August 10, 2015

Remote Design For America Leadership Studio: Event Recap

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Design for America is the leading network of student designers in the country. Their mission is to organize and support interdisciplinary student teams and community members to create local and social impact through design.

In our continuing support for design education and practices, MURAL was a proud sponsors of the organization's annual Design for America Leadership Studio.

I conducted a one-hour workshop on experience mapping at the event. Since I couldn’t make it to Northwestern University in person, where the event was held, we decided to run the workshop remote.

I logged into a conference call from my home office. About 20 students joined the class in one of the event rooms. While they could interact with each other face-to-face, they could only see and hear me through the teleconferencing software.

After a very brief introduction on remote design, the group had about 10 minutes to try out MURAL. They used a prepared canvas to learn some of the basic functions. The task was to introduce themselves to teammates through images and links.

Because MURAL is so easy and intuitive to use, the group picked it up quickly. Within minutes they were adding notes, images, and links.


For the main part of the workshop, we focused on mapping experiences. The scenario?

How might we improve biking to the supermarket.”

I set up a template with a basic persona and area to map the journey. After reading through the persona, each team began completing the map. Of course, they hadn’t done any research on the topic prior to this, so they had to rely on their collective intuition. That was fine for the purpose of this exercise.

There are many advantages to mapping experiences online. For instance, it's easy to include photos and images right into the map. Instead of just writing the name of a touchpoint, the students were able to include images that showed the context.

We also did a quick dot voting session. Each person had two votes to cast on the most important pain points, in their opinion. With MURAL, getting to a group consensus is quick and easy.

Overall, the session ran smoothly. Although I was not in the room with the students, we were able to get through exercise and have a meaningful conversation. At the same time, we were able to show how a complex activity like experience mapping could be done completely online.

Please contact me if you'd like to know more about MURAL or mapping experiences online:

Jim Kalbach

Jim Kalbach is MURAL's Chief Evangelist. A noted author, speaker, and instructor in customer experience, experience design, digital transformation, and strategy, Jim’s book, The Jobs To Be Done Playbook, offers techniques organizations can follow to turn market insight into action.

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