Fourth week at IronHack and I’m feeling motivated, using the tools of UX more effectively and fully understanding the process is making me more confident with my work.
This week we have the project: Curated Event Microsite — I have been hired to design a ready-to-build website for a festival of my choice that will take place next year. My partner and I Delawit Assefa were excited to take on this project in a four-day sprint. We brainstormed and learned from each other, I’ve learned a lot from all of my classmates, working with others during the UX process is very crucial to get data, information and ideas you wouldn’t necessarily think of.
Starting with the discovery stage, we started by discovering our client — when thinking of an event to be designed, I narrowed it down to an Art Basel event. Art Basel is a global platform connecting collectors, galleries, and artists; Art Basel drives a force in supporting galleries as they nurture the careers of artists. Art Basel’s fairs stretch to even Hong Kong, but in this case we are focusing on Miami Beach, FL.
Lean UX Canvas
When starting the Discovery phase, I started with the Lean UX Canvas. During this process you use this as a way to stay on track and narrow down what’s important for now. What is the business problem, what outcomes do you want from your business? Who are your users, and what will they benefit from this? Any good design stems from making a user/customer feel good about what they’re using, the user is everything.
Competitive Comparison Chart
Using the competitive comparison chart, a UX tool, I identified the different events that have already been done and successful. I grouped them into categories taking every little detail of services they provide that contributed to make them the event they are today. I made sure to research my competitors, with secondary research on competitors in the industry, you can see what kind of leverage you have over others. Secondary research is a good way to see whats missing in the industry, what was already done, and if theres any room for opportunity.
I incorporated a wide range of competitors to get a better understanding of the festival industry: Basel House and Miami Art Mob were local events for local artists and vendors. Scope and Faena Festival were more on the fine arts side of events thrown during Art Basel and Get Lost was strictly a music festival. It’s OK to have your competitor list very broad, you can’t be afraid to find an opportunity, keep your research open.
Market Positioning Chart
Then, I went on to a Market Positioning Chart to map out the competitors, visualize areas of opportunity, the knowledge gaps and scope out the competition. They are compared based on their global or local presence and if they were music or art based.
Blue ocean or area of opportunity that was discovered through my map was an event that is locally based and consists of both musical performances and visual art.
I realized how big the area of opportunity in this step can guide you through the rest of your process, this tool helps you immensely onto you to your next step and really finding out what you need to be researching.
Quantitative Data: Survey
I collect Quantitative data by asking questions in a way people of all platforms and demographics can reach, with this in mind, I conduct surveys with 12 questions. I usually use social media platforms, and Reddit forms to post my surveys, I got 50 responses in 24 hours:
- 50% reported that their favorite events involved music, wether it was a music festival or a live performance.
- 60% preferred to save their tickets as e-tickets.
- 68% said that disorganization and bad event layout would lead them away from going to that event again.
- 34% go to the events website to look for more information
- 30% went to a fashion related event in the past two years.
Qualitative Data: Interviews
I had interviewed 5 people for qualitative data. I use the same questions for the survey but change the words in a way where I can get more emotion out of them. The quotes I collect from my interviews help me immensely, my users are my inspiration. The conversations were centered around their experiences with events. We based the questions on how users find information, bad experiences at events and pain points. Many of the interviewees had issues with similar aspects of live events:
“I really can’t do big crowds, I wish there were more small performances but I usually don’t know how to find it.”
“I try to look at social media or ask my friends to find new events, but sometimes people don’t have similar interests as I do.”
“One main thing for me during a festival is honestly just not being bored, the festival really has to have things for me to do while waiting for others to perform.”
When interviewing and running into multiple wicked problems, you have to go deeper into your research. Having a wicked problem is a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are difficult to recognize. For example: parking or traffic, we can find certain solutions to alleviate the pain points, but we can’t fully solve these issues — make sure to know a wicked problem when you see one.
Getting into the Define stage, I organized the data from the interviews and the survey onto an Affinity map in Miro. To fully organize my research from my user interviews in UX we use an Affinity Map, this is a good way to keep everything organized and see what information has that rich data to create our main themes that we need in order to fully come up with the best solution.
