13 Sep Learning UX.
My first UX Project. A personal one 🙂 🙂
Tandemin - Language exchange experience
Somewhere during my internship in Jugnoo (Chandigarh) as an UI designer, i felt the need to improve on my foundation/rules/guidelines while designing than just blindly design based on intuitions. A friend of mine who is currently pursuing her masters’ at MIT, Pune on HCI/Interaction design introduced me to this whole new world of research in design and what it actually takes to design a product/service. Skeptical & lazy at first, i thought why not give it a try, after all i could download GB’s of video lectures at my office in just minutes :). I started looking up on various topics on UX/HCI and came across this wonderful online course by Scott Klemmer on Human-Computer Interaction (https://class.coursera.org/hci/lecture). I went through the lectures and got an idea as to how this process really works. Although, i couldn’t post the assignment work and provide proper feedback, i used these principles on my UI design whilst interning there. I got better eventually and was into it so much so that i started to work for more than 12 hours everyday for the last one month of my internship. I was appreciated for my work there and ended my internship on a positive note.
I came back to Chennai hoping to get a good break. I spoke to my friend about my internship and enlightened her about my interests in the whole UX methodology and process. Happy to hear, she offered me to teach a about the design process involved in designing a product. I quickly said yes and we hit it off. She shared her notes and explained me each process till i had no doubts. Iterating is fun when you have someone experienced guiding you. I learned a new term everyday and the whole process was fun. I am immensely grateful to her for guiding me.
So, here’s my first UX design process.
1. DOMAIN RESEARCH / COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS
I chose Education, specifically Language exchange as my research domain.
One of the key tasks of researching a domain is to understand the existing products/services in the domain. Performing competitor analysis helps you to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, its user group (target users) and potential (development) in the market.
2. CONTEXTUAL ENQUIRY
After researching the domain and understanding it, i had a better idea of my target users. To improve my understanding, i had to conduct a contextual enquiry on the target user group. Key rules to follow whilst performing contextual enquiry is : understand the target users, perform analysis in an environment that is comfortable to the users, talk less and observe more. It is important to ask the right questions at the right time. Distraction should be avoided and quick notes/AV recording is preferred.
I had my target users perform tasks on the competitor products so that i could understand how a user works in a given environment and recognize their needs and issues in this particular domain.
After performing contextual enquiry, i had my insights documented as it would be useful in streamlining my goals for this product.
Questionnaire is another form of user research which helps understand users’ preference, attitudes, characteristics and opinions on a given domain. To achieve this, questions need to be effective, simple, logical & easy-to-understand. Using open-ended questions can be useful only if you’re interested in their insights and are not keen on validating it on a large scale. A successful questionnaire will help you identify who the users are, what the users need, why the need, where they are comfortable using it, when they are comfortable using it. Design brief is created where the above information is written along with the goals and issues of the product.
After a thorough understanding of the domain, i created a system requirement documentation where i had written all my insights and use-cases of the product. For easier understanding, personas are created. A persona is a fictitious identity that reflects one of the user groups. Creating personas involves morphing qualitative and quantitative data from analytics, surveys, interviews, user testing sessions, and other research activities into a handful of representative “typical” users. These personas are assigned names, photographs, motivations, goals, and a believable backstory that is rooted in the backgrounds of real people using your website or app.
5. CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MAP
Customer experience map is a visual interpretation of a user (persona) and their relationship/experience with the product intended to be designed. This map helps in making design decisions whilst keeping customers at the forefront. It is used to highlight pain points and uncover the most significant opportunities for building a better experience for customers.
After creating work-flows and experience map, i came up with few concepts to deliver a product based on the goals and user requirements.
I then evaluated these concepts based on common criteria and rated each concept on a scale of 5 to find a product best suitable for the users. After concept evaluation, i decided to create a mobile application where users could exchange languages. The app was targeted to users aged 21–26, mainly Students/Professionals who were keen on adding an exta language to their resume.
After deciding on the concept, i created wireframes to prepare a rough guide for the layout of the app. I used the customer experience map as my reference to neatly design the flow of the app.
8. FINAL UI
After successfully creating wireframes, i designed the UI using Illustrator (although i prefer Sketch/the new updated photoshop with artboards ). I read a lot of visual design principles, usability heuristics and referred to the iOS Human Interface Guidelines for designing a better visually intuitive application.