So, Covid happened and new challenges arose. My colleague and I had to change the format of Zenit Design’s workshop-based program in user-centered design to fit the recommendations provided by the government.
To us, this was a challenge framed by the recommendations, and as always, it had to be solved with and by the users (in this case our participants). The program was cherished for being warm, person-to-person, pedagogic and hands-on. And as any training in design, the participants were required to work closely together and to continuously approach real users to validate their decisions. Would we be able to transform the training into a format fitting both the government’s recommendations and the users’ needs, without compromising the quality?
There were two things we needed to sort out; ‘Is there a need for a remote-friendly format of Zenit’s workshop-based program in user-centered design, and if so, how would the participants want to interact?’ They were asked to give us their thoughts, needs and opinions of the new situation. After going through their input it was clear to us that we had to transform the format of the training into a remote-friendly format, yet with access to users.
To be honest, we were a bit worried that the digitalisation of our design program would affect the experience of the course or the motivation in our participants. However, we have experienced the same enthusiasm, creativity and impressive outcomes in the digital format as in the analogue one. This has left us with Zenit’s program in user-centered design, now in a fully digital format and available to so many more. And the program is, as always, designed with and by users. In this particular program participants connect from a remote location with access to potential users. Through two different digital platforms, theory is being mixed with hands-on exercises, letting the participants work closely together yet close to their users. And – although through the screen – we have picked up an atmosphere just as open and vibrant as before.