Design Vision & Workshops

A vision focused on creating a proposal for the ideal future customer experience, often visualized in an easy to share deliverable.

When to Use

  1. To establish a direction for upcoming design work
  2. To get collective buy-in on product direction

Difference Between Grand Vision Vs Project Vision

The grand vision is more similar to the mission. It is the absolute ideal story from what you currently know.

While a project vision, demonstrates a more near term way of accomplishing the more desirable experience.

Creating a Grand Vision Story Outline

  1. Pick the user, user’s goal, and problem you’re trying to solve. Document the problem.
  2. Describe the situation the user is when they’re having the problem. Document the context.
  3. Capture the user’s desired story in a step-by-step outline.

Steps for Project Vision

  1. Pick the user and problem you’re trying to solve. Document the problem.
  2. Describe the situation the user is when they’re having the problem. Document the context.
  3. What do we know? Quickly review research observation database.
  4. Review Design Debt ideas list
  5. Start by writing down the story steps in a detailed narrative by thinking of the critical moments.
  6. Print out the key scenes of the narrative, each on a separate piece of paper.
  7. Sketch the scenes.
  8. Iterate everything. Adjust your scenes. Adjust your sketches.
  9. Finalize your storyboard when you have a compelling vision you’re excited to tell.

Design Vision Deliverables

  1. Story Outline - numbered list of steps that describe the user’s journey through the vision experience.
  2. Promise Story - A story written from the user’s point of view, as if they’re talking to their friend. The story should describe what was the outcome and how they felt about experiencing your future vision.
  3. Storyboard - an artifact to show the story steps into visualized scenes to more clearly display what is happening and a little context in each step.
  4. Frame/Slide - a single frame from the storyboard often put into a presentation deck to represent key steps.
  5. Video - a short film that reenacts the defined story to more clearly demonstrate the context and depth to the experience.

Vision Methods

  1. Design Vision Workshop
  2. Design Vision Sprint

Grand Visioning Workshop

Attendees Ideal Size Suggested Time
Design Team, key stakeholders 3 to 8 people 1-2 hours

When to Use

  1. Desire to take a broad look at the future possibilities of solving an opportunity with no solution in mind.
  2. Considering solutions across the entire journey of a user, instead of focusing on one phase like a project.

Prep Work

Workshops are most successful when focused - don’t try to tackle a complex problem in a single session. Make sure the problem space is clearly defined and artifacts from the Define Phase have already been created.

Be prepared to describe the current customer journey and what are the top problem areas throughout it.

Highlight the


User Goal & Journey (10 minutes)

Define who the user is and what they’re trying to accomplish and why. Clearly define the key moments in the user’s journey to focus the remainder of the workshop around those moments.

Make sure to clearly define and present the many problems in those key moments, focusing on what prevents or gets in the way of achieving the user’s overall goal in that moment.

Ideal Experience / Write Promise Story (5-10 minutes)

How would the user describe the ideal experience for them to accomplish their goal without any problems? Describe it in their words.

Individually write down the user’s statement to one of their friends about their experience. The outcome that came from what we provided them.

Share Ideal Experiences (10 minute)

Have every participant present their ideal experiences.

Story Outline Variants (Golden Path) (10 minutes)

Outline the steps that could accomplish the experience. Focus on different ways the story could play out with the same desirable customer experience. The how the user would use our provided experience to arrive at the outcome above.

Make sure to tell everyone that they can borrow ideas from everyone else’s ideal experience.

Storyboard to Visualize (15 minutes)

Pick your favorite outline and bring it to life by focusing on 3-4 key moments in your outline to draw a visual that represents that moment.

Present Storyboards (15 minutes)

Have everyone discuss what they liked.

Workshop Tips

Alternative Exercises

11-Star Experience

Consider how your product helps the user accomplish their goal. Then use this exercise to work up to the most unbelievable experience (11-star) that the customer could have. Focus on the customer’s experience not the UI or specific workflow.

  1. Prepare ahead of time how you would describe a 1-star, 3-star, and 5-star experience of the current journey (1-star = everything went wrong, 3 = average, 5 = best case scenario).
  2. Present each scenario to the participants and get everyone to agree or suggest edits.
  3. Next create buckets for 6 to 11 stars.
  4. 5 min: Have everyone places Post-Its to describe each bucket.
  5. Review all the Post-Its and agree to the steps.
  6. As a group, decide what you think is in reach within the next year.

What if statements

This can help you come at problems from a different angle, cause lateral thinking, and spark some visionary ideas. Part of a design thinking approach, it can help frame ideas and provide a catalyst to visionary thinking. For example…

What if you could watch what you wanted when you want = Netflix

What if you could have an electric car that was desirable = Tesla

What if you could explore other people’s minds = Plot of movie Inception

Product playbook

A product playbook helps you define some statements, goals, and objectives around what exactly you are striving towards and serves as a reminder to that vision.

People = What are the user problems? What are the pain points in their journey?

Purpose = What unique benefits do you offer? what is the user benefit to your product?

Product = What experiences do we want to build? Audit what you have, what can be improved, where are the friction points?

Path = What’s the plan? What are your Critical user journeys, design principles, what’s the roadmap?

Project Visioning Workshop

Slightly different approach because the solution at a high-level is already defined and there are already some expectations. The goal of this workshop is uncover more details about that solution vision and imagine how they could be executed on. It’s more about the details but only from directional sense and not expected to be a replacement for the exploration

Much more within the realm of immediate feasibility.

When to Use

  1. When you have a high level solution in mind but


  4. 11-star Experience
  5. Golden Path

Templates (if applicable)

Created by: Joe Steinkamp | Last updated by: Joe Steinkamp