SNEWZ aggregation without the aggravation

Project one of the UXDI program at GA was a great experience into the challenges that will be presented in the upcoming weeks. A great taste of what is expected.

For the first project, the class was given the task of creating an app. The app types were a News Aggregate, Fitness and Heath, and Media Player. Selected for me was to create a News Aggregate.

Using the tools and theories learned in class the process began.

Show Me What You Got

User Research began by interviewing 5 users.

Users had to have the following attributes to participate:

  • Be a qualified users (Actually use a news aggregator app)
  • Be willing to express their interactions, thoughts about the app

The questions asked are as follows:

  • Do you currently use a News Aggregate app?
  • How do you consume the news? Types of sites?
  • How often do you engage with the news? Time of day?
  • Is there specific content that you are looking for?
  • What are the likes/dislikes that you currently have?
  • Can you give a brief walk-through of a typical session?

Through the above questions various data was collected. This data lead to Synthesizing User Research.

Geez Tell Me How You Really Feel

Synthesizing user research began by taking the collected data, and writing out what the people said on post-it notes. Likes and dislikes it did not matter what was said. It was all valuable user feedback. Everything was written down to visually see what they said. Responses were interesting.

The responses were then sorted using an affinity diagram by using the four list. The four list is broken down into four categories:

•Pains •Pleasures •Context •Behaviors

The post-it notes were placed in the appropriate category in the the affinity diagram.

i.e. “ I use my news aggregator in the morning ” This comment would be placed in behavior category.

After all the post-it notes were placed in the affinity diagram a common issue was identified which lead to the problem statement and design idea.

Problem Statement

  • Through interviewing users, a common observation was that users received unwanted content in their news feeds from selected sources


  • Allow users to curate their news feed content to their specific interest

Now that an identifiable issue was presented to work out, it was time to get Sketching!

Get Out Of My Head

Sketching is an important phase because it took a mental idea and made it visual. The sketches were done in low-fidelity. It is a great way to out try ideas and allows room for mistakes.

After the first run of sketches was completed, feedback was given from classmates.

Feedback was great because it was given in both positive and negative aspects, non-bias.

Also new ideas were introduced. Sketching lead to the next phase of Prototyping.

If You Build It…

Prototyping was done by taking sketches and inputting them into POP Prototyping. POP Prototyping is an app that allows the user to take their sketches and make them a real working prototype. It gives the ability to use functions like swipe and tap. This is a fun and very interesting phase, not only does it give you a working version, but it is also a very cost effective solution for the entire project.

Once the prototype was working and went through some initial testing, it was ready for Usability Testing.

Batter Up

Usability Testing is a great phase because it shows how users react with the app. The first step was to find qualified users. Once that was determined a script was recited to them that was similar to the following:

Hi I’m Jeff, Would you be interested in participating in a usability test for a news aggregator app that I am working on?
The test will take 5–10 minutes of your time.
During the test I will be video recording you using the app, taking notes, and will ask some questions.

If the users accepted, testing commenced.

Usability testing is great because user interaction was seen in real-time. Also emotions were seen through users facial expressions as they were going through it.

Feedback received was great. Many of the suggestions were taken into account.

The Prototype went through several iterations.

Iterations consisted of making changes as a direct result of user feedback.

It’s Show Time

Presentations definitely are an emotional rollercoaster. That feeling of confidence and un-easiness at the same time is tough to handle.

When presenting this app prototype there was not a lot of time for preparation. In a way it was kind of appreciated as one would have to react quickly. Instinct and knowledge of the designed product was the trusted partner in this situation.

The lack of time and sticking to a deadline was a good practice as well. It showed what it is like to to present as a UX Design professional.f

Click the link below to interact with the prototype:

All Though We’ve Come…

Although there is no final working app, the process of getting to the point of where the project is was thoroughly enjoyable.

Next steps would be:

  • More User Testing
  • More Iteration
  • Design Studio

A lot was learned from this project as a introduction to UX Design. From start to finish of user research, synthesis, sketching, prototyping, usability testing, and presentation. Looking forward for the challenges that are ahead.