Working Out For The Flow Of It — GA UX PROJECT 1
Jumping To Conclusions
After completing this UX design project, I learned how important it is to not only iterate on my sketches, but to also iterate on the questions I ask the participant. Significant time is wasted drawing out sketches or coming up with design solutions that do not address real user problems.
I was quick to come up with solutions that I thought would be beneficial.
This was a mistake.
A much better approach was to ask more concise questions that got to the core emotion of the user problems.
This was a great exercise to hone in on several design techniques that believe will become autonomous in thought over time.
For our first project we were asked to design an interactive prototype of a mobile app that addressed a user problem related to a selected topic.
We were paired with a classmate and conducted an interview to gather qualitative data about his experiences at the gym
Using this raw data, I was then able to start applying several UX techniques to aid in designing a solution to the problems he experiences at the gym
Throughout the process we learned and applied several UX techniques such as:
Interviews, Defining the problem, Ideation, Concept Design, Solicit feedback, Prototyping, Presentation skills, and feedback
I started out with a mental map of ideas that I thought would be related to working out at the gym.
From this network of ideas, I was able to write out several questions that would help guide the interview
During the interview, I was went on I was able to draw better insight into the real reason Paul enjoyed going to the gym.
The major takeaway from the initial interview was that he no longer went to the gym for an ego boost, but rather to reach a meditative state … or he called ‘a state of flow’.
As I began to create an affinity map of his comments from the interview, several patterns began to emerge.
The mental map that I had first envisioned began to shift to something new.
Rather than focus on the mundane details of his workout, I gave much attention to what I named “The Transformation” category.
Thinking I had uncovered a truth, I began writing solutions to help him continue to achieve that flow state.
After getting some feedback from Shilpa, she pointed out that although I was able to uncover some interesting truths from the interview, I really wasn’t solving any specific problem.
This was a significant realization and turning point for me in the project.
I met with Paul again to ask more specific questions regarding his flow state.
His responses were
Now I was starting to uncover actual problems that I could design solutions for. These were real user problems.
Defining The Problem
With all of the information I had at the time, I wrote out the following problem statement.
Paul has made going to the gym a vital part of his life. Not only does working out strengthen his muscles, but it puts him in a flow like state which he finds very beneficial to his overall health.
When away from the gym, he continues to feed off that heightened state of mind for a well rounded peace of mind throughout the day.
Often during workouts he is so deep in concentration that he sometimes forgets to warm up properly or ends up lifting weights for too long. This puts his body at risk for accidental injuries or prolonged pain. He also finds it sometimes difficult to get into the preferred flow state because of stressful events going on in his life outside the gym or distractions at the gym.
Realizing the statement was a bit loose, I refined it.
When Paul doesn’t perform a proper warmup, he has trouble getting into the flow state during this workout.
During his flow state, there are times when he gets distracted
During his flow state, he loses track of time and overworks his body putting him at risk for injury.as well as design solutions
And from there I defined three solution statements with design ideas for each.
Validating my design ideas with him helped me focus on the features that really mattered. I responded to his feedback and threw away some initial design ideas while iterating on some others.
My idea for a workout log was nixed because it turned out that logging his data was not that important to him. As for listing podcasts, videos and articles, this also was thrown out because it just added to his distraction.
In the second round of sketching, I found myself honing in on the real problems he faced.
For the final round of sketches I discarded some features that were actually causing his stated problems.
For instance, the countdown timer itself stayed, but the numbers counting down were thrown out because it was a distraction.
I linked up the prototype with POP and it can be seen here
After presenting, I received some interesting feedback.
One thing in particular was that instead of just writing copy asking if he felt stuffed, it would be better to have a dropdown for him to select a specific emotion. This would be a better signal to whether or not he was ready to start his warm up.
It was also mentioned that I clearly label some features with words, but I was under the impression that nothing was to be labeled.
Overall, this was a eye opening experience and I am excited to have officially learned some UX techniques. I have used some of these techniques in the past when designing my fathers Chicago skyline photography website and an e-commerce photography website that I built and designed.
This design of this project felt more structured.
I also learned how important it is to organize my findings and thoughts as I move through the design process. Having things readily accessible allows me to make connections faster and brainstorm better ideas.
I imagine after a few more projects, these tasks will feel more autonomous rather than confusing.