UXDI: Week 1 Retrospective

Sep 14, 2015 · 7 min read

TL;DR: UX is awesome! Week 1 taught me a lot and I cannot imagine what else I will learn in the next 9 weeks.

Day 0: Orientation

Met prospective fellow batch mates. It was fun. They prepped us for the rollercoaster ride ahead.

Favorite quote: “Focus on being a good designer first and then worry about jobs.”

My team name is Ghouls

Let’s get started!

Day 1: Getting our feet wet and into to UX

Apart from the awesome intro, I had the below few key takeaways:

  1. It is not about you. It is about the users
  2. UX Designers work based off of actual user data and not personal opinions
  3. UX is not about “making something look cool!” Well that is a part of it but it plays a fractional role in the whole UX Design process

I came up with a basic anaolgy of UX Designers being the Architects. they understand the principles but also the needs and feelings of the people who are going to be working in the building that is about to be built.

The construction workers are the awesome developers that will make the foundation and the interior designers are perhaps the interaction/visual designers.

This is just a base analogy of course. Some of the main roles in UX were mentioned and we got to learn a bit about all of them

This experience was like putting on the iron man helmet and now everything you see is through the lens of a UX designer which is noticing the affordances, signifiers, constraints, mapping and feedback.

And then… it was time for the first assignment

Like all things *ahem* we try for the first time, the first experience of doing it is often full of mistakes. Awesome mistakes that help us learn better ;)

We went out and checked out the MTA ticket machine as a part of our team assignment. Shoutout to Guy and Krista for being awesome team members.

We being the users ourselves introspected about our own annoyances regarding the system. Majority of the research was based off of personal experience and personal suggestions/changes that will help in making the experience better

Top 3 recommendations:

  1. Ability to recharge the card via phone and updating the balance on the card by swiping it on the existing balance enquiry machines
  2. Including icons will help more people and the machine access doesn’t have to be limited to just the 4 languages
  3. QR code scanners on the turnstiles. This will function very similar to the Starbucks app

We presented this in front of the class as well.

Project 1: Kick Off

It is time to put on our detective hats and start working!

UX without User is not UX.

UX — U = X

X means don’t do it

I was assigned the Weather topic

I used Topic Mapping to come up with the initial set of questions and filtered them out with the 4 list (Behavior, context, pleasures and pain) principle.

Then, based on what we learned I made a script to introduce myself and ask users the questions to gather initial data.

I had to approach a random person in a GA Hackathon. It was awkward and I was super nervous. You know that feeling when your friend puts you on the spot and tells you to go talk to that cute girl? Yes, that feeling. The user interview went well and I got better at it slowly.

I interviewed total 5 users.

I found these were the common problems users who are currently using the Weather app had:

  1. Ability to quickly change from Fahrenheit to Celsius
  2. The want for hourly weather information not only for current day but future days as well
  3. Helpful text informing about the weather change. For example: “The rain will stop in 15 mins.”

This gave enough ideas for me to include in the prototype we planned to build on Day 3

There were many awesome quotes from this day but the best one was…

Not a User anymore. You are a UX Designer

Day 2: Analyzing User Interview Data and more…

My biggest takeaway from this day was that I was able to generate a good flow to my user interviews keeping the 4 list in my mind. After the first 3 interviews, I improved my questions and their order to get more structured answers that helped me focus on what improvements I can bring to the app.

Initial unstructured questions:

Improved questions:

I could not do the affinity diagrams on Day 2 but I had a good idea what the problem areas were and how I will go about coming up with potential solutions to test them out in my prototypes.

Day 3: It’s alive and it works! (with some quirks)

Based on the data collected from the user interviews. I drew my very first app prototype and it was amazing.

Get sketchin’

I made sure I included the below 3 features in the app and was really curious to see whether people will notice them, how they will behave and what I will learn from the usability tests.

  1. Ability to quickly change from Fahrenheit to Celsius
  2. The want for hourly weather information not only for current day but future days as well
  3. Helpful text informing about the weather change. For example: “The rain will stop in 15 mins.”
I came up with 8 screens for my app wthr :)

Link to POP prototype: http://bit.ly/dsk-wthr

I also want to mention the great feedback my colleagues provided for improving my app which helped me get rid of some things I didn’t notice while I was making it. Thanks guys :)

Usability Tests:

I tested this app out with 3 users and I used the customized scripts as suggested in the slides shared by Stacey.

Scenario and task: It was raining really heavily outside, you want to quickly find out how long it will take for the rain to stop by using *this* app.

This is what I found:

  1. They did notice and appreciate the Fahrenheit to Celsius button
  2. They also saw the mulitple day hourly information and said it was really helpful
  3. 2 out of the 3 users saw the helpful text and mentioned that they always need to look through the time and do the math. We all hate math
  4. The graph button in the bottom was confusing to all of them
  5. The map button didn’t communicate well what it was supposed to do as the users noticed it but said they didn’t know what they were supposed to expect.

I took notes while conducting all of these interviews and came up with the below affinity map which gave me the guidelines of what I need to improve on in the next iteration.

What I will do better:

  1. I will update the design and make the helpful text more prominent.
  2. The graph and map icons need to be more clear as well

Luke: We are not interested in their opinions as they are subjective. Focus on their behavior. See if they are getting confused about something and dig deeper to find the cause.

If I had more time:

  1. This post would look much better and have much better copy
  2. I would have made Google forms with the 4 list questions and sent them out via email. A Calendly invite for a skype call will be sent next after receiving the initial answers
  3. Would have gone out to Starbucks and conducted more user interviews

Day 4: Presentation time!

We had to present all of this in front of the class. It was a lot of fun and our awesome instructors (Luke, Stacey and Kristin) gave us really helpful feedback.

Bring it on Week 2…


Written by


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

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