User Experience Design was the last module we did before the end of term, and it was a really great experience learning from Steph Troeth, who’s worked all around the globe for big companies doing something that she’s really passionate about. As a woman and an ethnic minority — both of which are under-represented in the tech world (and in many many other industries), it was really inspirational to listen to someone of the same gender and similar cultural background, talk about their journey into the tech world and how they’ve got to where they are. I think it gave me a little bit of confidence in terms of thinking positively about my future career.
As well as learning a lot about Steph, we also learnt in great detail about the process of UX design. There’s so much more to UX than I thought, and it’s such a meticulous area. For every step, about a million things have to be considered, and even just writing a UX research interview takes considerable brain power — as we found out.
We had to conduct user research in order to improve the delivery method for a certain business. We wrote our own interview questions, and it was definitely not easy. The thing with UX interviews is that if you ask the wrong questions, you’re going to get the wrong answers which means that you aren’t going to get anything meaningful. You need to really think about the importance of each question and the kind of information you want to extract from the interviewee in order to come away with something that you can easily work with.
Our interviews were based on the journey from a user purchasing an item to when they receive it i.e. from shopping cart to front door.
After the interviews, we were asked to sort our research into different categories so that we could see recurring themes throughout more easily. This made it easier to create a model for improving the user journey, and for considering the content and interactions within the journey. We created a table listing out the things that users want/need to know and do, and what we (as the company) want them to know and do. Once we addressed these points, it was a matter of writing out the UI flows e.g. what does a user need to do to purchase an item – they would click on the ‘Buy’ button which would then taken them to the ‘Buy’ page, and they could have the option to save the item for later or they could buy now.
Once we’d completed the table and the UI flows, it was time to starting roughly sketching our improved user journey. However Steph only gave us 1 minute to sketch each frame, this ensured that we got down the most vital parts of each user stage rather than worrying too much about where a box should go. The less time you give yourselves when doing a rough sketch, the better. When you start to properly wireframe, then more time can be spent on the details once you have the core functionalities/aspects you want.
For our assignment, we had to write a usability test discussion on the Drupal camp website (http://drupalcamp.london/) with the research objective of improving the usability of the site. It was pretty tricky, but once you’ve done a recce of the site and decide what needs to be improved, you can then concentrate on creating the right questions in order to get the best information from your users.
It was a really great couple of sessions, and here are Steph’s slides if you’re interested in knowing more about UX Design.