Running a Design Workshop for Sitecore

In the latest in a series of articles on design thinking, here’s what you need to know about Sitecore design thinking workshops.

Design thinking workshops are an excellent way to bring people with very different perspectives together in order to give creative input into scoping and designing digital projects. Design thinking is an approach that we have successfully used with our clients to design Sitecore-based websites, that have incorporated input from:

  • Different teams and functions within the business
  • Those involved in different parts of the content lifecycle from authors to content admins to the digital marketing manager
  • Even the customer view

Having the diversity of opinion and taking a more collaborative mindset and approach leads to better results. In this post we’re going to explore the main steps involved in running a design workshop for Sitecore, and how you can leverage Sitecore Experience Accelerator to help prototype and validate ideas.

Editor’s note: this is the latest in a series of articles on design thinking. The first, How to Put Design Thinking Into Action, and second, 6 Tactics to Make Design Thinking a Success, ran in May and the third, Getting the Right Mindset for Design Thinking: Embracing Chaos and Collaboration, ran Aug. 24.

What Are the Different Stages of a Sitecore Design Thinking Workshop?

On another article I outlined the high-level phases of any design workshop:

  1. Understand the current state: Define the current problem, identify issues and then analyze them to discern the main priorities
  2. Map the future state: Come up with new ideas and then develop them by prototyping the solution
  3. Validate proposed ideas: test the ideas to see if they work and whether they can be put into action

A design workshop for a Sitecore project will generally follow these steps.

Sometimes it can be beneficial to carry out some exercises prior to a main design thinking workshop, perhaps with the central marketing team, in order to help define exactly who should be at the workshop. For example, you can use an empathy map and then a stakeholder mapping exercise in order to understand the key people who should be there.

The main design workshop session would then consist of an ideation process that would help to understand the current state. Here, one exercise that works very well is the Rose Bud Thorn technique that gets input not only where you are currently, but also input for the future state. Other exercises such as affinity clustering, using a creative matrix and then a “visualize the vote” process to develop, synthesize and prioritize ideas.

With these design thinking exercises, you will have brought together different perspectives and had creative input that will be very focused on the way people actually use your website, but also take into account the Sitecore implementation from the content authors and admin perspective as well.

Related Article: Let Experience Design Be Your Competitive Advantage in 2022

Prototyping and Sitecore Experience Accelerator

For the prototyping and testing stages of a design thinking process for a Sitecore website project, Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA) is an excellent platform that has a reusable set of components and layouts that can be leveraged as a rapid prototyping tool. SXA works in a way that separates content structure from design, which makes it easier to experiment with different designs.

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