Team UX!

I have been on the other side of assigned team work several years now, having had to facilitate group work in the college and high school design classes I’ve taught. I have heard many students’ (sophomore to graduate level) complaints about fellow group members. Everyone knows that learning how to collaborate is just as, if not more, important than the actual assignment.

The second project in my UX Design Immersive course required me to switch roles and be a group member — one limb of a 3-legged perfectly balanced stool. Of course, balance is a fluid thing, and learning to effectively combine three different work styles demands give and take, flexibility, and the willingness to let things go. I have had to let go of a lot of perfectionistic tendencies in the course so far because holding on to them while in such a rigorous, quick-paced program would mean potentially missing deadlines and just plain crazy-making.

On a personal level, it has been challenging for me to be in a class of what feels like a sea of Type A individuals, extroverts at their core. I feel like a Type B- on my most organized, conscientious days lately, barely getting by. I look forward to the day when I can integrate what I have learned into a seamless execution of all the UX Design steps, and actively participate in the creation of something truly useful and aesthetically appealing.

In Project 2, my team and I worked with the topic of Education and had to apply this to a responsive web design. After generating a topic map, we all agreed to focus on education and volunteerism. We did our first screener survey and then did user interviews. After that, we sifted through our findings and categorized them in an affinity map. We were able to develop a persona who was an authentic representation of our target user, and based on the insights we collected, produced a credible and empathetic journey map.

I found the Design Studio process, a new experience for me, to be quite beneficial in coming up with ostensible features. The time limit forced me to think and sketch fast and not get attached to any solution. I can mull over an idea to death, so doing this along with expressing my ideas in a very short, finite amount of time, was both scary and efficacious.

As I get further into living the UX Life, I am understanding the benefits of research, not just in an intellectual way, but feeling it on an emotional level as well. I haven’t been moved to tears yet, but actually experienced a bit of wonderment and even a little pleasure, to my surprise, over my team’s mid-fi prototype being easily understood and intuitively navigated by a user during a usability test.

In the final phase of this project I was able to build on my sketchy Sketch skills as I developed the hi-fi desktop prototype. Through usability testing, we were able to see how we could improve on the features we included, and also what we should remove.

I genuinely enjoyed working with my teammates and learned a great deal from them, not only through our discussions, but by observing how they worked, and most of all how we managed to overcome some communication barriers. Each of us brought something unique to our collective endeavor, and hopefully can take away something valuable from it.