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Why Usability Workshops should be a Product Company’s Priority

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Recently, we were approached by the CEO of a product company who was looking for a proven method to strengthen the culture of innovation within his company. For him, introducing a user-centric approach to innovation through a Usability workshop was the answer; and he was absolutely right.

In the recent past, User-centric innovation, incorporating the principles of Design Thinking, has received a lot of attention and with good reason too.

Think of the top successful brands of our modern age – and you’ll find that most of them are creating disruptive products and services by putting users at the core of their innovation process.

In fact, when launched, they described their mission in one bold, striking sentence– to build the Earth’s most Customer-Centric company – and they’ve been doing that ever since, by successfully understanding and addressing their customers’ motivations, behaviors and need gaps.

So how can you, as a CEO or Manager, introduce this new method of innovation in your company without uprooting the existing process and creating added friction?

At Hureo, we’ve found that delivering new knowledge through the medium of a hands-on workshop works wonders – participants get a brief introduction to the process and learn to apply usability methods at the workshop itself, while getting a first-hand experience of its impact on their product building exercise.

And this is exactly what happened at the Usability Workshop organized for the product company mentioned at the start.

Jahnavi, UX Researcher interacting with participants at Hureo Workshop

The workshop was one of the events at the Team Offsite, and since the Offsite was taking place amidst the verdant rolling hills of Lonavala, we were already off to a great start.

Our participants included senior management professionals across various roles and responsibilities, from the CEO of the company, to the founder and heads of various departments including marketing, UX, engineering, etc.

To drive home the importance of adopting a user-centered approach, we made sure that the workshop was interactive and very hands-on. Every participant got the opportunity to design a mock product, while applying the principles of design thinking. This resulted in 4 key benefits:

1. Learning to listen to unspoken needs

Innovation depends on the kind of user insights you generate, and to find unique, untapped insights, we need to hone our listening and observation skills. At the workshop, participants were challenged to dig deep and uncover the user’s real challenges, motivations and behavior pattern, in order to join the dots and arrive at interesting new ideas.

Hureo Usability Workshop Worksheet

2. Deeper understanding of usability concepts like empathy, prototyping and the feedback mechanism

By becoming users themselves for a short space of time, the team learned the importance of empathizing with the end user while building a product.The user-centered approach also ushers in more agility in the development process, by allowing for  quick and iterative prototyping based on the feedback received.

3. Transforming feedback/criticism into new opportunities

It’s not easy when your idea prototype gets torn to shreds by another participant playing the role of the user. But imagine how much worse it would be if your actual product gets shot down in the market by actual users. This workshop taught the team members to make sure they constantly touch base with their users and keep their needs central to the solution. It also helped them look at feedback through the lens of objectivity; and repurpose it to build a stronger product.

4. Cross-functional collaboration

The Usability workshop showed participants how much more could be achieved when interdisciplinary teams collaborate meaningfully. Complex challenges were examined through different perspectives and interesting solutions were born. An added benefit? Different team members also got the opportunity to work together and get to know each other better.

At the end of the day, the Usability workshop left the participants with tangible tools and a clear idea of how to apply user-centered innovation to their product-building process. Needless to say, the CEO was happy too – his team had stepped away from the old, and could now step up their innovation game!

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Padmini Venugopal
Padmini Venugopal
Padmini is a copywriter and communications specialist with over 7 years of focused experience in advertising and branding across media and across industries. Champion of big ideas and small companies doing meaningful work.