The Facilitation Framework
Stop collaborating, listen. You guys remember that? A genius artist, she's smiling. Do you know who the artist is? No? Who the, are you're too young? Bagnoli, thank you, Tino. This is a little different than that. (laughs) So it's listen, synthesize and document. You can put it to the beat. Okay, no you can't, all right. That's what we do. Listen, synthesize and document. That's really what I'm doing during the session. I'm using these exercises to listen, to understand, you know, what the client is saying, neutrally. I'm understanding and prioritizing, which Chris, you really wanna know how to prioritize and I talk, I'll talk about how to prioritize. This exercise, the goals one is one, but I'm also prioritizing. In every single exercise that we're gonna do, I'm prioritizing, and then documenting live. Remember, I talked about add and multitasking and multi-threading, I'm doing all those things at the same time. How do I not freak out? Here's the secret. I have a framework, and it's a...
very clear framework. It's in my head. This is the first time ever that many, many people are getting to see how I do it, 'cause I actually had to document it. (chuckles) Which, you know, it's a lot of work, but the agenda is actually your best friend. It keeps you on time and on track if you're doing live facilitation. You know designers, creative people, we don't wanna have too much show, we don't want to have to be too stressful. Yeah, let it flow, resist that urge. Aligning everybody in real time in the room. I did that for you guys early on. Is everybody in the room aligned? And you'll see me do it again. Getting agreement that those are the things that you want to get out of the session. Brand user goals, I just talked about that. User stories. This is the middleware. If you're a software developer, the user story, customer, journeys, you can call it different things, there's different ways of doing them. There's deep, there's shallow. You're gonna see me do them quickly inside our live session so I can't go really deep. I have to keep it like bullet point style. It will be sufficient to guide me to the solutions. The other thing is auditing. Who is the competition? What does the current software actually look like? These are all steps that you have to do in user experience. Anyway, we're just doing them live in the room. Synthesis is really about bringing different things together and making decisions based on those and documenting it. So that's the sketching part. And finally, the review, which is, is this what we wanted to do? Here's a sample agenda for day one and day two. Same principles. The actual timing, five minutes. Notice that nothing is an hour, it's off 30 minutes. Attention is something that people do not have. Try not to do things for too long, try to run things fast. If they look at the end of the session and it was like, wow, that was a little, we covered a lot of stuff. That's good. Now, you don't wanna run it too fast, you have to feel the room. And you'll be able to do that and I'll show you a little bit of how do you feel the room. So this is a technique again for feeling the room. What does each person want to get out of the session? I did this with you guys. In a session, I'll actually have them prioritize. Choose one. You only get to choose one. And then, I'll put them all together. Our goal is to accomplish goal three and goal one and to also do goal two. This has to look like what we wanna do. Great, now everybody is happy and aligned, and I'm gonna track that. It also shows that you're listening to them. You're there for them. You're there to facilitate. You're not a genius designer, you're not like, you know, going to tell them what to do. That's the worst thing you can possibly do. You're gonna let them actually do it for you. They'll feel like you're the one doing it but you're not. So those are the three exercises that I just showed you. This is what they look like in a whiteboard form. The defining the brand, the profiles and the goals. This is, I can't repeat it enough. Allow for lots of ideas, then prioritize. Features, ideas, goals, needs, boom, prioritize, over time. So you brainstorm divergent thinking, and you prioritize. Every single exercise is going to be like that. You're gonna create a minimum, minimum in this case scenario today for the, of three, two to three user stories in a session. You can create less, you can create more, there's sometimes not enough time. This is what a user story could look like. This is a simple version, I'm gonna show you a slightly different version than this today, but really ultimately is the journey of the customer. How do they find out? How do they engage? What makes them come back? What makes them recommend it to a friend? You're gonna notice this in very many different methodologies and user experience. There is many ways of doing it. So remember there is no right or wrong process, it's simply about the ability to define what the user needs, translate that then into an actual site. So here's the client requirements document, which I, you know, I'm gonna speak in Spanish. I'm like, this is really dense. But I actually sit down with the client and I translated it into index cards. Now it's visual. Oh, I get it now, where before I'm like, I'm not gonna read your dang document, but I did read it with them in a live session. All of these, by the way, are examples of a real session. All of these things are real session with a company that does software here in Silicon Valley, or here in the Bay Area. Synthesize and prioritize. So from this, to making current products with annotations, to discussing and prioritizing the new features and translating them, all of it was about surfacing, systemizing and visualizing, and taking complex and confusing and organizing it. So finally, it's really sketching, re-sketching and agreeing. Don't worry if it's imperfect. You know, I'm not the best of sketchers and I might've wasted a lot of money in art school. But because then you actually can do this. And in this session I had a person with me. I had a UX designer who's very good. She had just graduated from general assembly and she was working with me as an apprentice. She documented everything immediately after the session, and then we showed it to the client. But here's the thing. The fidelity level from doing it live is really high because you're just right there with a client and they're immediately seeing the results. There isn't a week or two weeks afterwards. They're seeing it there. They're there saying yes, you got agreement. You can go code, if you want it to and come back. That's at the speed that a startup needs to work. And that's how most startups that I know are fairly successful at work. They work fast. They work in the room. Here is a session, and here's what the results look like. There's templates. I have templates for the exercises. I'm gonna share this with