Validation Workshop

Planning and conducting a series of workshops to gather opinions on planned future features for a mobile banking app.
  • Customer insights
  • Design research
  • Future scenarios


September - December 2016

Working with

  • Royal Bank of Scotland

Tools and methods

  • Public research
  • Design games
  • Workshop facilitation

Conducting user research during a workshop

I used narrative storytelling techniques to lead new audiences into future realities, allowing people to imagine how they might personally react and respond to new technology.

The Royal Bank of Scotland approached Nile with a request to validate the digital service features offered to customers. Nile ran three regional workshops with digital banking customers between 28th November and the 5th December 2016. The purpose of the workshops was to gain an understanding of which new features will engage and motivate customers; get inspiration from customers and non-customers about what apps they like to use and why; and to review existing app functionality, finding what does and doesn't work.

Future scenario example

In order to introduce new features to workshop participants, a series of everyday scenarios were created. Each scenario contained up to ve new features and would act as a point of discussion for each workshop group to provide feedback as well as a rating based on how well they received each feature.

With four participant groups at each session, four "Alpha scenarios" were created to share between them all planned future features. A further set of "Beta scenarios" was developed as a precise way to target di erent customer types. The intention was for each workshop group to walk through both one alpha and one beta scenario.

Once the scenario scripts had been agreed, 'actors' were found from around the Nile o ce and directed according to the character they were asked to portray. Photographs were then captured and added to each stage of the scenarios as a way to humanise the storyline and make the future features seem more plausible.

I was responsible for creating the majority of materials to be used in the workshop sessions, while my colleagues worked on the contractual details, negotiating details with the client. This was the only project for which I was involved from beginning to end, from initial talks with the client through to the development of items for the nal report.

I developed a "Feature Spinner" game to generate discussion around the current set of app features. The intent of the game was to allow for a more shared discussion between participants, allowing each member an opportunity to share their opinion and be heard by the group.

To explore the list of planned app features, I helped write scripts for a series of scenarios set in the future. For each of these scenarios I developed a digital wireframe as a prop for showcasing and suggesting how the app could exist in the future.

Workshop setup in Central London

Spinner game detail

During each 3-hour workshop, I was responsible for moderating a group of four participants as they progressed through the scheduled activities. My target was to allow for each participant to share their thoughts and opinions during the workshop activities. Throughout each workshop participants would often become engaged in a valuable and interesting conversation.

As well as capturing feedback, another duty was to capture opinions on which of the future features customers preferred. This was so to prioritise the order in which the client's development team would implement the features.

It found it natural to host a workshop session, I enjoyed the opportunity to talk with real people and discover their thoughts and preferences as they worked on the materials which I had produced. Even though it was a face-paced event, I felt comfortable delivering the storylines and feature details to each group – I was pleased to receive many compliments on my style of narration.

Analysing output from workshops.

Following the three sessions, the project team began to collate all Post-Its generated during the workshop activities. Post-Its were grouped into three top-level categories: current features, planned features, and future ideas. Sub-categories were then created for each of these areas.

The main purpose of the project was to provide the customer with a prioritised list of features to develop. Through engaging with customers and by understanding the needs of the business, Nile was able to use a mapping tool to visualise where each planned feature tted in terms of customer value and business value.

The roadmap feedback and customer ideas were then discussed with the customer's project team and mapped onto a customer/business value matrix. This has given us a clear prioritisation of the features and ideas based on customer feedback.

Future feature matrix with new customer ideas highlighted in gold.

Following several hours of structured analysis, the team created a matrix.

Prioritisation matrix displaying a series of 'development' zones based on customer and business value. Each zone contains a mixture of planned features and ideas generated by customer during the workshop events.