“Best Storytelling” Empathy Jam 2017

There we were, a team of 5 people who came to the UX Lab’s “Empathy Jam” held at Fordham University at Columbus Circle, NYC this past Saturday, October 28, 2017. We never met each other until that morning, Clara, Jiabing, Esther, Viada and me.

This workshop is my second time around to do a hackathon-like gig. But this time, it centered around user experience and heavy on user research. Each of the ladies in my team had the same passion (yuk, that word again!) and quest to find what it is that draws us in workshops like these. My guess is, we want to know more what being human is about. What makes us humans behave the way we do, and with a big slice of empathy, how can we help each other clear the muck and hope to become better within ourselves and to each other.

So, we ate together. And we talked. And talked. We knew those 12 hours would go by so quickly and we hustled out butts to do our research and went outside and to interviewed our targeted audience, the high school kids.

The research we found in U.S. government’s site, our targeted audience, and additional online research, 95% of these kids have no idea what they want to be “when they grow up”. Even with resources found in their schools, their guidance counselor, parents and college fairs, they mostly have no clue where to go for help to help determine where their lives should head after graduation. Our solution is to come up with a mobile site, design it simply but fun, and specific to high schools kids. We would then provide them all the links and data that U.S. government has, and they have plenty! We didn't want to re-invent the wheel. We just wanted to make it digestible and less intimidating for our targeted audience.

Time came to do our presentation. Our team that comprised of 3 UX researchers and 2 visual artists (+my additional skill of content strategist/marketing) won the Best Storytelling Award.

My takeaway from this? Plenty!

I’ve learned to stay humble and not forced what I think is right.

I’ve learned to listen and hear each of the person in the group have their say.

I’ve learned that I’m really a natural in directing (I’m an Art Director for heaven’s sake!) but learned to let the other visual pro do her “thing” and not let my “Art Directorship” take over.

I’ve learned that I like being a capitalist and that marketing is indeed in my blood. But my team was good enough to humor me and gently remind me that this is after all, about empathy.

UX design rocks and now I know why, more than ever, to keep pushing my career towards that way. I know this will all pay off at the end and that I will be at a place where I’m suppose to be. Group 12 rocks!