My group and I have completed our first assignment. The final presentation turned out great and the feedback was helpful moving forward. The definition of design changed from a creative process to a planning process and back throughout the project. That is the most difficult thing to handle as I began studying User Experience Research. Although as the work we did started to line up, the practice of creating an experience began to align as well.
We started with Interviews
This was all about asking questions that would give us data to work with. The tool of choice was surveying. Being that our range of people to ask was small and the time we had was limited, surveys were our best bet.
For future reference, It would be ideal to do a user study anytime the opportunity arose. The more data we had, the better the quality of our decisions were. So it always felt like a good time to do testing. It would also have been great if we decided on the initial consumer of the service we were creating, correcting ourselves as we narrowed down on our target user. We were not allowed to make these assumptions, and I am still not too sure why.
Then Came Organization
After transcribing all our user studies (turning the results into cards and post-it notes), we then began sorting them into relatable groups. We worked to discover the frustrations, objectives, and habits of the individuals we interviewed. When we finished, we were able to see the large correlations we had in our data. And after some discussion, we came up with the initial statement that would further guide our decisions when building the project.
Going back to my first thought, the more research the merrier. I enjoyed this process and would have even more if there was more data to work with. We used the data to create an Affinity Diagram and an Empathy Map, and I noticed early on what user data and information can be capable of. Of course, too much of one thing could be a bad thing. It would have been hectic if we had to sort through pages and pages of surveys. Nonetheless, big businesses can’t seem to get enough. I’m starting to see why.
On To the Identification
We hit the milestone of getting together what we worked on so far and it was time to put it to good use. This was the moment we asked ourselves — “who are we trying to help?”. We answered this by creating a User Persona. This representation of our user came with likes, dislikes, a whole backstory, a daily routine and journey, even favorite brands and products. We gave our Persona a destiny to fulfill with struggles and hardships. Now was the time to reveal the solution that we created to help our Persona take on his obstacles.
Within this step, we also prepared statements that described our solution. I imagine if we had to tell our Persona what we are making, these statements would be what we would say. It contains what we believe is causing the most problems, and what we believe will solve them.
The final step in this project was the creation of the prototype. Our assignment was to only make a flow of the initial solution, but we took it a step further and created an entire application mid-fidelity wireframe. This was great for styling our user interface and having a strong connection between frames. Although this made the user flow a bit complex, it was well worth it to see the final prototype in full form.
The entire project from the beginning to the end has been a learning process. Reflecting on where I could improve, there were some instances I found myself holding my tongue in group discussions. I felt I could have added more to the deliverables, and occasionally was too concerned about the smaller details, causing me to overlook the bigger picture.
If you’re like me, you may feel like you have a lot to say and contribute, and because of that, there is a need to pick carefully what you have to say. At times it can be a gift. Other times it’s an imbalance. Fortunately, this is a learning experience, as is life. As demanding as it might be, the right amount of patience and awareness works wonders. Solutions to problems then start to reveal themselves.