Here we were tasked to put together a concept to help users interact with products in store, blending the online and offline customer journey. Using NFC to help users in store to find out more about the products they are interested in whilst being able to remove the clutter around the products on show. A study from Human Anatomy & Physiology, Pearson Interactional showed on average users only read 28% of words in front of them, showing how stripping back the displays can help get the right messages to the user.
A study by Nordic eye tracking found only 10% recall seeing any digital signage despite 47% of time customers attention going on the product. Also finding that 53% of customers wanted to get the best deals when they are shopping instore. Also finding that 87% of customers use their mobile before visiting, 79% whilst in store and 35% after visiting the store. With 82% of customers saying they consult their phones on purchases they are about to make instore and 91% turn to their phones for ideas within the middle of a task. Showing how important it is to merge the instore and online journeys so that users can validate the decisions they are about to make.
Here we were tasked to create a user journey to help paint the picture of customers as they shop for a new phone, showing their emotional state and how this concept can help reassure customers decisions, along with creating a wireframe and design to show how the application could work.
Here we wet out the user journey using our persona, showing how she would go about upgrading her phone and buying instore, and highlighting how the NFC scanner can help the user through their shopping mission.
Once we had finished collecting people’s thoughts and feedback we then briefed our user journeyTO into a designer to create a digital format that could be used within a presentation deck.
The next phase of the project was to create concepts or how we felt the finished product could look. Below was the ideas of how I felt the user could use the application whilst helping to shop in store, trying to to allow the user to browse the products online as they would instore.
We then came together with our ideas to create the final version of wireframes before briefing these into a design to create visuals of the application.
Being hosted at Lloyds The UX crunch had 3 guest speakers tonight to talk through their experiences of working with IOT. Here we had Avril O’Neil Co-founder & creative director at Ding Products, Tim Dained UX & Service Designer, previously at Cambridge Consultants, and Priya Prakasha Founder of D4SC (Design for Social Change).
The first speaker Avril from Ding products talked about her company which have designed a doorbell that would allow the person at the door to be able to talk to the house owner, wherever they are in the world. Saying that they have met the gap in the market where people are time poor, and receiving more deliveries than ever.
Within the design process they started to produce lots of small physical props to allow them to see how people interact with their products, before moving into building working prototypes. After looking at their competitors they found the competition was very tech focused, so they wanted to corner the market where they can simplify the tech, creating the easiest of interfaces that people can relate to. One of the main problems they faced was making a coherent product in the box, but still suited the environment when in use.
One topic that was brought up was security, but Ding said that they have specifically marketed their product as not a security device, and will give instructions on how best to use the product when away from your house, for instance when the user is on holiday. It will be interesting to see in a couple of years how users view this product and if that means ding may have to change their thoughts on security
Talking after, Avril highlighted the areas that she thought are important when designing for IOT:
1. The importance of the physical interaction with the actual product.
2. The product must be necessary, so when the hype and excitement has has died down there is still a real need for the product.
3. To create an offline experience, making sure the product can still function when not connected, which can often go amiss with IOT.
The next speaker Tim Dained came to talk about his experience with IOT, within the medical sector. Tim began talking about the sector and how it’s an opportunity to create a more personal experience for patients and clinicians, but the complexities of healthcare system which is stuck in silos that don’t share info and knowledge between each other as well as being very hierarchical.
One of the main issues or questions his team asked themselves was how can they create connected systems where people can manage their disease and not the disease manage them. With IOT becoming the touch point but not the center of the products universe.
3 of the things he learnt whilst working within the healthcare system.
1. Getting healthcare stakeholder to design together.
Knowing how the product will scale once it is in the public domain.
2. Knowing what you want to do with the data.
Creating a user journey to map out where all the data layers start to interact with the product/user.
3. Taking device connectivity for granted.
The third and final speaker was Priya who came to talk to us about Design for social change.
