Design Checklist

3 min read

Design is creating the text outline of your content, planning out potential visuals and getting feedback.






1. Workshop Outline

Workshop outline completed with headers and bullets

2. Content Chunked

Content has been organized into bite-sized chunks that gradually builds or flows well.

3. Concise Content

The organizer has identified the minimal amount a participant needs to know to accomplish the workshop goal.

4. Feedback Received

The organizer has shared and received feedback on the outline from stakeholders and potential participants.

5. Limit Text

The organizer has limited the amount of text necessary to express a concept on slides.

6. Identified Potential Visuals

The organizer has identified areas within the outline that can be visualized.

7. Keep it Simple

The organizer has made an effort to simplify complex concepts and reduce knowledge assumptions.

8. Technology Adoption

The training is about adoption of technology and addresses top adoption resistance questions.

Workshop Outline

Create an outline of your presentation in Google Docs starting with a full brain dump.

The easiest way to get started with designing your workshop is by adding your workshop analysis notes at the top and then doing a brain dump of everything you wish to cover. Refer back to your workshop goals and audience to ensure you are staying within your original scope.

Content Chunked

Group your content into headers and bullets to create consumable chunks.

Once you have everything dumped into your doc try to create headers and bullets where you “chunk” similar items together. Preview your google docs outline to help ensure you are grouping content logically and if a participant only saw the outline headers, it would feel like an executive summary of your content.

Concise Content

Remove non-essential content

You are going to be tempted to cover too much material in your workshop. Too much extraneous content is the most common mistake made by Engineers doing workshops. This is because we become insecure because our colleagues have allocated their time to listen to us and we want to ensure you squeeze everything we can into every minute. We get so passionate about our topic that we go overboard.

Think of your brain like your stomach.  You get full and need time to digest.

Cognitive Load Theory
Suggests that learners can absorb and retain information effectively only if it is provided in such a way that it does not “overload” their mental capacity.

Note: Extraneous content or visuals used for entertainment value that related to the content is encouraged and can help lower the cognitive load by providing a mental break from more intensive content.  Adding silly memes or jokes into your presentation is encouraged.

Minimum Learnable Unit (MLU)
In order to avoid cognitive overload, when creating your courses, identify the minimum learnable unit (MLU), and apply the 80/20 rule. Meaning focus on just 20% of the most important information to your audience.  If you give the engineers only what they need to know to solve their immediate problems, then you are maximizing their time.  The rest of the 80% they will not retain anyways, so they just need to have awareness of its existence and where to find more information.

Limit Text

Can you easily port your outline to google slides?

Can you rephrase any of your headers into less words?  Consider you will be porting this outline from google doc into google slides.  What will be your slide headers and what will be your speaker notes?  Your future slides should have no more than 2 lines of text, not exceeding 15 words.


Identify which sections of the outline could be represented visually on slides.

The Pictorial Superiority Effect is that we learn and remember best through pictures, not through written or spoken words. If an image accompanies a text, people will have a 65% higher chance of remembering that image more than the text.

Keep it Simple

You are an expert in your field but these may be new concepts to your participants.

Yes, you are probably presenting to a room full of geniuses in their respective areas.  That does not mean they are experts in everything. Review your presentation and ask yourself if you are making any assumptions about their existing knowledge and can lower the cognitive barrier (simplify complex ideas).

Technology Adoption

If the workshop is an introduction to new technology, include “why” to help with adoption.

A majority of developer workshops are an introduction of a new technology and part of the workshop needs to be dedicated to the “why” instead of just focusing on the “how.” The Diffusion of Innovation Theory explains how, over time, an idea gains momentum and diffuses (or spreads) through a specific population. The theory can be applied to help with Developer adoption of new technologies.

  • Relative Advantage - Is this new idea better than the current process? Why?
  • Compatibility - Does this idea align with how our company works and its goals?
  • Complexity - How difficult is it to understand or use?
  • Triability - Can you do a proof-of-concept? How can we test this will work?Observability - How can we measure that this was successful?


Once outline is complete, get feedback from stakeholders and potential participants

Get feedback on your outline from your stakeholders and potential participants. You may save significant time getting feedback on the google doc before building out your slides and visuals.