I’ve personally come so far with Affinity Mapping, sometimes I look back at what I did earlier in the cohort and how I utilized this tool before and I’m happy with my improvement.
Main Themes that I discovered on my Affinity Map: finding event information, and pain points. Pain points are crucial to narrow down, this is a knowledge gap that boosts an opportunity.
Breaking down major problems like in this case: information and pain points. You can going into sub categories, to bring off an overload of information and find patterns throughout the research. Since we’ve had a lot of different information from people, I learned to never skip over anything you feel isn’t important at that time. Always include everything you’ve gathered on your Affinity Map, just try to find a pattern or category it can reside in. It can be the reason you have an “AHA” moment.
Value Proposition Canvas: Customer Profile
When focusing into the customer side, we use a Value Proposition Canvas. I used Stratagyzer’s Value Proposition Canvas to identify customer jobs, pains and gains. When looking at the customers job to be done on the canvas we found that being entertained and enjoying time was tying into the canvas on all areas (which is both emotional and social). I’ve learned to always include the emotional side of the user in this canvas, sure get technical but your main goal is to go into your users personally. In pains and gains they both shared the same emotional and social issues to work on and brought to light potential opportunity. Which is the main goal in UX and of this Canvas — know your user!
User personas are a fictional representation of your customer. As a UX designer, you’ll start the design process by conducting user research — building empathy and identifying exactly what they need from the product you’re designing.
User Journey Map
To get more in depth with the user’s profile, you use a User journey map. This is a visualization of an individual’s relationships with a product/brand over time and across different stages. Here I used before, during and after the event.
The low points are circled and are referred to as “opportunities”, this is when the user completes a task and experiences a low point that UXers can further research to solve, think of anything that can go wrong! We want the smoothest possible experience for the user and seeing where the pain points can be solved, we can get a step closer.
As you can see in my map, the pain points that the user experiences, like bad traffic and finding parking, are wicked problems. Even though we can solve small parts of a wicked problem to alleviate there’s nothing we can to make these problems disappear as a whole.
The main pain points identified in the Journey Map:
- Planning with friends.
- Not reliable information about participants causing them to be missed.
- Transportation, Traffic, Parking.
Opportunities for these pain points:
- Provide a way for users to organize a plan with friends
- Provide users with a single, organized itinerary
- Offer external information on those participating in the event
Based on the opportunities identified, my partner and I brainstormed two problem statements:
Then, with problem statements, I turned them into three How Might We (HMW) statements to make it easier during brainstorming to narrow down those problem statements:
- How Might We…give our users the most organized and efficient way to plan their event with their friends
- HMW… help our users avoid confusion about the event and provide them with all needed information
- HMW…help the users connect with local artists and brands that they are interested in
When getting to the ideation stage and start brainstorming, it’s important to bring others into the process. Key words that I wouldn’t think of, my classmate can put it into perspective, something I may feel is not important at first, someone can add importance to. It’s also one of the parts I look forward to, Delawit Assefa, Dave Ostergren, Sebastian Benitez, and I brainstormed using 3 minute time-boxes for each HMW statement.
After the brainstorming session, we went through the each of the HMWs, talked over the ideas that could be a part of the solution and made the ones we felt most crucial and turned them from stickies to stars. This also really prepped us for our MoSCoW Method.
The MoSCoW method is a prioritization technique used to reach a common understanding the importance of requiring it, potentially having it, and what you won’t have. This is a great way to rank the features from highest to lowest priority. The chart categorizes the ideas from brainstorming into Must haves, Should Haves, Could, Haves, and Won’t Haves.
The Must haves are features of the product that will be a part of the Minimum Viable Product. Now that we found a gateway to our MVP, we can go to the customers side of the Value Proposition Canvas with our feature:
Value Proposition Canvas: Customer profile with feature
The pink stickies are made with the must have features from the MoSCoW Method and flow with the other side of the Canvas (customer side without a feature). You should look at the other side of the canvas you previously made without the feature before going into this canvas.
Minimum Viable Product
The minimum viable product focuses on the value of the product, it helps narrow down and understand what the user needs.