Here she became very interested in the design of our streets and social management when she was involved in a cycle accident and took it upon herself to look at how she could start to change the streets for the better. One of the things she first noticed is that the design changes you make to people’s lives have to be done gradually referring how it is like training for a marathon, starting small and gradually increasing as the user learns and becomes more accustomed to the changes being made.
Here I was asked to design a concept to help showcase an idea for a lifestyle config, that allows Samsung users to filter through the various products by saying how they will be using the phone/ tablet.
First we looked at all the filters that we could use, to help us offer the products that would be suited. This got us breaking each section into payment, lifestyle, work, style, wearables and seeing what options fit into these area. Once drawing up some quick wireframes to show how these would work, we took a look and started to scale down the options to leave with 3 main areas that the user would have to choose from, Pay, Lifestyle and style. These options then allow us to show the products that would best suit the user, as well as highlighting the apps, and accessories the user might find helpful at point of sale.
Discuss real problems that can be solved with tech in 8 weeks, with users you can contact for research purposes.
Here we discussed a variety of ideas first looking at dating apps, which then quickly turned into a way of connecting people. The main idea was a trading skills app where baking a cake can be exchanged for child minding within the local community to helping with DIY around the house.
To first validate our idea we quickly gave a quick profile of what we thought our users could be. This was first time buyers and mums.
From the user interviews we quickly found that the amount of trust needed with mums to baby sit or to do the school run was far too much to focus on so we decided to focus on first time buyers and DIY tasks.
This came with its on problems though as to create trust in the neighbourhood and try to make sure that neighbourly relationships were not broken with our product.
Principles checklist from user interviews:
Build respect between community. (Any problems can create awkward situation with neighbours).
Allow users to focus on immediate friends first that already have a rapport.
Try to move away from publicising roles that occur weekly.
Find a way that makes people want to join in and help, rather than just receiving work.
Personas From the research gathered we created our personas
First time buyer
Young couple Age: Late 20’3 early 30’s
Occupation: Buyer, Works full time, 8.30 – 6.00Just moved into first home.
Still enjoys nights out with friends. Finds there’s not much time time in the week.
Tech savvy, has all latest technology, but not keen on DIY although does help friends if needed
3 Kids: 3, 5, 7
Occupation: Product Owner,Works Part time
Works: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. 9-4
Can work from home, Finds despite not working Fridays a full weeks work is still required to fulfil job role. Will often not leave on time to help team with project queries.
First we explored the initial idea of creating journey maps, mind maps, random links, and creative stimulus where we considered other environments related to our users.
NABC (Needs Approach Benefits Competition)
Who/ What, How much, When, How, Where?
Taking the ideas we have generated we started to narrow down the ideas and chose our strongest ideas and created the following sketches to further explore our ideas.
Here we took our ideas and scored them to finally decide where to focus.
Validating our idea with a quick experiment
Just to see the uptake with friends I carried out a quick experiment. To test the uptake of the our concept I posted a question on Whatsapp to friends asking for help me with a DIY task.
Q: Does anyone want to do some manual labour for little to no pay.
Group size: 16
Responded Yes: 6
37.5% uptake in idea
Someone asked if people would be up for child minding instead
One person asked what points system would they be rewarded with
Another asking if there would be beer
Day of work:
5 people turned up with 2 of them turning up half way through the job
Creating a community for personalised needs. Allowing users to reach out to the local community for help with their tasks in exchange for their time.
Here our users can request help for a job and will pay in time. To gain more time the users will have to help other people in the community.
Here we used our personas and research that we had gathered to run through each task our users would go through when doing a DIY task.
Using the journey maps I started to look at the general process the user would go through when using the Trading skills application.
Here we wanted to quickly test how to best present user profiles to other users within the app.
We learnt here that it’s best to trim down the information and to focus on reviews and star ratings.
