Choosing design exercises for a complex redesign


I’m a UX Manager at a large enterprise. We have an extremely complex product that is quite mature, but way overdue for a redesign. Before involving our stakeholders and business partners, I am getting together with a core UX team of about 10. I want to facilitate some design exercises with this group first. One reason is that we do not have clear design principles for this product. Another is that I would like to come to the table with my business partners with some ideas and plans to more effectively use their time. Nothing this first meeting would do would set anything in stone.

The question is, what design exercises to do? I have scheduled 90 minutes with my team. Half of them are familiar with the product, half are not.

I have a couple ideas, but I am looking for more as well as some feedback. My ideas to start are:

  • Brainstorm and define product design principles.
  • Play Innovation Generator
  • A “UX Retrospective.” Borrowing from a Sprint retrospective, talk about what is good, what is bad, and what is missing from the product. May not work well with those not familiar with the product though.
  • Do a sort of “low hanging fruit” exercise. What are the most obvious things that need fixing? Not sure we need a wider group to figure this out. Those close to the product (and our business partners) know these things fairly well.
  • I’ve thought about working on the product canvas, especially the target group/big picture portions. Not sure if it makes sense to do without business partners. We have an existing one, but it was not really done properly the first time.

The output I would like to have would be to bring a design principle draft, as well as some ideas to move the product forward to the wider team. What I bring to them should be able to spur on more detailed design conversations and help us plan a way forward.

Looking for any ideas or constructive feedback. Thank you.


That’s a very great question and a popular scenario in for most of product base companies. I hope my suggestions are relevant to your situation.

In a redesign process, you should first understand what is your motivation to do the redesign. If it’s a brand updates and all other marketing concerns, that’s a different scenario. But if you are concerned about your users, I believe you should consider contacting your users first. Having a solid data base of user feedback and user pain points would be absolutely useful for the future of your redesign process. You also need to keep everyone in your meeting aware of the business goals and all the annual plans so they can have a little bit of focus in their design ideation process.

In your case I would encourage you to first try to find user feedback from your internal system, the customer service department could be a great help in these kind of situations. Let those half of your team members who know about the product to be aware of those user feedback. Then in your meeting, ask the other half who don’t know about the product to start using it and critiquing what they see and discuss it with those half who know about the product and also all other user feedback. That way you get a good understanding of what are the major pain point and also at the same time you will be helping all of your team members to be familiar with the ins and outs of the product. This exercise may take up to 30 minute of you 90 min meeting.

Then I would highly recommend to do an empathy map with the whole team involved. That makes everyone to be in a same page about what are user actions, feelings and thoughts while they are in a major scenario that your product will be an option to be used. There is actually a great template in one of the articles in UXmastery and it would be nice to let your team read that before the meeting. (this exercise shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes)

Now it’s time to analyze the product. What I would recommend is to have your UX journey plotted on a large size and let the team look at that considering the empathy mapping experience that they just have finished. That really helps you to understand the pain points and define the right problem statements that need a redesign. Once you have the pain points listed, you have all the talents in your team, ask them to be in 3-4 team and start sketching and come up with creative solutions for those pain points and problems. Then at the end of this meeting you have several problem statements ready with a lot of great potential solutions for them to be presented for your stakeholders and business owners. :slight_smile:

I hope this helps…


Thanks for the response! I failed to mention that we have a research group, and we have a fair amount of insight into our customers and their behavior. In addition, we have a lab session set up in a couple weeks, and we have some other active research projects running for this very project. I also have access to some good analytics that gives us good insight into what features are being utilized, etc.

I have a colleague working on a journey map as well. That’s something that is being done outside the meeting. It certainly could be an input for some other exercises, or we could review that. In our case, there’s definitely more than one journey - there’s multiple.

I like the idea of an empathy map, and connecting it to the journey map. Thanks for the suggestions!


hi ali need little help here, i am working on a enterprise application…and its now in discovery face. since there are 4 products for various usage i am trying to build a MIS solution. I thought i will go for Customer journey map to understand the workflow, but i need your suggestion on research phase. What kind of research would be suitable for this ?

Your previous answer is good to start with the process, can you explain little more on research types that we can do remotely and research deliverables…suggest me some tool to do remote research.
Any online help to understand the process of “How to do Empathy Map / customer journey map” will help me a lot. Thanks