UX Fundamentals for Startups (workshop)
Worksheets used during the workshop. (c) Egle Karalyte
Worksheets used during the workshop. (c) Egle Karalyte

In June and also earlier this month, I was privileged to be invited to present a 2 day UX training workshop for startups at the Paris Telecom Incubator (one of the most respected government funded incubators in France). It is not the first time I have presented a workshop for startups. Last year I was a startup mentor on UX at the private incubator/accelerator in Paris called the Dojoboost.

I love this kind of work! :) Especially when I see that people find it useful, that they get inspired by the ideas and find ways to apply them in their own ventures. This is so fulfilling…

After the 4-hr morning seminar, I had one-to-one sessions with each startup to go over their digital product or service and help them find solutions to their UX challenges. These sessions were supposed to last for 1.5hr but most of the time they went over. Sometimes I felt that we could go on until the evening, brainstorming on the best ways to make things work :) It is often the case when one works with people who are equally passionate about what they do. So no surprise here :)

What I found especially interesting is that these sessions were of co-creation in nature, rather than me being an expert and telling what to do. I don’t like the latter approach as I feel the entrepreneurs know their audiences, products and competitive market much better than me. It is ‘their baby’ :) Sometimes I gave practical solutions if it was pertinent (e.g. if it is more on such technicalities as UI design, better navigation, etc) but sometimes I just facilitated the process of them coming up with ideas by simply asking the right questions and ensuring we reach the original goal that was set for the session.

Ever since I put on the first workshop in London (which is now 4 yrs ago), I have been fine-tuning it with the goal to make it as useful as possible and to encompass through it all my experience with digital product and website management, web design, development and web marketing (which totals to 14 hrs already, oh my!). I wanted to present an holistic point of view for creating a digital experience (in the form of a product or service) and then communicating it well to your prospect clients so that people want to sign up and come back. If I can call it so, I devised my own ‘philosophy’ of the components of a good customer experience online which spans the disciplines of user experience design, UI design, branding, customer relationship development, and content marketing. And, of course, takes into account the popular lean/agile development approach.

Most of the workshops I have seen on the UX topic often miss one of the components I mentioned above, which I feel makes them incomplete as they don’t paint the full picture of what digital experience is all about (be it on the web or mobile). It is not just about identifying the personas, user tasks, prioritising the features for the MVP, and wireframing. There is so much more to it. So, I tried to put it all together in a way that gives a ‘toolkit’ and a set of best practises for an entrepreneur or a product team to help him/her develop a useful and engaging digital product or service.

I am very happy to see this workshop is starting to shape up ! I will surely keep on revising it. Especially as I am already invited to come back in September and October at the Paris Telecom Incubator. Exciting!

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