Using Proto.io We started to move the sketches to wireframes and into a direct Prototype that could be tested. First looking at the initial Prototype by using it myself and putting together a User journey to show how the users would flow through the app, making notes and alterations from the thoughts of the rest of the class.
Deciding the research goals
Looking at the current prototype I came up with a list of areas that I wanted to explorer.
Do we need a navigation.
Does the user understand the process of receiving time for carrying out tasks.
Can users easily add tasks and enter information.
Can users easily find where to look through tasks and apply for them.
Do users understand what is happening on the homepage. (As this is the main control panel that keeps user informed of upcoming jobs, and whether they need to carry out anything.
Setting the scene for the User testing
You have been doing some DIY and need to get some help to get the job finished. Sign up to Trading Skills using a facebook and get to the homepage homepage.
You are about to starting stripping the wallpaper but would like some help this weekend. Please use the app to add a task and then return to the homepage.
How would you go about getting some more time that you could use to create more of your own tasks.
[Photo of the notes taken]
Completed Prototype and User flow
Below showing the latest iteration of the Trading Skills app. Using the notes taken from user testing:
Putting task that users needs to carry out in a more prominent position on the homepage.
More messaging to allow users to know when they have carried out a task.
Maps so users know where the task is taking place at a quick glance.
Slight copy amends.
Allowing users to filter when searching job.
There are further amends or enhancements that need to be explored.
Investigating equipment and users lending equipment to each other.
Further investigation into linking Friends to help jobs, Wether this is linking the right people to you. Or grouping friends and you can select a group of friends to help with a task, so there is less awkwardness in everyone getting to know each other.
Trading knowledge section, maybe people don’t need help with tasks and a quick chat would help.
Further investigation on keeping people safe when using this app. Using a photo recognition software that sometimes are used in dating apps to confirm the right person, and to make sure all addresses are correct.
If there is no one to help, look to see if you can include local trader advertisement.
Week one opened with the 9 member sheepishly greeting each other and finding out about one another’s backgrounds, from Developers turned Designers, Marketing executives, and Graphic Designers all wanting to learn more about UX. The class size was a good number which allowed everyone to participate without feeling intimidated.
The first week run by Charlotte Gauthier the Lead UX Designer from The Guardian was focused around Human/User centred design. Starting by showing the various teams we would be working with throughout the course. Each team being split to give a wide range of backgrounds and experiences from the different participants. The first exercise was to decide a user-group that would benefit from a new email interface. A good range of ideas came forward, from a email interface focused on accessibility, to one focused on security which showed a good range of ideas within the groups.
Charlotte then focused the talk on what User research methods and processes were needed to validate the ideas. From Primary research, such as interviews, questionnaires and field studies, to Secondary research methods like benchmarking competitors and looking at previous studies. Then introducing us to tools like empathy maps, Persona cards and moving into NABC (Needs, Approach, Benefits, and Competition) that help make sense of the data gained.
Towards the end of the class we were separated back into our teams and given the brief for our course project, with the first week focusing on profiling our audience. With the ideas for the projects being a Healthcare app, a gardening tool, and ours a Trading skills app for the local community.
Week 2 – Ideation
Meeting with our teams again and exchanging notes on the week’s work, having found some useful information from interviews carried out during the week. With the Health care app being reminded of a old A-Z book that mums and dads would use to get quick medical knowledge. To understanding that an app that dealt with neighbours working together, would have to be careful to create respect within the app’s community, as to not create awkward relationships in the real world.
We were then greeted with our tutor for the next two weeks Hara Mihailidou who is currently Head of UX at Just Giving with a whole wealth of knowledge from experience at Microsoft and O2. Today we started to look at Ideation using a few techniques to develop the concept from week 1, ready to make a proposal that would be ready to pitch.
