Get the most from your website with a stakeholder discovery workshop
When planning a new website, you must ensure you address the needs of your key users. You'll also have a set of organisational needs to address - such as driving sales, increasing donations, maximising time on site or generating leads. In fact as soon as you start planning a website project, you will probably find that there are several groups of stakeholders in the project who are all looking for slightly different outcomes.
Our Stakeholder Workshop process helps to ensure the needs of each of your website's stakeholders are addressed
Planning the workshop
The workshop is typically run in one day between 10am and 3pm. We recommend having a minimum of 12 people in the room and a maximum of 24. These people should include representatives from all parts of your organisation as well as people who you work with outside your organisation.
Our facilitators will lead the workshop, talk the team through the various exercises and ensure that the correct outputs are created and recorded.
Examples of the type of people who might be included follow:
Charity example - who should be in the room?
- Your comms team
- Your policy team
- Your fundraising team
- Corporate partners
- Volunteer fundraisers
- NGO representatives
- Pressure groups
- Government / local Government representatives
- End users
Membership organisation example - who should be in the room?
- Your membership team
- Your management and/or policy team
- Trade union partners
- Training / CPD partners
Step 1 - Identify your audience
The first step of the process is to choose 3-5 key audiences on which to base your planning activities. This is typically a brainstorm with the full room and can help to provide a full list of stakeholders in your website project.
Once you have a full list, we'll help you reduce it to the 3-5 key audiences whose needs we'll examine over the day. We'll then divide the room into corresponding working groups.
Step 2 - Examine content priorities
Each group will first spend some time listing their key reasons for being on the website. What is the most important content for them? What does a successful outcome look like for them? What are their key user journeys?
We find that a mind-map is often the best way to record this information. An example follows.
Step 3 - Planning the website structure
The design of your navigation (AKA information architecture) is crucial to creating a site which is intuitive to use and which yields the best results. We have found from past workshops however, that different user groups can approach the navigation very differently.
In this exercise we give teams sticky notes and invite them to suggest a structure which shows the key pages and sub-pages. The goal for each group is to create a hierarchy of pages which makes all information easy to find. While planning the structure, groups are reminded to overlay their key user journeys at regular intervals to validate that these journeys remain clear and easy to follow.
There are invariably differences between proposed structures, though we tend to find there are more similarities than differences. The exercise is concluded with a collective discussion about the merits and limitations of each group's suggestions.
At the end of this step we will have one proposed structure per group as well as some comments about how we can bring the structures together.
Step 4 - Explore UX
Having looked at the overall structure of pages, we then turn to look more closely at the structure of each page. Here we take a small set of pages and look at how each page might be laid out. Groups are asked to sketch out wireframes of key pages.
Each group typically creates a wireframe for the homepage as well as another page which is of key importance to their group. For example donors will look at the home and donate pages to ensure their donation user journeys are facilitated by the page layouts. Policy makers may examine the homepage plus the research or news pages.
At the end of this exercise we aim to have a set of proposed layouts which have been drawn up by expert groups.
Step 5 - Social media engagement
In the final exercise, each group is asked which social media channels they use and how they might expect to find the website on social media. We also look at why and how the group might share website content on their own social media channels.
Examining the context of inbound and outbound social-to-website user journeys can help us to plan how we integrate social media platforms with the website in a way that gives our users what they want.
We often give some additional time to looking at other websites to compile a list of stylistic likes and dislikes. Asking participants to suggest ideas of great websites before the workshop can be a useful way to create a shortlist of sites to discuss. This design discussion can result in a great set of pointers for your graphic designer.
If you are looking to commission new photography for your website, we may also take some time to talk about the photography and other images which are used to communicate your brand. What tone/mood are you looking for? What defines a good or bad image? What are other organisations doing well and how can we learn from their examples?
At the end of the workshop we will collate the outputs and propose a single refined navigation structure which addresses the needs of all key audiences. We'll validate the navigation with the key user journeys identified by the group.
We'll then propose wireframes for key pages based on the work of the group, the key user journeys and the refined navigation structure.
Along with the outputs of the design discussion, we'll then be in a fantastic position to move on to the graphic design stage of your project. Graphic designers love a clear brief and we find that by providing them clear instructions, they come back with something which is very close to what we need.
Some examples of workshop outputs follow.
Topic: Project management