As designers, we are so used to the concept of user-centric design that we forget not everyone on a product team shares the same mindset. Disagreement and argument exist because PMs, Engineers and Designers do not use the same language. It is time for designers to take initiative and advocate for design thinking.
The form it takes is a 2-day workshop around a real product demand : designing next-generation mobile launcher.
Introducing design thinking basics, providing practical tools and emphasis the value and necessity of user empathy.
We will create a judgement-free environment, gather fresh and out-of-the-box ideas from participants of various disciplines.
Give our team members a break from work, a semi-formal setting to socialize and learn about each other’s expertise.
The outcome should be a collection of innovative product / interaction ideas that challenge current launcher design and have the potential to become MIUI’s next-generation mobile phone launcher. The ideas don’t have to be polished or fully feasible, but they do have to be based on real user needs.
It is important for participants to be informed with the various design stages and understand the value behind each one. Therefore, we plan to unfold an end-to-end design workflow, from user research all the way to usability testing.
We researched on the definition and usage of various design tools and built upon the ones that most align with our needs. We also contacted users to support 1-on-1 interview session and nearby Xiaomi store for on-spot observations.
Visuals and words are great extra fuel for thought that spark new ideas. Previous to the workshop, we collected a set of keywords and mood-boards that serve as inspirations for our participants.
Before the actual workshop day, we found volunteers and to go through the entire process with us, pointing out things that are unclear or instructions that needs more refinement.
All of the teams came up with excellent ideas on the forms mobile launcher could take in the future. They range from futuristic concepts to actual feasible solutions that are immeidiately put on agenda and executed in the upcoming version.
We sent out surveys to participants asking them to rate the entire activity as well as individual sessions. The result is quite encouraging, most participants believe the workshop to be very valuable and educative; they look forward to attending again, some even invited me to host for their department.
PMs and designers used to be in this interesting love-hate relationship due to our different duties in a project. But kicking off the year with such a fun and collaborative workshop breaks down the wall between us. PMs have gained a better understanding of the design process and begins to involve designers in earlier stages of a project. We are now aligned with the common goal and that is to be user-centric and to be bold.