Pomelo 1 — Project Planning

In this series I will be running through the steps taken in a recent project I completed with Pomelo for Myanmar, a social business in Yangon, Myanmar. This is my first time implementing a full UX design cycle; it has very much been a learning experience, but both the client and I (and hopefully the users!) are really happy with the finished product.

Here are the other posts from the series: Pomelo 2, Pomelo 3 and Pomelo 4

Introduction

Post ‘First things first’ ended with my mentor and I looking to develop a project that would be the first addition to my new UX Design portfolio. To give some sort of guideline as to what project I wanted to work on, beforehand we decided it was a good idea to figure out what sort of company I would like to work for, to ensure that the portfolio pieces would be relevant to who I aspire to present them to.

I wrote a list of things that influenced whether I wanted to be part of a particular company; the ethics of the company, aims of their products, priorities in their design, their prestige and their focus on the development of individuals. This gave me a bunch of agencies whose portfolios and work catalogue I looked into for inspiration. I was particularly interested by a number of website redesigns for charities that some agencies had done, as these projects are both for a good cause and also present a different challenge to the more common commercial website projects. After a bit of research, mainly involving searching variations on ‘charity website redesign brief’ I was able to find this ready made charity website redesign brief template, which was extremely convenient.

However, just as we were about to go full steam ahead with this, a glorious opportunity presented itself. I was approached by an organisation based in Myanmar that I had done some volunteer work with earlier in the year, called Pomelo. Pomelo is ‘a not-for-profit fair trade creative outlet in Yangon, Myanmar, for local artisans to hone their design and business skills’, and they needed a new website built which, again, was extremely convenient. So we went ahead with this live project; to design and build a new website for social-business Pomelo.

Project Planning

Once I got the brief sent through to me I was able to start the designing process, my mentor Hayden suggesting that I made a basic reverse-engineered portfolio piece of the upcoming project. Essentially this would act as the project plan, keeping my attention on what I should be gaining from each exercise and how to incorporate that into my design, as well as informing me which design methods to use next.

When discussing developing a portfolio at the UX Brighton Career Clinic I was told to “show that each design method is relevant to the project and that the results are used effectively and appropriately”. When trying to reverse-engineer this portfolio piece I found it difficult to figure out which methods were and were not relevant to this project; I don’t think I have enough experience to really know what to use when. I didn’t want to get stuck at the first hurdle, so decided to take a leap and simply choose some of the methods that I had learnt about and had used before, rather than unnecessarily fretting over the relevance of particular methods.

The reverse engineered portfolio piece was the list of these chosen methods, with a short description for each of what I “did”, why I “did” it and what I “learned” from doing it.

Since writing essays at school, I’ve always been told how important it is to spend a good amount of time planning the upcoming task, and this is very true in this case. Not only am I sure that having a well planned process will produce a better product, but in the short term it makes the whole process much less intimidating. For this reason this reverse-engineering was a worthwhile exercise.

Plan done, now the design process can really begin, starting with Competitor Analysis and Persona Development. Find that post, Pomelo 2, here.

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