This MVP started with the event as a whole and what we are focusing on. This MVP will help us stand out from our competitors that participate in Art Basel in Miami:
The second MVP includes the key distinguishing features.
Which means our event will include on the app as a feature:
- Looking through the participating artists profiles and save them
- Create their own personal itineraries
- Share their itineraries with friends
Value Proposition Statement
Site maps help with content strategy and information architecture. A UX sitemap is a hierarchical diagram of a website or application, it shows how pages are prioritized, linked, and labeled. This shows the task flow before the user flow. Testing the the taxonomy and placement of information in the users experience is an important part of the UX Process.
You need to think of the user when developing the task flow, you don’t want people going back and forth not understanding page names, this would make a user frustrated. The site map preps you for your user flow.
When a user completes a set of tasks, they use the happy path. A happy path shows a flow without any error conditions. You can see what the user would do to see about the event performers and vendors, read about them, save them onto an itinerary and send to their friends.
I conducted a usability testing with 5 users on the low-fi using Maze, I realized how much it confused the users. The screens averaged a 50% misclick rate, so it showed me exactly what wasn’t needed to provide a better Mid-Fi Prototype.
The Mid-fi had a lower mis click rate of 15% from the lo-fi. Most of the confusion occurred on the likes and itinerary page as you can see with the +, this made me focus on these screens for my hi-fi to provide the smoothest path for users.
Branding makes a memorable impression on users. It is a way of distinguishing yourself from the competitors and clarifying not only what it is you offer, but also what feeling you want to give off to your users. Branding can even lead you to be the better choice, making a memorable brand humanizes the brand.
The brand attributes for my event app:
Brand attributes work as a way to not get off track when making your mood board and just remind yourself to keep in mind what mood you want to give off as a brand.
To reflect the brand attributes and establish your theme you start with a mood board. The mood board is fun and inventive, and what I learned is to not get too carried away, stay on track with your brand attributes. Write them down next to you keep them in mind, really study those key words.
After the mood board is made you conduct desirability testing, ask users — what do you feel when you look at my mood board? It is important to ask users what they feel, you can be looking at the same picture and feel different feelings. You can look at a color and feel a way your users don’t, you are not your user! Get to know your user even after your research stage, there’s always room to learn more.
After conducting some desirability testing for this mood board, testers used words like artsy, creative, relaxed, light, good energy, minimalistic, organized, clean and good vibes. Ask yourself: does this line up with my brand attributes?
Style tiles are a design deliverable that references website interface elements through font, color, and style. At Iron Hack we spent a full two days speaking specifically on colors, typography, and even iconography. Interface elements that contribute to representing the visual side of your brand should be readily available on your style tile.
After fully understanding what’s going into the UI Design in my project by creating moods and interface direction, we can go into our hi-fi.
The app will generate an itinerary with performance/ show times and the user will be able to share their likes and itinerary with friends. Which can even solve for the beginning pain point, planning with friends.
Success and Failure Metrics
We will know if the feature on the microsite is a success through these metrics:
- Users save artist profiles and create their own personal itineraries.
- There is less confusion and frustration around planning for the event with friends.
- Users use the microsite to discover and explore artists/ brands
- The microsite is used after the event to refer back to saved artist profiles and buy from local artists/ vendors.
- User does not feel like they missed out on anything and got the ability to plan accordingly.
And we will know if the feature fails if:
- Users don’t utilize the artist profiles or personal itineraries.
- Low turnout for the event.
- The microsite isn’t used after the event.
- Users show signs of confusion or don’t get the information they need.
It’s always challenging finishing these projects within the sprints we have, but if I had more time, I would’ve went deeper into competitive research. Actually, now that I even write this and went over my competitive analysis, I already see what I would do different next time. There’s always room for improving and opportunities to get your skill set down to utilize all these tools UX gives to design.
- Set up a sign up for text notifications option
- Account creation feature
- Google Maps integration
- Partner with Uber/Lyft to regulate traffic and ride drop off/ pick up
Test, test, test. Test ideas to validate assumption.
Communicate through visual design.
Solving for all problems isn’t always viable.
and as always… You are not the user!
Connect with me on LinkedIn, I would love to know what you think :)