Design Thinking à la Binarian

Bily Muhamad Fachri
Dec 1, 2018 · 5 min read

Well, hello fellas! This is the story (literally my first story on medium) about a little journey that matter a lot for my life.

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Presenting the ux process in Binar Showcase

The well-known startup which engaged in the field of technology skills, Binar Academy, was hold a program intended to educate people about technology. This year, three months started from September to November was the ninth batch of Binar Academy in Yogyakarta.

And lucky me, I joined to the program that was so coooool!

“What!? Cool? I don’t even know what Binar is. Hahaha!

Poor you! So do I, it was. Long before I decide to register as a Binar student (called as Binarian), I was informed by my senior in a project, she told me that Binar is a must for those who want to be part in a digital startup company.

Binar split the learning method into two part. First, Binarian will attend (on average ten times) the basic class. Basic class gives students fundamental materials, theoritical in class. Second, after all student have the basic knowledge (because Binar is open for all level), Binar involves the students in a real project. Every team has members which represents their own role. In my team, I was the one out of two UX designers.

The role of UX Designer isn’t just doing a magical thing to make some beautiful interfaces of application. More of it, UX Designer is planner, decision maker, problem solver, and the angel who give users every ease.

Design is a process. Design will never end. User-centered design process consist of five phases, i.e. Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. (find more about design thinking from Borrys Hasian.)

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Design thinking illustration by Interaction Design Foundation.

0. Kick-off Meeting

Design is the process before the development phase (in pre-development phase.) So, before designers do their work, it’s common to held a kick-off meeting (led by Project Manager) to find the red thread of User Needs, Business Goals, and Development Feasibility. In this meeting, designers also help PM to define problem from the larger scope into the smallest one, and then try to prioritize all the possible problem to be solved in development phase.

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Team D kick-off meeting in Mato Coffee

Binar give a challenge to solve disaster problem. Our idea is to create a platform for volunteer and organization so they can be matched each other. Volunteer get suggestion that most convenient with their skills, and organization get the volunteer as they needed.

1. Empathise

The first thing UX designers do is putting themselves in user’s shoes. UX designer must place user first instead of anyone. They have to give more attention of what user needs, the problem user faces, in which part user feel so bad when reach their goals, and so on. Something like what I said can be done by conducting user-research, such as interviewing user or spreading the questionaire over the internet.

Binar is a short-term project, something like doing user interview is way more uneffective. Therefore, there is another way to feel what user pains and find what user wants. Doing competitive research can be a solution. By doing that, designer can dig all of the user journey to reach their goal.

In this project, we do a research of the most similar applications such as indorelawan.org and read the volunteering document from Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB) to get more experience as real as possible.

2. Define

After we collect bunch of the user needs, it’s time to define the core of problem that needs to be tackled. The problem is usually presented as a problem-statement. And it’s widely agreed that a simpler problem-statement, the better.

In our case, the problem-statement is probably like this: “The volunteer candidate needs to know more about the job description and skill requirements of the event so they can prepare much better.”

Creating user persona can help the team to give a guidelines of who actually our target is.

3. Ideate

The kick-off meeting isn’t just one time meeting, it can be held for many times. Meeting all member of the team is important to gain more solutions. UX designers have more background knowledge about user than any other, so designers can lead by presenting the created human-centered problem-statement.

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Solution ideation

In basic class, Binar gave us the technique for defining problem which is called by Crazy8. This technique used only once, in the other occasions we use brainstorming often.

4. Prototype

Binar gave a short time to develop the project, it’s about two weeks (or two sprints.) Therefore, every week we have to present the current ideas or prototype to be revised then in the next iteration. Prototyping is started from creating the low-fidelity (lo-fi) wireframe. The lo-fi prototype is created based on flowchart which has been consulted with the developer team about the feasibility. Even for lo-fi, the designer must communicative with the developer team to ask them whether our design is feasible or not.

Binar Academy merge the role of UX and UI, so in this project, after creating the lo-fi, the UX designers also create the high-fidelity (hi-fi) prototype.

I use Whimsical to create UX stuffs like flowchart, etc. Balsamiq for lo-fi prototypes, and Figma for hi-fi.

Here is our high-fidelity prototype in Figma.

https://www.figma.com/file/RFJ7ownKoO68ouuJCuIcAUGe/Mobile-User?node-id=615%3A1979

5. Test

After all clear, then the task of UX is nearly done here. The last one thing is doing user testing. User testing can be done using sketch wireframe, lo-fi, or hi-fi prototype. Testing give the designer plenty insight about user to redefine the problem and find another alternative ideas.

Sum it Up

To sum up what i’ve talked above, design thinking is the iterative process, flexible and focused on collaboration between designers and users, with an emphasis on bringing ideas to life based on how real users think, feel and behave.

The five phases of design thinking process are:

  1. Empathising: Understanding the human needs involved.
  2. Defining: Re-framing and defining the problem in human-centric ways.
  3. Ideating: Creating many ideas in ideation sessions.
  4. Prototyping: Adopting a hands-on approach in prototyping.
  5. Testing: Developing a prototype/solution to the problem.

References:

  1. Borrys Hasian — Belajar UX (belajarux.com)
  2. Interaction Design Foundation (interaction-design.org)

Binar Academy

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