7 tips for effective UX brainstorming sessions

Brainstorming is a popular method which is commonly used by UX design teams. It involves a group of designers meeting and generating as many ideas as possible to find the best solution to a specific problem or come up with creative design ideas. Brainstorming sessions are usually held at the beginning of a UX project so that designers could use the ideas they chose later in the design creation process. These sessions can vary in duration and form depending on which problems need to be solved, how many people participate and how many ideas need to be generated. Brainstorming can be a bit nervous and tiring, but a few simple tips can help make it a more effective process.

An effective UX brainstorming session should start with defining the target problem or goal which participants are going to generate ideas for. Brainstorming about “everything and anything at once” is a waste of time. The more clear the problem is — the better will be ideas’ quality and quantity. Make sure the participants don’t deviate from the topic.

Brainstorming sessions shouldn’t last too long, as the process of generating ideas can be very exhausting, so it’s necessary to set a time limit and stick to it. An average UX brainstorming should last for about 30–40 minutes. If the problem is too complex, you can increase time up to an hour, but not more. It’s much more effective to conduct several short brainstorming sessions separately than a single long one.

When brainstorming, it’s easy to start a hullabaloo, when everyone wants to share their ideas at once. That’s why moderating sessions is very important. Allow one speaker at a time, make sure everyone has their turn to showcase their thoughts while others listen attentively — that’s the only way to get good results and find a common solution at the end of a session.

Brainstorming is not a process that involves deep thinking and evaluating the quality of ideas. On the contrary, it’s an activity that provokes people to shoot off anything that comes to their mind without any contemplation — including some weird, non-viable, crazy or funny ideas. Do not let anyone show any judgment towards the ideas of others, even if it’s rational (like “There’s not enough budget for that”). The thing is, sometimes the best solutions are carved out of the weirdest ideas, and if being judged, some people can close in and refrain from voicing their thoughts that could have ended up being very important for the final result.

Visual representation plays a huge role in UX, that’s why it’s great to encourage participants of UX brainstorming sessions to present their ideas not only in words, but also in a visual form. This can include sketches, diagrams, tables and any other ways that can help share one’s ideas more clearly.

Saying that no one should interrupt each other when brainstorming doesn’t mean participants should only listen quietly without having a discussion. On the contrary, effective brainstorming sessions involve adding on each other’s ideas, making them more expanded and detailed. This can turn a small or under-thought idea into something really effective and valuable with the help of teamwork and collective thinking.

The last but not least important UX brainstorming tip is to document every idea that has been voiced during the session (no matter of its quality). Don’t rely on the memory — the amount of ideas shared at brainstorming sessions are nearly impossible to keep in mind. Run a list with short notes about every idea, even the ones that seem completely worthless — some ideas may become useful later on at the following stages of a UX development process.

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Planity : Coiffeur, Institut de beauté & Barbier en ligne on Land-book


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