We were taught a number of great tools to use, that helped take the initial ideas and expand on them. The ones that sprung out to me included Journey maps, where you take a persona and map out the user’s day, helping to find where the situation would be useful for your users. With two others techniques that help take the idea and look at them in a completely different way, with ‘Creative Stimulus’ using ‘Revolution’ technique. Here you take the rules created from your original idea and reverse them to see if this leads to new ideas. Also another I particularly enjoyed was ‘Random links’ which allows you to stop getting bogged down within the project you may be working on. By bringing in a couple of random objects you would then discuss what they allow the user to do (anything is plausible), then taking these notes and relating each one back to the original idea.
Week 3 – User Experience, Sketching, and story boards
With the class being run again by Hara we all presented our final idea, giving a short explanation to how we got there. Within our team we had found that our initial idea was too broad to focus on within the time frame. Whilst also finding it would be very difficult to help mums and families because of the trust you need with the person may help with giving the kids a lift to school or babysitting. So we eventually settled on focusing on first time buyers and helping them with DIY tasks. It was good to see the other teams present and how their ideas had been developed into one pitch.
One learning from each of the groups pitch which seems obvious, was that we each forgot to give a quick story of the user and the specific problems they face, showing where our idea would help. With this in mind we moved into looking at our design goals, seeing the pyramid diagram from Stephen P Anderson who looked into the psychology behind design, moving your product from usable and reliable, to something pleasurable and meaningful, that will keep your users coming back time after time.
Hara then showing a great video from the master himself Don Norman. Looking at all the instances of designing fun into your products and what emotional cues the product should have to succeed, from Visceral, Behavioral, and Reflective.
We then came to one of the most enjoyable parts (for me) which was sketching, and creating storyboards, learning some quick techniques on how to quickly draw people to help get across the story we want to portray.
Using the personas that we first created in week one the teams drew out the storyboard that would show how our idea would intertwine into the user’s day and help them with their tasks.
Week 4 – Journey mapping, Information architecture and Wireframing sketching
Jiri the Principal Interaction Designer currently at Intruit was our tutor for week 4, bringing with him his experience from working for the Telegraph, National Rail Enquiries, among others.
Now with a true validated idea, from using the knowledge we have learnt from our user interviews we moved on to learning how we could start to structure the information we had gained, by looking into the Taxonomy and Information Architecture or our products.
The first activity of the night was to map out our user’s Journey using the storyboards and personas we had created from previous weeks. Quickly noting down all the activities our users would go through from initial problem to using our application. A great activity that really allowed us to dig into the detail of every process of our product. Then mapping out subtasks under the initial notes, reiterating the original line of activities as we went along. This flowed nicely into creating our User Flows, discussing as teams how the users would move around the activities and subtasks, learning that further Journeys could be made when wanting to dig into the detail of further subtasks.
Armed with the User Journeys and Flows, along with the work from previous nights, we moved into sketching out our wireframes. First working as a real rough Low fidelity hand sketch to get the ideas on page, allowing us to easily discuss what should be included and changed.
Before leaving, Jiri gave us the homework to the create a high fidelity wireframe prototype using proto.io along with a couple of useful links from BBC Gel, iOS HIG that look at existing patterns and design system that users already have a mental model of.
Week 5 – Prototyping and Rapid Experiments
I turned up early to see our tutor for the night Jiri grabbing a bite to eat before our class. It was good to get a quick chat with him before class, as we got to talk about how the academy was going and what my views on the class, along with getting a quick bit of advice over what I should emphasise within my CV and portfolio. With my background he mentioned I should focus on selling my experience from working with British standards to meet Ergonomic needs with the products I had worked on previously. Along with that he talked about his experiences when doing a masters, saying he thoroughly enjoyed it, and would still do it, despite the pressures of having a young family.
Moving onto the class we took a quick look at the wireframes we had produced using proto.io. Giving guidance on what areas we should adapt, opening it up to the whole group to ask questions. This then led us into the week’s topic of Prototyping.
