The User Experience Design Process | Project #3 Ironhack Barcelona

Valeria Benitez
Jul 7 · 7 min read

In our second week at Ironhack, we had been given a project to complete where we would have to choose from a range of topics and apply the user experience design process by conducting research, which would lead us to the problem and then to find a solution to solve it by creating an app! This project was due in 6 days, 3 days of research (Fri-Sun) and 3 days of prototyping, testing and presentation! I have a lot to do, let's get on with it!

Pick a category! Which one? I love them all!

Emotional Awareness, physical awareness, spiritual awareness, social awareness, intellectual awareness, occupational awareness and environmental awareness.

Spiritual Awareness spoke to me immediately!

Let’s get started!

Research

I started with writing a couple of notes down about who I would be interviewing. Even though I am in Barcelona, I was interested to know how the people of Catalonia viewed spirituality. So I started with 2 face to face interviews. I quickly realised that both the interviews were quite similar, they were interested in the natural therapies however when it came to discussions about belief systems (religion vs. spiritual) they felt uncomfortable talking about it. I was stuck, I really needed people to open up!

I need more, I am going to schedule some over the phone interviews from Australia

So I successfully scheduled 5 over the phone calls to Australia and yes the time difference added to my sleep deprivation!

The interviews went very well, the participants opened up about spirituality, religion and therapies and the relationships between each of them. These conversations were giving me a lot of insight! This made me feel like I was back on track!

Once all my notes were put together, I completed an Affinity Map!

Our teacher also wanted us to send out survey’s and get 100 back, he gave us the weekend to do this which was great! So out went the surveys on Friday night, I sent out my survey to a group of people who were mainly from Australia who was all interested in “having better experiences with their life” this could be through spirituality, natural therapies, psychology etc. I got 52 responses back and the group has 500 members. I was hoping to get at least 100 however it was enough to see correlations and relationships between my questions.

This was added to the Affinity Map as shown above to get an overall feel of the topic including the face to face and over the phone interviews.

So the next step was to create a problem statement.

Problem Statement

“Spiritually aware people need a way to learn more and manage their time efficiently in order to practice spiritually in private.”

My problem statement was a challenge with this topic. With coaching and support from my teacher and the TA’s, I changed the problem statement 3 times before reaching to the final one. Why? Because there were many problems and I put too many problems into the statement and needed to keep focused. My teacher also mentioned that everyone is time poor, is there something more or deeper that needs to be resolved. I went back to the affinity diagram and continued to study more. I then realised I needed to create my user persona so I could really get into the mindset of the person/people/user’s I was designing for!

User Persona

I started creating my user persona, to portray to the audience who is a representation of users who will be using this app and solving their problems! Meet Calm Carla!

After completing my user persona, I needed to get started on my sketches, and I had 48 hours to submit my final project and had a lot of work in front of me. I will work on the problem statement when it is clearer to me!

Paper Prototypes

Crazy 8's! Love this exercise, however, alone its a very different experience and much more challenging! Why? Because the ideas were limited, the time we had was limited and I wanted to explore this process more and really work on my UI skills which later showed I need to grow in this area. Here are my sketches!

Testing

So from my research, the key main problems were that people who wanted to deepen their spiritual growth and practice didn’t have a place to really find all the information and spent a lot of time googling instead of practising. Another mention was that a lot of people also needed support and enjoyed natural therapies however did not know who to see unless the therapist was recommended by a friend.

This leads me to my design and testing my prototype!

Iterations between Testing 3 prototypes.

Testing three prototypes I quickly began to realise I could test, test and test!

We learnt a new testing format where we had a group of 4 students with the teacher and the TA’s and did a progress presentation. The aim of this was to get valuable feedback from our teacher and peers on how the prototype was progressing. In a real-world situation, this is where you would be engaging key stakeholders to show progress and keep them engaged so they do not change the design ideas later on with their personal views instead of understanding who the user is.

The format of the meeting was

  1. Show our work
  2. First Impressions
  3. Audience Questions
  4. Presentation Questions
  5. Audience Suggestions

The feedback I received and applied to the last prototype was to distinguish between benefits and goals, understand the purpose clearly and a separate specialist from the selection list. My teacher also said it was too simplistic. My learnings here was to understand more what he meant by simplistic UI design. I will explain this further in my conclusion.

In-Vision Prototype

As you can see in this quick demonstration of the last prototype, my goal was for the user to be able to go to a spot where they can continue growing and practising meditation and other forms of spiritual practices, keep track of their progress because in the research they demonstrated that there were too many distractions in life and also be able to consult with a professional.

This is a low-mid fidelity prototype which means that the detail is very basic, it is just illustrating the concept more than the context.

Back to the problem statement!

I finally came up with the correct wording of my problem statement, this came to me the night before I had to submit and present my work!

Final Problem statement!

Presentation, the big day!

So the big day came, and I was the first one on the list. I am the most nervous when doing public speaking, this for me is a growth task but what I love about Ironhack is their motto, fail fast learn fast and I love how really encourage everyone to present and I actually felt a little better than the first time presenting. I think it comes with practice!

My Takeaways!

My key learnings are to improve my UI experience interface designs! This is in relation to the simplistic design my teacher gave me feedback on. Makes perfect sense now! I will be focusing more on other websites that were suggested by my teacher to really enhance the user experience on the interface. This is my goal for this week. Even though I am not entirely happy with my final result, I am happy because I know I have a lot to learn and grow and that is my focus for 2019 and this Bootcamp was the best decision I have made and I truly feel like I am on my way to becoming the best UX/UI designer I can be!

Valeria Benitez

Written by

UX/UI design student @ IronHack Barcelona