important to do this so we as researchers have clarity that we can focus on the research, and not stumble upon any major tech issues. It also gives the respondent a heads up with what is expected of them within the session, learn how to do those things beforehand, and ask any questions they may have.

In the past we have had workshop’s where we couldn’t test all platforms before the session, which led to some cringe worthy moments and impacted the participants ability to test certain aspects of the research. We took this learning and created a Miro board which covered all interactive parts of the session and asked the respondents to complete these within the tech check. It was a lot for them to cover and take in, but it was worth it as everything became certain, and the workshops ended up much smoother for everyone involved.

3. Communication between the Team

One of the advantages of in- person workshops is the ease to communicate anything of importance between your team. With remote working, it can be a little harder to do this with the restraints of waiting for someone to type out their message or the person you are trying to communicate to not being able to read your message. However, my team and I found that we could communicate freely and easily if we planned to be in the office, in the same room together. This gave us ways to have discussions between the workshop activities.

We were able to talk about how to manage our time better and if we were waiting on any participants to send through their creative designs. Having the team in a physical space together helped us make decisions as a team and made sure everyone one was on the same page. This boosted the team’s morale and helped us swiftly handle any situation that came up.


Remote workshops can be just as fun, insightful, and successful as in-person ones if we keep a few things in mind. Our recent co -design workshops taught us some important lessons. Practising your session shapes up your plan in a way that helps you but also the respondents to make it user-friendly. Tech checking all aspects of the workshop made sure respondents where ready and prevented us from any last – minute tech issues. And having no restrictions when talking with each other made the whole workshop flexible while still being valuable.

Because we planned everything out carefully, the workshops gave us insightful learnings and innovative designs. Our back up plans that we put in place, never needed to be put into action because we were ready. The whole experience in the end was fun and left our team spirits high, coming out of the workshops knowing we had done the best we could for our client and the respondents.



UX Consultant Emma Peters

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