First looking at the Double diamond diagram created by the Design council. Methodology suggesting that the design process consists of the 4 phases Discover, Define, Develop, Deliver. With Jiri saying that prototyping can fit within every phases as you look to evaluate your designs. Learning how Prototypes have many different guises and can be used to understand the problem space you are about to move. Showing examples of Rapid experiments where you jot down your interface on a piece of paper to test with a potential user. A very quick and easy way to test an assumption you might have.
Jiri started to go into detail of the various test he had carried out giving us lots of examples of Low fidelity test like sketches and dry tests where the prototype can be a creative piece that wouldn’t include any functionality to a ‘Wizard of OZ/ concierge’ test where a model is produced that allows the user to think they are using a real product. Jiri gave an example of a text based prototype where his teams created a text messages service where they would re-write the received messages from users before forwarding them, allowing them to test an idea quickly and the user thinking that everything was running through a database.
Another test that Jiri recommended was the diary study, getting users to use a prototype for a period of time whilst keeping a diary of when they used the product. This allows you to understand how the user gets on with a product over a longer period of time. What Jiri found most interesting was once the diary test had finished, they allowed the users to continue using the product. Although Jiri no longer got the the diary, the analytics they got back were quite interesting.
We then moved to a quick practical where we drew out and used paper prototypes to test quick interactions with our projects, which was a great way to imagine the steps the user had to go through to achieve a certain objective. Leaving this week with a couple of noteworthy comments ‘A prototype is worth a 1000 words’ and you should make a prototype in the lowest fidelity possible to answer the question you have.
Week 6 – Inclusive & responsive design
Today we met our 4th Tutor Sophie Lepinoy who is currently teaching Lean User experience and has mentored start up businesses at Google Launchpad. She came to give us an overview of what we should focus on with Accessibility and Inclusivity when designing for our users.
Sophie showing some insightful videos of people who are visually impaired, and what tools they use. Showing us how to consider the page is structured so that the screen readers can run through the page in a flowing manner. The video led the talk into the meaning of Accessibility as trying to remove barriers that stop people from using the website, which could be anything from visual impairment to hearing, which could be a physical problem to an environment problem of where the user is viewing your site/app. Then showing the certain standards that our designs should fall under such as the Equality Act 2010 along with the guidelines and associations which are good to keep in mind WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), WAI (Web Accessibility Initiative), W3C (World Wide Web Consortium).
The next topic which Accessibility falls under was Inclusivity that can range from Language, Age, Education, communities and many more of what your users might be. This led to looking at our designs from ‘Stress Cases’. Where a product may be used in the wrong way. An example was given of a user asking Siri “Siri, I don’t know what to do, I was just sexually assaulted”, with Siri replying “One can’t know everything, can one?”. Showing how not thinking of all the ways a user could interact with your product, no matter how bad can lead to making a traumatic devastating event, even worse for the user.
The first exercise of the night was looking at the wireframes we have already created, and seeing how they should be restructured to include what we had learnt from the day’s session. This led our team to not only look at how the page should be restricted but how users may become vulnerable whilst using our app. Making us look at what safeguards we might need to be put into our design in certain steps of the process, such as pop up warnings, as well as directing people to connect with users they may already know through Facebook.
After a small break we started to look at responsive design and grid systems, looking at the differences between Native, hybrid and Web, from how to to pick your break point to choosing a responsive grid that would suit your site, mentioning it should be looking at your content and how it is viewed at various viewpoint sizes before setting your breakpoints. Sophie finished by giving us some great resources to help decide a grid and setting a task to adapt our mobile apps to desktop.
Week 7 – Validating with usability testing
Sophie set out the agenda for the night. Looking into Usability testing methods and techniques. First making us aware of how prototypes can save millions in industry. Really highlighting the need to test your assumptions before pushing them into the real world. Whilst showing how building up knowledge in the area to gain empathy with the core users, as without this our designs are pretty much wishful thinking.
