Design Camp #1: UX Starter Pack, by Dunia Dalam Desain
September 2018, me and two other Dunia Dalam Desain (DDD) team members were going out on a holiday to Pahawang island, Lampung. In the middle of the trip inside Lampung’s landscape, we talked about what else DDD can contribute to product design community besides recording and publishing our monthly design podcast. While we’re riding and sightseeing through the green forest, this idea comes into our conversation:
Let’s run a design camp where people can learn about design while camping in the middle of a forest!
We want to step away a bit from typical conferences we all used to attend, where we sit and watch numerous presentation, waiting for that “networking” window and some workshop session. We want to make it different, memorable, impactful, and far less expensive.
Two months later, we made it happen. Our very first design camp which is held on 24–25 November 2018 at Gunung Pancar, Sentul, Bogor. At first we’re kind of pessimistic whether people are willing to join a non-traditional conference & workshop, where they will sleep on a tent, learn on the ground/rocks, and have a big chance on getting wet because of the cold rains (and it happens!).
When picking a theme for this design camp, we learned from our engagements with DDD’s followers on Instagram that we need to stress on fundamental design process. Later we open registration via our Instagram account, 50+ people registered in less than 24 hours. Too bad, we only have 20 seats available. By limiting number of participants, we want them to get the most of the mentor’s attention. These 20 selected participants (12 male, 8 female) come from different areas (Jakarta, Bogor, Tangerang, Bekasi, Surabaya), backgrounds, and UX knowledge level (0–10):
Given this information, we as mentors need to prepare materials that suitable for the audience. We need to give more weight on practical exercises compared to theories written on our presentation decks. The mentors also come from various roles and companies. Here’s the line up:
- Tri Nugraha, Head of Product Digital Proposition Group @ Indosat Ooredoo
- Muhammad Heikal, UX Designer @ Tokopedia
- Aldrin Ferdian, Product Design Lead @ Tokopedia
- Evan Clearesta, Researcher @ GO-JEK
- Ryan Handy Priyadma, Head of Product Design @ tiket.com
- Stevanus Christopel, Product Design Lead @ Tokopedia
- Adze Ganesha, Principal UX Designer @ Tokopedia
- Muhammad Raufan Yusup, UX Designer @ tiket.com
- Arif Riyanto, UX Designer @ Tokopedia
Right after we all arrived at the camping ground (around 1-hour trip from Jakarta), first introductory session started @ around 2PM. I explained about high-level agendas for the next 24 hours: why we’re doing this, what they’ll learn, who are the mentors, what activities we will have, and overall event’s rundown.
I also gave some warm-up session by explaining the basics about UX. I was explaining that user interface (UI), interaction, and usability are the three components that shaping user experience (UX). The UX then can create feelings, whether it’s a bad feelings or good feelings. It’s our job as designers to ensure we only give good feelings (good UX) to our beloved users.
The lessons of “fundamental design process” designed to have theory-practice-theory-practice approach. 5 groups consists of 4 members will have one big project for them to accomplish. Each group will have a dedicated mentors to help them along the way. The theme of the project was, “creating a public transportation apps that will help solve people’s problem and make their life become easier”.
In this first part, Muhammad Raufan Yusup shared about how to define goals and finding problems. Each team members from each group were asked to talk to real people to find: their pain points, their goals and motivations, and ideas. Some of them contact their relatives via WhatsApp, Instagram, and other social media channels. Many of them also directly call their research participants.
All mentors sit together with each groups to guide them on conducting user research.
After getting real data from real person, we need to put the puzzle together. Stevanus Christopel give presentation about Affinity Diagram, a tool that can be used to extract design mandates from user’s data we collected earlier. Participants need to group every facts, pain points and ideas that arise from user interviews. Each findings need to be written on a piece of sticky notes. Once they grouped it, they need to extract insights (or problem statements) and generate what design action items (design mandates) need to be made.
Next step is to create a Concept Model, presented by Ryan Handy Priyadma. A concept model is a visual representation, to help us understand the different kinds of information that our website/app needs to display. It’s not a flow chart, it’s also not a sitemap, it’s in-between. It has nouns connected by verbs. Participants were asked to draw their concept model based on design mandates they already had.
Now that we have the concept in hand (and after having a warm dinner), it’s time to sketch some wireframes! Adze Ganesha explained the basics about how to create wireframe. He also explained what is low med and hi fidelity wireframes is all about, with each of their functionalities. Participants then asked to draw their low-fi wireframes based on their concept models.
After creating some wireframes, participants then learn from Aldrin Ferdian how to make a simple prototype using their smartphone with Marvel App. They snap their hand-drawn sketches, then make it clickable to navigate between the screens.
Last but not least, all of our designs need to be tested. We need to find out whether our design is solving user’s problem or giving more problems instead. Ryan presenting some theory to do usability testing in order to validate the design.
The clock is showing 10PM sharp. That means it’s time to have an open discussion session in front of the bonfire. All participants formed a circle and started having a Q&A session with all mentors. The discussion were mostly about career journey sharing, what is it like to work in a startup company, and some tips & tricks and career advice. The participants were really fired-up in this session, there’s so much things that a person can learn from another person. I need to “stop” it right at 12AM, or else we’re not going to have a good amount of sleep.
We woke up early in the morning and have a warm fried rice for breakfast, accompanied by fresh morning cold-air. Some of us that can stand cold water, take a bath and getting ready for the next agenda.
All theories are done discussed in day one. Now it’s time to practice prototyping and validate for their projects. Participants completing their wireframes from last night, and make it into a full working prototype. They ran usability testing to other cross-groups and also the mentors. In this session, they were forced to speak up and be brave to communicate to real people. This “speak-up” skill is one of the most important thing that a designer should have. They need to possess the ability to create a conversation and gathering insights along the way, it’s super critical aspect for all design process stages.
It’s Demo Time!
All five groups now have everything they need to present to the judges. Research findings, prototypes, and action items for next improvements. One by one they present to the crowd about what app they intend to build/improve, what are their target user’s need, how’s their prototype looks like, and most important what learnings did they get.
Of course it’s not perfect, they only have less than 10 hours to prepare the project. But, the mentality is amazing. They worked hard and super passionate on it, makes us mentors really proud.
We picked two winners out of 5 groups. The one that understand the fundamental process and have the ability to execute and present it well, get the prizes of two awesome books about interaction design and user experience research.
It’s a Wrap!
Nothing can match the feelings of accomplishment & satisfaction after you teach and transfer your knowledge to others, and see them improved and become better in what they do.
I want to thank all participants that are willing to learn and work together in a very short time and some extreme conditions. I remembered when the rain drops heavily, we’re in the middle of a session. All of us become wet, super cold, all laptops and note books also become wet! We wish you a very bright future ahead.
To all great mentors and committee, I can’t express enough how much I appreciate and thank you for your time and hard work to make this happen. I always believe nothing is impossible when we’re together. Can’t wait for our upcoming projects!
To our sponsors, thank you so much for your awesome support. Quick Chicken Indonesia gives us 2x meals (supper yummy), stickers, and also pens. Moselo, gives us awesome notebooks, stickers, and IDR 50K vouchers! Thank you Richard Fang & erwin andreas 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