Apr 9, 2016 · 4 min read

Thanks for the kind words and I really appreciate you asking these questions, Tiara. My trainer Stacey helped me build a habit of keeping a notebook / a few notecards handy on me all the time and as I learned new things or took a deep dive into a task, I’d document what I did, what I learned, etc. This helped a lot in me being thorough with this retrospective and I am working on getting better.

UX is a way of life and I am grateful to have jumped into it and learned from one of the best! You should definitely give it a try. I’d recommend reading: The Practitioner’s Guide to User Experience Design by Luke Miller. He was one of my mentors along with Stacey in the User Experience Design Immersive course I took at General Assembly.

Before I jump into answering your questions, I want to specify that this is a hypothetical fun project I did to test my skills and learn new ones. This is also my way of showing my appreciation towards them. Yes, I’m a fanboy lol :)

-About experience points:
I think of them as an element of delight. That extra coffee the barista treated you on the house because you’ve become friends with her being a loyal customer and interacting with them. In terms of UI, it could be a badge, an animation or anything else that makes the user feel delighted after performing a certain task. Fitbit does this job really well by using competitive fun copy for their daily challenges.

I totally agree with you with redeeming-points stuff. In my personal experience, I hate receiving a long receipt from CVS with coupons of mostly the stuff I don’t want. I understand it. CVS is trying to push other products on me, that’s okay. I just ignore it. But, what if we put a UX Designer in this situation? He goes out there, truly listens and say for example, finds out that the user base for an X product is mainly parents with kids between 5–10 years of age who love Carvel ice-cream. Now what if the rewards in this case were coupons for 10–20% off on their next purchase from Carvel? The likelihood that the users will use the coupon may be exponentially higher and they will be thanked by their kids with those cute little smiles! I personally feel this will definitely create a positive loop between your product and the user. This is something that I intend to test out in my future projects :)

-About curation:
Google already has some great anti-bullshit filters in place and I agree that having human involvement in the beginning stages for just one hobby would be tremendously beneficial in the curation process. Also interviewing top performers like Mike Portnoy (drummer of Dream Theater) or other awesome drummers out there will help a lot. By not asking him what is this one best tutorial he saw, if we learn about his journey to getting to where he is today and repeating this with many other drummers — me and my team I believe can come up with trends and best practices that have the best probability to be an effective learning tool for the users.

At this point I’d be assuming since I don’t fully know Google’s capabilities of what the awesome developers are able to achieve. I just wanted to take a stab at it and do my best and see how it may or may not work. So far, people seem to love it and I am delighted and grateful for that :)

-On hobbies that don’t involve a skills-improvement component:
I don’t know much about planner decoration but say you had to do X in a certain amount of time. What if you started logging how long it takes for you complete it in the best quality possible (using something like Toggl). Now if you do this for even 3–5 days, you have the data and the quality of your work. This will help as a tool for your to make changes and improve upon it. If the nature of the subject you are trying to work on is highly subjective, I’d surround myself with top performers in that field so that I get rid of my own bias, do the work and get constant feedback on what I am doing.

Measurements and gamification are optional. The goal is to create the most effective product possible that creates the most impact. If the data shows those features are not being used and there’s something else that the users need, well that’s a great point to discuss with your team and test this out. There is so much beauty in testing and iteration :) To add to this, if I had more time, I’d experiment with the measurements/achievements being public or private.

When you learn something new, you ARE going to do it all wrong. This reminds me of the self doubt and the impostor syndrome I personally went through while working on this project with Stacey as my guide. To quote Nike, “Just do it!” is not enough. I feel there’s a lot of value in having a coach around who tells you how to do it and provides constant feedback (Thanks Stacey!). Thanks for the suggestion on the experience points. I didn’t think of this and it is something that is definitely worth testing.

After you’ve put in the reps, you will get closer to doing it the right away :)

On communities:
As I started to get more into it, realized that I was just looking at the tip of the iceberg and quite frankly got super overwhelmed with it. Using the Pomodoro technique and breaking this whole thing into chunks helped me finish this project just to a point that it gets the basic idea across. Did I think about this product having communities and growing larger? Yes, I did :)

Thanks again for the kind words and the questions :)




    Written by


    UX Designer | Researcher who loves taking pictures, riding his Boosted Board and indulging in DIY.