Did you know that hundreds of workshops take place around the world every month using Marvel?
From schools to enterprises, Marvel has powered workshops of all shapes and sizes. Whether that's meeting rooms with 5 people working on a feature, to halls with over 50 kids learning about Design Thinking.
The great thing about our workshops is that anyone can run one - whether you're in design, research, marketing or management. We've seen all roles and departments get stuck into running and participating sessions.
Through working with customers and partners over the years, we've taken many of the learnings and included it our very own Design Thinking workshop kit, with everything you need to run your first session, including digital and print materials.
This blog post will take you through the basics. download the free kit for further reading, templates and decks.
So what is Design Thinking?
Design Thinking is a design methodology that helps solve problems using a human-centered approach. It's nothing revolutionary mind you, the stages of the process are things you probably already know and do.
However, when pieced together as a framework, it can be incredibly effective in discovering solutions whilst always putting the end-user first. It’s simple enough for everyone to use and will take you from idea generation, right the way through to sketching, creating and testing interactive prototypes using Marvel.
Let’s break down the stages:
- Empathise: Know the people you're designing for, so you understand their needs better.
- Define: The big, meaty problem you want to solve for your business, customer or end-user
- Ideate: Come up with different solutions that might be useful to people
- Prototype: Turn ideas into realistic mockups that you can test (and where you use Marvel!)
- Test: Share your prototype and gain invaluable feedback from the people that matter
Another major benefit (which I love), is that it brings non-designers into the mix. It’s all about the process of putting users and experiences first to unlock the potential of any idea, product or business. Then once every team has the hang of it, they can simply rinse and repeat the same process for new problems that need solving.
Once you’ve defined the problem you’re solving and brainstormed ideas, you’ll need to move onto the prototype stage where you’ll rapidly create a mockup to test your idea with users.
So you want to run a workshop? The role of the facilitator.
Every workshop needs a facilitator to run it (you!) so we've put together a short guide on how to get everything prepped and ready for a successful session.
You'll be responsible for setting up the workshop, sending invites to attendees, printing our workshop kit and keeping everyone engaged and on time as they work through the stages of Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Testing.
One facilitator is needed for up to four teams of 3-5 people, if your session is bigger than that, grab someone to give you a hand!
Don’t worry, we’ve made a list of basics to help you run your session:
- Pick a time-frame - It typically takes a minimum of 1 hour for a tightly run workshop with 6 people to produce results. If you have more people, increase the time.
- Choose a theme - Each workshop will center around a business or user problem to solve. Pick something flexible enough to generate multiple solutions, for example 'Help more users remember to take their medication'.
- Email everyone the agenda, download links and plan - Let everyone know the what, when and where. Also send out the calendar event and book a meeting room!
- Download our apps - If you’re using whiteboards and paper, ask everyone to download the Marvel iOS or Android app. If you're working on wireframes or high-fidelity UI and need a design tool, head to Marvel in your browser where you can design in your browser or use Sketch. Sign up to a free Marvel account before the session starts.
- Download and print the workbook and template sketch paper - This has the outline of devices making it easier to draw your screens and take photos using the Marvel apps. Plus it allows the participants to write their responses to each of the stages.
- Download our presentation guide - You can put our presentation on the screen in your meeting room while the workshop is running to keep people on track.
During the workshop
Once things have kicked off, here’s a few tips to make sure it all goes smoothly:
- Be strict on the time spent on each stage - Time to get vocal! Constantly give everyone updates on how much time is remaining in each stage and usher them to complete the tasks and move on. It also helps build up the energy and suspense for presentations!
- Use the facilitator deck to keep a steady pace - Keep the facilitator slides from our kit visible on a TV screen or laptop so that attendees can keep referring back to it. Move through the slides to push everyone into each new stage.
- Encourage multi-tasking - It’s natural for some teams to fall behind the stages, but don’t worry! It’s a great opportunity for other members of the team to tackle a different stage or begin crafting the presentation.
What is Marvel and why is it used in Design Thinking?
Marvel is a design and prototyping platform that enables you to create realistic, interactive mockups of apps, websites and digital products. It’s super simple to use, you can go from idea to clickable prototype in a matter of seconds, and you don’t need to know any code.
Once your session reaches the ‘Prototype’ stage of Design Thinking, that’s where Marvel comes in. It’s free to sign up and use, all your attendees need to have is an iPhone, Android or laptop device.
Rapid prototyping with Marvel is the best way to test ideas with users and start a conversation is to show them how the solution works. This can range from hand-drawn sketches (low-fidelity) to interactive mockups (high-fidelity) that look and feel like the finished product.
The purpose of rapid prototyping is to demonstrate possibilities quickly by building a series of inexpensive mock-ups so that you’re able to get early feedback and adjust designs accordingly.
Tips for getting started:
- Don’t be too precious about your first idea: In the early stages of ideation, your first few ideas won’t be your best but that’s absolutely fine – keep focused on generating as many designs as possible.
- It doesn’t need to be pretty: When creating sketches, it’s always tempting to spend time making them look amazing but it’s best to avoid that and focus instead of getting your ideas down. Remember, you’ll go through a few iterations before you finalise your prototype.
“They slow us down to speed us up. By taking the time to prototype our ideas, we avoid costly mistakes such as becoming too complex too early and sticking with a weak idea for too long.” – Tim Brown, Change by Design
But first! Map out your user journey
Before you start prototyping in your session, ask your participants to sketch out the journey you want your user to go through in your product on paper. This doesn't have to be very detailed or technical, it's just to go through the process of create a rough blueprint for how the user will move between screens.
Creating prototypes with Marvel
How to create mobile prototypes using sketches
Our iPhone and Android apps are perfect for creating prototypes of mobile apps or features in your Design Thinking session. They allow anyone to turn sketches on paper into interactive prototypes in a few minutes.
- Download the free Marvel app here
- Create a project by tapping the green add button in the bottom right of the screen
- Write your project name and select your device type
- Click the green add button to add images from your camera roll or capture images of your sketches
- Select your image and tap ‘Add Link’ to create a hotspot. Drag and resize your hotspots as necessary
- Select ‘Link to image’ and select where a user would go when they click that hotspot
- Customise with transitions between screens
- When you’re ready, hit the play button or ‘Share’ in the top right to share via message, email or URL
How to create desktop prototypes
If your idea or product requires prototypes for desktop screen sizes, the Marvel web platform allows you to wireframe, design and prototype directly in the browser without any additional software. All you need is a laptop or computer. If you use Sketch or other design software, we support that too!
- Click the 'Create Project' button in the top right of your screen
- Select 'Prototype' and enter your Project Name and type of prototype that you'd like to create
- Select ‘Add Images’ and choose to upload from your computer or design in Marvel
- Hover over the first screen in your project and click ‘Prototype’
- Click and drag over the area you would like to link to another screen and select your hotspot destination
- Select a screen transition and action at the bottom of the hotspot panel
- When you’re ready, click 'Play' in the top right of your screen to see your prototype in action or 'Share or invite' to send to your test user
Now that you have your prototype, you’re able to test with end-users or others in the session, and gain valuable feedback that will help validate your ideas!
Grab our free workshop kit with templates and more!
If you’d like more information on the full Design Thinking process and how to run your own sessions, then download our free Workshop Kit.
The kit includes a workbook, facilitator guide, workshop slides and a presentation template that will support you in applying the five Design Thinking stages in an interactive and fun session!