Designing and facilitating a successful virtual workshop

Pavi facilitating the virtual workshop for SheHacks

The needs and constraints:

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • 100+ participants
  • I won’t be able to see any of the participants
  • Hopin(webinar tool) doesn’t have breakout rooms
  • Interactive workshop and different from a generic design thinking workshop

Step 1: Workshop Value

I first started by thinking about the value for students from this workshop. Reflecting on my experiences, the one thing I wished I learned earlier was how to solve whiteboard problems during an interview. Rapid problem solving is an essential aspect of a product design interview that shows the interviewer how you think through problems. I thought this would connect well with the context that students are in at a hackathon, where they’ll have to solve problems in a short amount of time.

Step 2: Resources & Tools

When I was looking for approaches to solve whiteboard problems during early interviews, I came across Solving product design exercises by Artiom Dashinsky. It helped me frame and organize my thinking for solving whiteboard problems quickly. I used this method to solve problems for my interviews, including Shopify. The most valuable takeaway from this book was the canvas. The canvas takes you through the product thinking step-by-step.

The canvas from Solving product exercises recreated on Figma

Step 3: Setting up

After setting up the instructions and timelines in Figma, I suddenly realized that most of the participants are beginners and may not have experience using Figma nor understand the basics. It forced me to step back and put myself back in beginner shoes to understand the most important things to know in Figma. I created a Figma basics cheat sheet for students to use. Due to timing constraints, it would be challenging for students to design a complete mockup while considering branding, look and feel. To help speed things up so participants will take the time to think through the problem, I provided them with helpful UI kits to hit the ground running.

The Workshop

During the workshop, it was hard to gauge the participants’ reactions and how they felt. I continuously kept communicating and asking questions. The constant queries encouraged participants to ask questions through the Hopin chat. Since we were working on Figma together, this helped keep the engagement up rather than talking at them.

Learning for next time

Despite timing and keeping the workshop organized, it was a lot to fit into a 1-hour workshop, even though it was beneficial since a lot of time went into getting to know Figma. Next time, I’ll focus on spending quality time on a specific aspect or problem and allow more time for inquiries and questions.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Pavi Designs

Pavi Designs


Toronto-based designer specializing in user experience and visual design.