Template Talk with Benjamin Dehant - Everyone can make templates beautiful
Benjamin Dehant—MURAL experience designer—builds innovative, engaging MURAL templates that allow workshop participants to dive into tricky problems and generate creative solutions. From burgers to magical portals, from the high seas to outer space, Benjamin’s murals put design right in the middle of critical conversations.
Benjamin sat down with me to talk about templates and design. He will be around to answer any questions about his design process and template building for September 21, 2021.
Emilia: Can you introduce yourself?
Benji: My name is Benjamin, and I’m a designer from France. I currently work at MURAL,where I use MURAL to collaborate with my colleagues.
Emilia: How do you use MURAL at work?
Benji: I create workshop templates that our company uses and our members use on a daily basis. My challenge is to make the templates:
- easy to use
- easy to navigate
As you know, we are distributed all over the world, as we are a remote first company. MURAL is our main place to collaborate, work together, and give each other feedback.
Emilia: What is your favorite template, and why do you like it?
Benji: My favorite template is quite famous. It's the Lightning Decision Jam Template from AJ&Smart, our friends from Berlin. It’s a template we host in the MURAL Template Library. It is my favorite, because it's the one that I use the most.
This template is a Swiss army knife for workshops. It's a workshop that you run with a team of 6 to 10 or 12 people. It's made for brainstorming, voting, and choosing the next step of a project. Though, I find that it can be used in any meeting actually.
I have facilitated it the most in my career actually. You can adapt it to anything. I’ve used it for big corporate strategy sessions, and I’ve used it to brainstorm online academy projects with friends.
Instead of running a “normal” meeting where everyone wants to speak, and it isn’t too efficient, I use this template. I like this template because it meets the objective of most meetings without too much, blah, blah.
Emilia: What is your best tip for designing great templates?
Benji: I come from a web design background. I really adapt what we do in web UX/UI, and I put it into the remote workshop world. So what does this mean?
It means that you have to think about the user experience of the participant and the person who is going to facilitate the workshop.
You have to make it easy to navigate and facilitate. I look at the instructions and steps, in particular. Like if you were trying to navigate on the website, you need to be able to navigate it without asking questions. Your template is the same. Facilitators and participants should be able to navigate it without asking too many questions.
The second part, I really try to make the workshop more engaging. Because it has been a year and a half of remote working, people are starting to get tired of this.
So, if you can bring to them a little bit of magic from nice visuals, you can turn your workshop/meeting into an experience that is more engaging. In the end, people are going to be more focused and more enriched, and you will get better outcomes.
So my tip is for people to dive into visual design/instructional design and really think about how your template is set up.
I think if you want to learn how to make better templates, you should look into web design, actually UX/UI, and then try to apply what you learn to your remote workshop work.
Emilia: Do you use MURAL outside of work? If so, how do you use it?
Benji: Before joining MURAL, I used it for my freelance work. I used it to run workshops and build websites with my clients. I used MURAL to organize everything in one place, instead of having many different bookmarks and drives.
On a personal note, I use it for almost any time I need to brainstorm something.
If I'm doing some kind of mood board research for any project, I use it. When I want to collaborate with people, I open a new canvas, and we start dropping ideas onto it.
I think some people even use MURAL for planning their wedding, for example, or for working on the design of their house.
I even use it for my social media planning. For example, I have a space on my Social Media planning mural for different types of content that I am building. There’s a LinkedIn part, a YouTube part.
Thank you for joining us today, Benjamin! If you have questions about template design, please ask them below, and Benjamin will reply and chat with you all about building beautiful templates.