How to Involve users in co creating their own User Experience

Savvy Mehra
6 min readOct 15, 2020


A guide to facilitate Co-Design workshop with your users

The User Experience Design or the User Experience design always treats USERS as subjects and involves them while observing them or testing designs with them. We as designers sometimes watch the recordings or analytic data to form a hypothesis.

Digital Design is evolving everyday and so do the users. Today, users are more informed and have tons of options so in order to create a value for the product, it is important to properly network, involve, empower them.

Co- Designing workshops with users give companies a chance to involve the users in the design process, show empathy at a deeper level and engage them to eventually fall in love with the product.

Co-Design workshops also let the users co create their own user experience.

Too many cooks spoil the broth, may be a true statement but it’s not true when it comes to involving users in design.

Since, users are not trained experts in this discipline , a proper structure, planning, and tools are needed to make the workshop a success. We also need more stakeholders like development teams and PMs which also helps in improving internal communication and repo within the design and development teams which helps in smoother product development lifecycle.

In this article, We will see how we can facilitate a physical co-design workshop for your users. Since we are also doing it online due to quarantine, We will also cover some of the tools and best practices for doing the workshop online.

This was the most asked questions by our design team on various platforms and we wanted to contribute to the community.

What are the prerequisites for the co design workshop?

A target audience. We encourage companies or design studios to run this workshop to co design with your existing users.

When should you run this workshop?

Ideally, the biggest impact of the workshop is in the beginning of a new feature or product launch. It helps throughout the development of the product.

However, It can also be run as a product improvement phase or a separate Research Lab Initiative by the design team.

Where to run the workshop?

Though it will vary depending on the target audience but mainly it should be run at a convenient place for the users rather than the other way around. Location plays a major role in initial participation and motivation.

How to run the workshop?

The workshop runs in mainly 4 sessions. In this article we will cover how to run, facilitate, moderate, document and benefit from the workshop.

Pre-workshop Preparations

Workshop Goal

Before jumping directly to the different phases of the co-design workshops.

It is very important to establish a clear goal for the workshop. It will help you to not only select the right participants but also give you a roadmap to plan each of the sessions better.

Limit the topics of the workshop to have deep and focused coverage of an issue.


Create 4–6 teams based on the number of topics and people that you have. 4 people in each team can give a balance for problem solving and enabling more accurate results.

Team Members

It’s important to have team members from different disciplines. They should be a mixture of internal stakeholders and users to define their own experience. It is also important to double check the dynamics of the group. Apart from the end users, The group should have user advocates — designers, developers to understand user pain points, product people for deeper engagement. Mixture o team members also give the advantage to avoid the common power struggle in group discussions where the loudest of most powerful person has a voice.

Mock Session for the team members

In order to make the team members comfortable and break the ice, do a mock session with your participants.

Session 1 : Collective Brainstorm

In this session, Take a backseat, give control to the users and ask them about the top problems in the product/ Product improvement/ New feature

The goal is to generate as many ideas as possible, Though it’s written many times but followed not often by moderators — No Idea is a Bad idea. If the idea is solving a problem , then its a good idea

Session 2: Co Analysis

In this session, your team members will find the top problems to solve by voting on it. Its the session to understand what and why of the problems


  1. Moderator will give an intro to the Co-Analysis phase to the team members, telling them to pick the problem they found and present to the rest of the users. They should also talk about the value add of the solving the problem, If they can think of any conflicts that may arise and factors for those conflict
  2. Team members one by one present their problem and rest of the team listen
  3. Team members then collectively vote to prioritize the top problems to solve
  4. The problems that get maximum votes will be designed in the next phase.

Tips for the moderator

  1. Explain the value of the session and why its important that everyone participates
  2. Ask the participants to write one problem per card to focus on one problem at a time and for easier discussion
  3. Make the exercise time box to keep the session fast paced
  4. Make sure to end the discussion if the group is distracted from the problem


By the end of this session, you will find the top problem all the users agreed to solve. This creates a feeling of ownership to the users.

Before the Session 3, The top problems will be distributed to different teams

Session 3 Co Design

In this session, Teams will pick up the problem and come up with solutions based on different perspectives of the diverse team members. It’s a great session and an important stage of your workshop as the users will see their ideas come to life.


  1. Moderator will give an intro to the Co-Design phase to the team members, asking them to place their solutions to the table.
  2. Gather together your design supplies, including A4 paper, markers and sticky dots
  3. Give each person an A4 sheet of paper and ask them to draw eight boxes on it
  4. Set a timer for 8 minutes
  5. Ask the group to sketch 8 quick ideas each in 8 minutes
  6. When the timer pings, everyone stops sketching

Tips for the moderator

  1. This phase can be overwhelming, discouraging and distracting for non designers.
  2. Make sure to tell them the meaning of “Design” in this phase is not a polished designed but designing different solutions rapidly , roughly drawing them in the boxes.
  3. Designers in the team should make sure to allow users to come up with design solutions rather than others showing off their skills. This is the time where they should go into their researcher mode and encourage others to come up with design solutions

Session 4 Co Evaluate

In this session, Teams will evaluate the design solutions and choose the best possible design solutions evaluating the conflicts, limitations, pros and cons


  1. Ask the participants to evaluate their design solutions collectively
  2. The team members should evaluate the design solutions, discuss the implementation, risks and what influenced their design solutions
  3. The evaluation can be done between usability vs usefulness vs how often they will use it
  4. When the solutions are chosen , solutions should be documented to create an action plan later with the PM team.

Tips for the moderator

  1. By the 4th and last session, everyone in the room might lose interest or be overwhelmed so It’s important to engage users by asking them to present their evaluation to each other
  2. Its important to thank everyone irrespective if their solutions were selected or not
  3. At the end of the day, they should feel the important of design process and feel that they contribute in improving the product they love and use everyday



Savvy Mehra

Head of Design at Insider