First we looked at the initial research we needed to gather to help validate our idea. Taking the brief that came from the client and beginning to understand:
–the users situation,
–and their desired outcome.
To help learn what users are doing now to solve their problems. Showing the quote below:
“This is exactly why we do user research: to find out what people are doing now to solve their problem, understanding what needs they have, and to understand how we can best help meet those needs. Then it’s time to work out what the project should be”
The talk moved into giving us some useful research methods and questions that we could use, whilst also showing a few examples from the book Just enough research by Erica Hall
“A healthy team is made up of people who have the attitude that it is better to learn something than be ‘right’”.
Erika Hall, Just enough research
Moving towards user interviews where Sophie showed short video from the book Sprint by Jake Knapp, that showed Michael Margolis conduct a user interview about a fitness tracker. Picking out some of the key areas to keep in mind when conducting an interview, such as:
–Making the user at ease, and being conscious of your own body language and how this could affect the user whilst being fresh and enthusiastic,
–Start the interview by spending 10 minutes talking to the user and finding out about them.
– Make sure you listening and don’t interrupt and be appreciative showing your listening
– Ask the users questions, or ask where their thoughts may have come from, eg a past app they may have used.
–Make sure the user fully understands you are testing the product and not them
–Give the user certain tasks to complete.
–And finally finish with a quick debrief.
We then broke away for 20 minutes where we started to use the tools we had learnt that night to conduct our own interviews. First we decided on the user goal and what we might want to learn from the interview. Then turning these into tasks the users needed to complete and non-leading questions that meet the goals we set out.
Within the group one person interviewed a user whilst the rest of the group participated in note taking. It was good to learn this in a non pressured environment, and I immediately picked up some useful learnings, after committing the cardinal sin of jumping straight into the task, forgetting to learn about the user first. What was interesting was being able to see the problem and writing down the note just by seeing the movement of the mouse and the body language of the user even before they spoke themselves about the issue. Showing how important user interviews can be.
This leads us into the final week with some great feedback to add to further users tests carried outside of the academy to build upon our designs.
Week 8 – Stakeholder management and UX portfolios
Onto the final week, which was a fairly relaxed evening with Sophie filling in at short notice with the topic for the night being Stakeholder Management and Portfolios. Showing us how important it is to know who they are, what they want, emphasising the need to take these people with you whilst doing the project. Giving us a few key ways to keep people on board with workshops like Hackathons, Design sprints, and storytelling. Which all help to change attitudes in terms of how UX might be thought of in other parts of the business, with a major example coming from the book Sprint by Jake Knapp and Game storming by Dave Gray.
The talk then moved into how best to set up a portfolio, and how to use the work we had done throughout the course, and build a case study that would allow us to show the processes we have gone through when designing.
One of the best parts being right at the end where Sophie spent her time to have a look through the work we had produced over the last few weeks, as well guiding us on our online portfolios, giving us an insight into what employers are looking for, as well as a few pointers of what we should change. I found this a great part of the night getting great feedback in a non pressured environment and being able to chat openly with Sophie on ideas of how to adapt my site to best show off my work.
As the night came to a close a few of the students finished off with a couple of drinks with both Naveed and Sophie joining us, where we could talk about the academy and share ideas and what groups and events to join to continue learning.
As someone who has been a front end developer, and product designer I really enjoyed the 8 weeks, which seemed to go in a flash. My highlights definitely being able to sit down with the tutors on a one to one basis from getting thoughts on masters degrees, to usability tests. I think it’s great if you’re new in UX or a beginner, in giving you the right structure to follow or just cementing what you may already have learnt whilst at work. Although what I would say is you get out of the course as much as you are willing to put using the nights sessions as a way to give a direction to the work you do outside of the academy.
A definite highlight is the tutors who have amazing backgrounds in UX who give a great insight to what they have learnt over their careers as well as Naveed who makes you feel at ease and is more than willing to answer any question you have, and always looking at ways to see how he can improve the academy in the future.