Who are we?
Before diving into the details I wanted to give a little bit of background on who’s behind this page. We are a group of Interaction Design students driven by problem-solving, community, and engaged learning (amongst other things).
What is a “Uxpedition”?
A Uxpedition is a term we came up within our design program. There is no defined definition in the dictionary (yet) but essentially it combines User Experience and Expedition into one word. Uxpeditions provide a way for students to connect classroom learning experience to different cities and cultures. This summer I had the amazing experience of leading a group of 6 students to Amsterdam on one of our first Uxpeditions in a different country. We traveled from Utah Valley University in Utah all the way to the Netherlands to Amsterdam.
One of the things we like to do on Uxpedition’s is getting in contact with local agencies and companies who focus on User Experience. We get the opportunity to learn more about what they do, participate in design challenges, and get feedback. On this trip, we were lucky to work with two different agencies. One focusing on UX research and in house testing, another was a whole digital agency that had a portion dedicated to UX design and research.
Happy Labs: The best place for quality UX Research
Our first site visit was with Happy Labs. This was really cool for our group to see an entire company devoted to User Experience testing to improve problems within a business. They offer options for Happy Labs to run the testing on their own or for the company to come into their office as well. Happy Labs really focuses on having a non-invasive testing experience so that they can get the best results. We were able to tour their office and participate in a design challenge which one of my peers will talk about in another article.
Osudio: An award-winning digital agency
Our second site visit was with Osudio. It was such a great learning experience for myself and other students. Osudio is a full-service digital agency, we were able to tour the building and learn about some previous case studies they had done with clients. One of my favorite parts of this visit was seeing empathy maps being used and involving clients in Sprints in the office. We also got to participate in an hour design challenge that was truly unique. Our group split into teams and we were presented with a real client and problem, along with some background. This problem was one Osudio had already solved for the client, but they wanted to see how we approached it with a storyboarding exercise in teams. You can read more about what we did on another student’s post here.
Tourists in the City
All of the student’s visiting had never been to the Netherlands. We had several days to explore the city, take photos for our AR postcards, and enjoy some really delicious food. We observed some strengths and weaknesses within the public transit system, stubbed a few toes on the cobblestone streets, and saw some astounding art at the museums (see Lauren’s post on the Van Gogh Museum).
UX Strat: Volunteers at the Conference
The initial main motivation for traveling so far from home was to attend and volunteer at the UX Strat Conference. Back in November of 2018, my professor asked me to be a team lead on this trip. I helped do the planning and preparation and spoke with Paul Bryan who coordinates and runs the entire conference. We got our roles and some background on what we would be doing before the conference started, as well as did a small run through before the main day. We had one day of workshops and then two days of speakers. I was able to stand in on some of the design workshops as well as listen to the speakers at the conference. There were definitely some trends happening as far as topics, and it was interesting to see how other companies were applying User Experience into their designs. Read more about our experience at UX Strat from another student here
This is just a small summary of the things we participated in during our Uxpedition to Amsterdam, to read more about our experiences read some of my group's posts linked below.
Cassidy Bouse is a Senior at Utah Valley University in the Web Design and Development program with an emphasis in Interaction Design. This article reflects her experience leading and planning the UXpedition to Amsterdam and some insights that were learned.