A day in UX masterclass

User experience (UX) workshop ran by Elizabeth Chesters

Having worked with and met many UX experts throughout my career, I ought to gain some understanding on how they work and their day to day. Volunteers at Code First: Girls often run masterclasses on various tech topics including UX, which I believe it would be a great first step to gain some mental models of the UX workflow. It did not disappoint and I really love how interactive and hands-on the workshop was. I arrived at Thoughtworks London office and met Emily and Tola, and together we formed a team of 3.


Workshop kickoff

Elizabeth explained to us the definition of user experience (UX) with some practical examples:

  • Using dark colours for screens during nights (eg. Night mode toggle on Twitter mobile application)
  • Being able to navigate the app using other medium beside touch (eg. Recipe app should consider the fact the users may not be able to touch the screen)
The day has started!

Our app: Glow Up!

We need to have an app idea for the workshop! Emily suggested a makeup recommendation app based on your skin tone and preferences, the team was very excited with the idea of it and our app was born.

Personas

We started off with an exercise in Personas, which are methods to representing individual users or segments of audience for your application. We went with a 26 year old account executive who works and live in the city of Manchester. We wrote her bio as below:

Her name is Jet (a combination of our first initials) and she is a young professional who wants to look her best at all times. A big chunk of her life is spent socialising with colleagues, friend and families. She is money savvy, willing to part with her cash for the beauty products that works for her.

Empathy map

We moved onto empathy map to help us understand and empathise with Jet. We believe she is surrounded with others who may had better luck choosing the right beauty products, which left her feeling a bit left out and she is open to join a community where members are happy to share beauty advices with her.

She’s longed for the confidence that she saw in others and frustrated that she is spending too much money on beauty products which only to find out they don’t really work well for her skin tone. At this point, we understood the pain Jet is experiencing, and we want our app to provide some gains for Jet by using our mobile application.

User journey

By mapping user journey, we investigated how Glow Up! can help Jet to achieve her goals. We want her to be able to personalise her profile with ease, so we can present her the information she needed as soon as possible to keep her engaged with the app. We also wanted to make sure she can contribute as a member of the Glow Up! community.

Working hard on user journey

Prototype

This was my favourite part of the day. Using prototype, we can present our application to our test users without spending too much time and resources building the application with fully-fledged features. We were very lucky to be working with one of the volunteers, Megan (mefan) on this exercise. She validates some of our thinking and we had some feedback and ideas from her as an end user , and understood what makes a good app from an UX professional.

Our artefacts for Glow Up and our prototype

User testing

It is now time to test the app with our prototype with real users! I was chosen to be a tester for another team. They were building an rental property listing app for foreign students who are moving to a city in the UK, and I throughly enjoyed testing their prototype. I admire the level of details they have put into their prototype and even it was in paper form, it was very easy to understand how the app works! It was no surprise the team won the ‘Best Prototype’ prize of the day.

Once the testing session was over, I went back to my team to have a debrief. Our feedback was that the paper prototype we created didn’t have the visual clues on how to navigate the app, we assumed that users will be able to tell from a product image that they are clickable. It hindered on the process on getting useful feedback from the testers as Emily had to explain the navigation.

Sure, our prototype was well thought out but it lacked the visual prompt to the testers so that was our biggest takeaway from the user testing session.

Amazing prototype and the team members of

Presentation

Pitching our app and talking through our UX approach

Every team worked on their presentation around 10–15 minutes and we presented our app, what we learnt and what would we improve after today’s session. Every team had great ideas, fun illustration and it was interesting to see how the team implemented their thinking into their prototypes.

Our team won the ‘Best Personas’ prize and we were thrilled to receive a £10 amazon voucher (which I used to buy the ‘Don’t make me think’ book recommended by Elizabeth) and an invitation to a user testing lab which I will do another blogpost in August.

Time to say goodbye

I’ve made new friends, caught up with familiar faces, and introduced to some great UX people who were volunteering at the workshop. If you’re interested in attending, please keep an close eye on this page 😍

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