you today, you're gonna see me use these. Here's the final like inside the actor's studio. Here's what I'm actually doing in a very complicated-looking diagram. This is the canvas, this is where I'm gonna be sketching. I'm taking a summary of the user story, of the steps that the user took. We did a site map with the client. I'm taking that section that is this page, this is the top level. I'm taking the value proposition, the top needs of the user which I ended up summarizing them. If the user says they needed X, Y and Z, the value proposition to users, we give you X, Y and Z, like we solve that problem. It's just like do unto others as, you know, you would want. It's not that complicated. I do use the top brand attributes. As a filter mechanism, I might not use them explicitly in the architecture aspect. They do affect the visual design a lot more. But look, if you say it's exclusive and charming, we can really begin dealing with language, we can begin dealing with what products we offer, an exclusive offer only for you. If we have friendly, you know what the language is gonna be overall as in writing. Then the top three efficiency, top three awareness, top three revenue goals are what we're hitting. So here are the revenue goals for this particular client. This is a real client. One of their things was a younger. Well, this is in, yeah. Younger customers, off season rentals is a resort. Bookings revenue, bookings is number one. Would that not make sense, how do we get them to book more? So I'm looking at all of these things at once, and talking through the sketching of the page. This is something that the architect has usually, or the UX designer has the opportunity to do on their own quietly and reflect not here. Here, you're doing it in front of the client and talking and going back and forth. And it doesn't matter. I guess, you know, it's okay. It's not gonna be perfect, I'm gonna be right or so I'm gonna be wrong. But the reality is that the synthesis of all these things is what you would do anyway. All I'm doing is collapsing them all into a one short burst. It's kind of like if you go from doing it at home on your own to doing it in like master chef kitchen or something like that with a timer, you have to do it really fast. It's a great way to learn, a little scary sometimes. So simple things like the taxonomy that, you know, for those you who are transitioning into user experience. Top down left to right, more important, less important, it's a fairly kind of simple construct. These are the primary sections of the site. These are secondaries. These are things that are, for example, up in the top, like, you know, log in and some of the other functions, there's a footer down here where all those things are, fairly basic. Modularity is gonna be something that's gonna be important in your structure of the site, whether it's a long page format, whether it's a phone. A lot of people ask, what are the inputs into the decision making? You have to look at, what are the current design, you know, parameters and trends that are happening? Everything is mobile now. What are the platforms like? What are the paradigms? And that you need to at least keep up to that. But the reality is that once you know those things, those are things that you can find out fairly quickly. Top 10 trends in web design. You know, top 10 trends in mobile design. You're a user, so you know what's going on for the most part. And it's not plagiarism as simply, those are standards and software. Those are the things you have to look at in addition to all of these other factors, to do it, okay. I'll say, that's a lot of stuff. It's really overwhelming. How do you do all that? One step at a time, in the process. It's all in the agenda, you're not doing it all at the same time. And you have to let go. You have to let go of being perfect, you can admit it. You can walk into the session and then say, I haven't done this before. This is a first time. It's an experiment. You're willing to try it out with me. I might be a little bit slower. If, you know, all those things, and at the end of the day, I'll make it look really easy, but I've been doing it for, you know, 15 years and I love doing it. So for you guys, there's only one barrier to doing it which is starting and doing it. And you've probably already done it. So the framework will add to helping, it will lower the amount of iterations you have substantially. You're gonna go from zero to decisions really fast. And it seems that UX is really technical and has lots of jargons. Look, it's all about listening, understanding and seeing eye to eye. At the end of the day, you can get rid of all the jargon, you can forget about like all the stuff. Get the books, understand it, know what it is, all the exercises, site maps, wire frames, all these things. I really usually don't even care. I mean, I just, I know I need them and I do them, but I don't care about the technical aspects of them. It's about creating ease, making it easy, so you have to intuitively know what it is that it needs to be. Clarity, is it clear? You gotta ask yourself that. And something that we don't remember or that we forget a little bit sometimes, the best software, the best experiences produce emotions. The best user experience designers produce, that produce amazing products, produce emotion. Whether that emotion is pleasure, like, oh, I'm not worried about it because it's so easy to do, that's an emotion. Like your ease is really a pleasurable. It doesn't matter but it's really about that. And these three things here at the end. Listening, which is a huge part of the process, seeing, and this is not just the visual aspect of seeing, like I can see, you know, the stuff up or the comps, this is seeing in the third eye, like, you know, spiritual sense. Really seeing you, I know, I see you. You know, when, you know, you meet somebody on the road and they go, I want a relationship, I see you, I see who you really are. You need to actually do that for the user. It takes time, but you get to that point till you can sense the users. And then at the end, you have to feel. It has to, it has to, if it's logical and it works, that makes sense. But if the experience as a whole, you don't feel it, it doesn't just doesn't feel right, it just doesn't, it's hard. And kinds don't do that, I'll know when I see it. They're not saying they know when they see it visually, they're saying, I need to feel that it's right, and I'm not right now feeling that it's right. You're seeing it and it looks formally right, but it might not be right. So those are the three things, and that's actually gonna be my second tattoo on this side, those three things. Not in that art, not in that visual, but those are the criteria of really being able to do really successful interaction with people. I've really been able, that this is the secret to relationships, this is the secret to the whole world right here.