Looking Back on UX Design Class
What I learned while doing the project for class is that the process is quite similar to developing a system. Personally, I don’t really have much experience in developing systems or websites, but I do have a small background on it because we have taken up a class called Systems Analysis and Design (SAD) in my junior year as MIS majors. For our project in that class, we were tasked to find a client that is in need of a system. In our SAD class, we learned about the process and it is quite similar to the process of product design. However, SAD is more technical, and product design is more about focusing on the interface and how it interacts with the user.
In SAD, we learned about the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and its parts are namely, planning, analysis, designing, developing, testing and maintenance. On the other hand, UX Research has three stages namely, discovery, planning and development. Even though there are more phases in SAD, they are still similar some way or another.
For the project, what I liked the most is getting insights from fellow students, who are the main end users of the online evaluations. Seeing their responses makes me want to agree or disagree with their statements. I would mostly agree to what they’re saying because their responses are also the same sentiments that I have towards the product. It was fun knowing what other people think about the online evaluations. What I hate most about the process that we did is also getting responses from people, since we really had to spread the online survey that we had to get comments from students. It was hard to get diversity of answers since we were all MIS in our group. We hardly know people outside from our course, except for immediate friends who are not from MIS. As much as possible, we wanted to get responses that came from different schools and courses, since we know that having answers from just MIS majors would just result to bias, since we were more techy than other students.
I like how all the concepts tackled in class are relevant to the project and to UX design in general. However, since I’m really shy, I had a hard time in the usability testing part. I find it difficult to approach people and facilitate the testing, especially with people I don’t know. For instance, from the activity weeks ago that we did in class, I asked my groupmates to facilitate the testing or discussions with other people, while I take down notes. But t’s not that I hate the process, it’s just that I have to adjust accordingly, especially if I want to pursue a career in UX design in the future.
On the other hand, I liked designing or drawing wireframes. Since I am more of a visual person and I am better off with visual elements, I like seeing s skeleton or the gist of the idea of the design or layout of the product. Even though it requires a lot of time and energy and it’s very tedious to make a lot of wireframes depending on the complexity of the product, I still like that part of the process. There are just some “getting used to” that I have to work on, especially if I’m also doing design for our thesis project.
For our group dynamics, I believe that we were a balanced team. Even though all of us were all MIS majors, we were still diversed in our skillsets. Sasa has experience in real life product design as per her internship experience. Ram has experience in research and even though he is often quiet, he listens to the group discussins and he’s always willing to present or speak. Kurt has experience in developing systems, also from his internship and freelance work experience. Lastly, I have experience in designing, whether for org work or academic purposes. Nonetheless, we all had experience in Systems Analysis and Design so we, more or less, have a background on systems or web perspectives. Based from our skillsets, Sasa took on the Product Management role, Ram as User Research, and Kurt and I for Interaction Design, to form a UX design team.
We also communicate well. Since all of us are MIS majors, we almost have the same set of requirements. We can easily adjust from our schedules, such as thesis defenses or exams for our major subjects. Everyone was fully cooperating, like what I mentioned, even though we have different skillsets, we still tried to help each other while in the process. We didn’t have any misunderstandings along the way and we didn’t encounter any major problems during the timeframe of the first iteration to the final.
Lastly, we relate to each other. We all had an similar experience in product design, but in a more technical manner. There’s just something about being at the same wavelength of understanding as the other person, especially if you’re on the same course. For instance, some of the concepts learned in UX, we were already familiar with, such as wireframes, web design, etc. We immediately understood each other and it’s quite a good feeling. Also, since we took up SAD class, part of it is studying how to make wireframes or user interfaces for the system that we were doing for a client, as part of our year-long project. However, it was just a week or two worth of lessons. But more or less, we had an idea on what UX or UI is prior to UX design class. As part of a requirement for the said class, we also attended a talk involving UX design, conducted by former MIS students, how called Paperclip Design Co.
Overall, I was comfortable with my groupmates. We had good group dynamics and we work well together as a team.
I think that I can apply, not just the project, but overall what I’ve learned in UX. For example, in one of the homeworks before, the design problem assignment, I chose something like a simple pet peeve of mine, such as the design flaw of the Red Brick Road. In that situation, I can already relate the UX process in everyday life.
Also, as MIS majors, we will more or less encounter UX design in our field of expertise. However, it still depends on what specialization or application we want to pursue when we graduate. But personally, as an MIS major who’s interested in design, I want to take on te design aspect of MIS or CS, which I can apply my knowledge in UX design. It is also one of the reasons of wanting to take ITE121 in the first place. In our SAD class before, we were also taught little bit about UX design, since it involves designing the interface of the system. I can also say that I am thankful for the UX elective that I took because I can expand my knowledge and enhance my skills on the medium.
Since I have experience in designing (from org work and in my free time) and my knowledge from UX class, I was tasked to be the designer of my thesis group. Although being a graphic designer and UX designer wasn’t really what I expected to be all that similar, knowing both is an advantage since i can apply these in different fields. Some of the aspects of UX design that I will apply for our thesis are user stories, user flow and wireframes. At least for the rest of my college life, I can still go through the process and apply these knowledge on UX.
Hopefully in the future, I can get more knowledge on UX design. I would like to take crash courses or attend workshops or talks related to it and hopefully game more knowledge and skill on the field of UX design. Or if qualified enough, take or apply for a UX design related job.
If ever given the chance to do another redesign project, I would like to take the research phase more seriously, to know more about the different elements and concepts in doing UX design. For instance, we only got findings from key informants, such as the perspectives of the department chair, faculty and department secretaries, regarding the online evaluations, after we did wireframes. However, some of their answers were not exactly in sync with our proposed design and ideas. I believe that this part should be done in the discovery and planning stage since it is considered part of research. Research is important to designing because we must first fully understand what are we doing.
Also, I wish more people would have tested our prototype. In a next redesign project, I need not to be shy to ask people to test the product and ask them for their input. I need to go out of my comfort zones. Like what Ma’am Anj’s story before, she needed to out and really talk to people in order for the user experience to be tested.
Lastly, before doing another redesign project, I would like to refresh my knowledge on making prototypes and doing user flow diagrams. I would like to learn more about prototyping tools, such as Invision and Axure, because I believe that prototypes are important, especially for demonstrations and testing. However, the diagrams are still all quite confusing for me. I need to learn the difference of each, know what goes with each other and know what is the most appropriate for respective projects. Before doing a project, I want to make sure that I completely understand the flow of the product. Especially that I am tasked to be the designer for our thesis group, I want to brush up on my UX design skills. And also that I am interested in taking up a career in UX design.
Overall, I had fun in UX class and in doing the project. I believe that I can apply these skills in the future, not only hard skills, but also for soft skills, such as interacting with other people. Hoping for a bright future for UX design.