Summary of Week 4 of UX design at Academy Xi

Week 4 went really well. I had a really good week. This week we covered Empathy Maps, Information Architecture (IA) and Content Management. We also had in our clients for next weeks ‘waterfall’ projects.

Exercises

Empathy Maps

We worked in groups of 2. I worked with Miss P. We practiced interviewing each other. I interviewed Miss P about her upcoming trip to Tasmania and she interviewed me about my trip to Eurovision. Then we tackled individually putting together an empathy map.
Empathy Map
I found it to be hard work deciding what goes where on the map but once I did the insights were great and it really helped to tell the story behind them as related to a persona. I came up with the following map for Miss P.

The empathy map of Miss P's Trip to Tassie
The empathy map of Miss P’s Trip to Tassie

I really enjoyed this exercise. It tapped into a whole heap of observation and listening skills that then needed to be converted to make notes. I can really see how it would work together with affinity mapping to get a greater understanding of people and their needs, wants and desires.

Information Architecture

To explore information architecture we broke into 2 groups of 3. I worked with Miss L and Miss A. We needed to put together a proto-persona for someone who goes grocery shopping. This persona would be used for a card sorting exercise and then a content management exercise.

Proto-persona

Proto Persona Cassandra
Proto Persona Cassandra

Card sorting

We card sorted the groceries into groups and labelled them. Our groupings and labels weren’t that different from a normal supermarket grouping and labels apart from the changes in grouping all the dairy together and all the meat together.

Card Sorting of Groceries for Cassandra
Card Sorting of Groceries for Cassandra

Content Management

Unfortunately I had to leave early so missed out on this part of the exercise. Miss A and Miss L came up with an amazing new layout for the supermarket. My very small contribution was the name of it and the addition of a personal shopper.

The Glasshouse is the outcome of the our research.
The Glasshouse is the outcome of the our research.

We then presented the whole wall to the rest of the class. For once I feel proud of how I presented and super proud of Miss A and Miss L. They did an amazing job on taking everyone on the journey through the redesign of our supermarket into ‘The Glasshouse’.

Extras

I’ve been taking an interest in IA for a while and I have a hero that I would like to share with you. Abby Convert otherwise known as ‘Abby the IA’. I love her presentations and process. This is her process as outlined in her book, How to make sense of any mess.
How to make sense of any mess by Abby Convert
Here are Abby’s 10 principles (based loosely on those by Jacob Nielson, Lou Rosefeld and Peter Morville)
10 Heuristic IA Principles
There is an interesting article of how it came about at The Understanding Group.

Visitors

As we are going into Waterfall week next week. We had our two clients come in and visit us this week. They each provided briefs and a presentation and were able to answer the questions that we had come up with. They are very different companies with very different briefs.

Living Future Institute Australia

In their own words:

The Living Future Institute Australia (LFIA) is dedicated to establishing a powerful network of informed, influential, and active global citizens who are committed to redefining humanity’s relationships with the ecosystems we inhabit. Joining together as citizens of the planet, we seek to redirect our future towards a society that is socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative

Tobias, Brandon and Stephen came and did a presentation into what they do and what they need us to do. Their main program is the Living Building Challenge. They would like us to work on a forum/Q&A hosting platform for people to exchange information and ask questions. They would like the industry to be able to help themselves answer questions and to set up an Australian information base. Also if clarification is required from head office in Seattle the questions are all grouped together from Australia so they only have to ask once.
Tobias completed the previous Academy Xi course and did the first phase of the project. He will be handing over his prototypes, research, user journeys and personas for us to work from and expand and continue. The presentation was very inspirational and the balance between philosophy, certification and advocacy was really interesting.

CarsGuide

The other project is with CarsGuide. Their vision from their website is

We empower and guide our customers to confidently and simply buy and sell cars.

They are looking for us to improve the usage of their app which they currently have a quick drop off rate on. They are looking at Gamification as a way to keep people engaged with the app.

Here is a graphic that is very high level about gamification.

 

Waterfall Project

So we got to choose our projects. I was surprised to see that before I could choose Miss L, Miss P and Miss C had all chosen CarGuides. Mr D was torn between the two projects, inspired by The Living Building Challenge but is very keen to work with gamification. I had put myself up as working on the Living Building Challenge and he eventually chose CarGuides which only left Miss A who joined me. It looks like Miss L might be joining us as well. I’m really looking forward to working with them.

Personal Project

I meet with Vic from Muscle Republic to discuss doing my personal project with him. I really love the foundation and values of the business. It is a sports apparel company which grew out of being a t-shirt company for body builders. I’m going to be working on conducting research to produce Personas and User Journeys for Vic. These will help him be able to make better informed decisions about promotions, products and logo designs. I’m pretty excited by it.

Insights and Reflections

After such a bad week last week this week was so much better. After a weekend of relaxing I came to the week with a better attitude. I stayed over in the city one night which also helped with the fatigue. As we have now finished all the theory I am excited to be heading into the next phase of the course. The next 6 weeks is us working in groups to do projects for real life clients. I am looking forward to the challenge.

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