Summary of Week 3 of UX design at Academy Xi

week3 word cloud

Week 3 done and dusted, this week it was all about user/customer journeys and more on prototyping. Using a whole range of new tools. We also went on a couple of field trips and had a guest teacher. I had a bit of a mixed bag of emotions this week, full of laughter, a bit numb and sometimes heaps of tears.

Exercises

User/Customer journeys

This week we looked at the user/customer journeys. The task was looking to improve a day in our lives. We all wrote our days on post it notes, then as a group we affinity mapped them.

Everyone's Day In the Life
Everyone’s Day In the Life
Affinity Mapped Day in the Life
Affinity Mapped Day in the Life

Then working in two groups we assembled a user journey. I worked with Mr D and Miss P, we found that there was distinct parts of the day that our user went on, pre-journey, journey, at Xi, post Xi and at home. We were struggling with what to include in the journey so we put together a proto-persona named Jill. Once we had put Jill’s behaviours up we started putting up people then things.

Our Persona Jill
Our Persona Jill

When we were going on through the things we observed that there was a lot of applications that she used so we added an applications row. Then we moved onto feelings and thoughts, it took us a couple of goes as on the first pass we only really focused on the negative so we went through again and added happy points as well. This really helped guide us to our emotions graph.

Jill's User Journey
Jill’s User Journey

Emotions graph and insights

Our emotions graph was points and a line which helped us isolate points of joy and pain. There were a couple of alternate routes along the way, like in the journey part we found that it could be okay if you had your headphones but if not it was bad. Then we jumped to solution mood. Whoops. Luckily Miss P and Mr D pulled us back on track and reminded us about Jill and we wrote isolated the problems that meant the most to her. We then voted on the problem we wanted to find a solution to, getting two votes each, and then had to toss a coin as we voted the same. Anyway we came up with ‘mornings are hard’. This lead us onto the next section prototyping.

The Rows of Jill's User Journey
The Rows of Jill’s User Journey
Jill's Main Pain Points
These are Jill’s pain points that we voted on

Prototyping

We did 6 down and 1 up. But instead of voting on the outcome we each worked on our own designs. I worked on an app called ‘Wake Me Up Happy’. I drew out a user flow. Using this I sketched out the main pages in low fidelity. Rob ran through how to use 3 main prototyping tools, Sketch, Balsamiq and Adobe XD. Then we had to choose two to work with to make our prototype. My selection was easy because Sketch isn’t available for Windows on PC. So I did my main development in Balsamiq. I really enjoyed using it. The low fidelity made it easy to concentrate on the requirements, layout and navigation for the app rather than how it looked. It was quite fast to put together a working prototype especially because of the new ‘links’ feature which always you to run the prototype without the requirement of exporting it. There is also a cool function where you can export the prototype as a PDF with links so you can test without using a browser, but I will note that ‘Back’ doesn’t work but it does help put across the ideas. I found using Adobe XD wasn’t as easy. I got caught up in the look and finding the exact layout and text. Also the icons weren’t as easy to enter and use compared with Balsamiq. Here is a selection of my Balsamiq wireframes.

Field Trips and Guest Lecturers

Atlassian

We went to Atlassian for a field trip. They showed us around their amazing buildings on George Street near Martin Place. We learnt alot about how they do design at Atlassian and the structure of the teams. The embedding of designers with developers and product managers on projects. They have some really cool company initiatives and internal conferences. They also provide breakfast and lunch and have massive meal rooms.

IAG

Another field trip to IAG didn’t go as well. Our contact didn’t appear to be at work when we turned up. It turned out okay as we got an early mark to go home. Yippee.

Adam from Hotelscombined

Adam came in and ran a workshop on using Axure. Axure is another prototyping tool. I really liked the nerdy programming side of it. It was a bit painful to add things into and to get the layout right. I really enjoyed his insights into building only the part of the site or app that you want to test like the navigation or a particular interaction. The rest is just a static cut and paste image to make it feel and look pretty. There was also a cool feature where you can make the fidelity lower to remind people that they are testing the interaction concept not the final page.

Reflections on the week

The content is great and I am learning a lot and am still enjoying the course but I personally struggled this week. I was hit with the disappointment that I just observe things that others don’t and I see problems before they happen. This is usually a benefit but sometimes it means I try and fix the problem before it happens and this upsets people who haven’t seen the problem yet. So yet again I put up my walls and have stepped back. Given all the grief that I am dealing with I just don’t have the energy, so I will just step out of the way of the train and let it hit. I have also put some things in place to improve my mood and fatigue.

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