Arts, crafts and user feedback: How to engage your team through creative play

4 min read Kelly Kellective

Doing research is one difficult task — sharing the results with your team is another. Reports can be skim read, forgotten and filed away. People can drift off into a daydream during slideshow presentations, and others may not understand what you’re trying to communicate.

This is a problem that many research teams encounter, and it made me think a lot about how to make the wider team really engage in user feedback. While we at Optimal Workshop have a bunch of documents and great tools like Intercom, Evernote and Reframer to capture all our feedback, I wanted to figure out how I could make it fun and engaging to get people to read what our users tell us.

How can we as designers and researchers better translate our findings into compelling insights and anecdotes for others to embrace and enjoy? 

After some thought and a trip to the craft store, I came up with this workshop activity that was a hit with the team. 

Crafting feedback into art

Each fortnight we’ve been taking turns at running a full company activity instead of doing a full company standup (check in). Some of these activities included things like pairing up and going for a walk along the waterfront to talk about a challenge we are currently facing, or talk about a goal we each have. During my turn I came up with the idea of an arts and crafts session to get the team more engaged in reading some of our user feedback.

Before the meeting, I asked every team member to bring one piece of user feedback that they found in Intercom, Evernote or Reframer. This feedback could be positive such as “Your customer support team is awesome” , a suggestion such as “It would be great to be able to hover over tags and see a tooltip with the description”, or it could be negative (opportunity) such as “I’m annoyed and confused with how recruitment works”.

This meant that everyone in the team had to dig through the systems and tools we use and look for insights (nuggets) as their first task. This also helped the team gain appreciation for how much data and feedback our user researchers had been gathering.

A photo of the feedback art hung up on the walls of the office

After we all had one piece of feedback each I told everyone they get to spend the next half hour doing arts and crafts. They could use whatever they could find to create a poster, postcard, or visual interpretation of the insight they had.

I provided colored card, emoji stickers, stencils, printed out memes, glitter and glue.

During the next 30 minutes I stood back and saw everybody grinning and talking about their posters. The best thing was they were actually sharing their pieces of feedback with one another! We had everyone from devs, marketing, design, operations and finance all participating, which meant that people from all kinds of departments had a chance to read feedback from our customers.

More feedback art on the walls

At the end of the meeting we created a gallery in the office and we all spent time reading each poster because it was so fun to see what everyone came up with. We also hung up a few of these in spots around the office that get a lot of foot traffic, so that we can all have a reminder of some of the things our customers told us. I hope that each person took something away with them, and in the future, when working on a task they’ll remember back to a poster and think about how to tackle some of these requests!

Steve and Ania making a mess and crafting their posters

How to run a creative play feedback workshop

Time needed: 30 minutes

Insights: Print off a pile of customer insights or encourage the team to find and bring in their own. Have backups as some might be hard to turn into posters.

Tools: Scissors, glue sticks, blue tack for creating the gallery.

Crafts: Paper, pens, stickers, stencils, googly eyes (anything goes!)

Another poster decorating the walls of Optimal HQ

Interested in other creative ways to tell stories? Our User Researcher Ania shares  8 creative ways to share your user research.

If you do something similar in your team, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below!