Nomadlist.com home page

#WeeklyUX : Lessons and Design

By Himvais
Originally published on my mailing list

Last week I started a new personal challenge to overcome the faults in #DailyUI challenge from dirbbble. You can find details about that here.
It’s been one week today and turns out, it’s not all that simple.

Nevertheless, I learned a lot in past one week. The most important lesson I learned was that there is no such thing as fast UX design. Even to propose any slightest change in an existing solution (website/app), you need to have a lot of inside information about the app, it’s audience & architecture of services. I have to make a lot of (false) assumptions in order to improve or change anything.

Another important thing I understood is that UX design is a lot more about doing research and proposing a better solution to things which are already being handled (and quite well with nomadlist), than designing a new minimal, floating & beautiful UI. I knew this to an extent before starting this exercise, so I proceeded with some caution. Here how it went out.


First thing first, Feedback is the amongst the core factor in any redesign process. Creating a full set of personas wasn’t an option in such a short time. I went ahead and showed the website to some of my friends and passively noted their reactions and possible confusion points. Now, nomadlist.com is an already tried, tested and successful website, so I’m in no position to criticise it. But I pointed out a few problems. One major problem was that nomadlist works in coordination with a bunch of other websites (all from levels like nomadtrips.co, nomadforum.io, hashtagnomads.com, nomadstories.com to name a few) and some of them follows a different design layout altogether. It’s like a whole ecosystem of services spanned over multiple websites (and a really cool Slack channel) but all the links were in the top level navigation of the website like normal navigation.

Nomadlist top navigation, links go everywhere mostly, to a different website.

Another point of confusion was “Login” as it forwarded to signup for a different service. Some users were confused about that. Rest of the problems were minor usability and UI issues which weren’t causing any direct impact but worth fixing while redesigning.

Filters in all their glory, Some users took extra time to understand the information after opening a location

I spent most of my 7 days time into figuring out the problems and finding an optimal solution to the problems without changing much. It was an never ending exercise. Nomadlist is already a well-made website which provide a great amount of controlling and filtering on search results. Most of the problems discovered during my analysis phase was related to the websites which were part of the nomad group but not the nomadlist.com itself. Time was running out and while I was busy sketching out the prototypes, it was the last day. So like a newbie designer I am, I started to directly design inside Sketch. I changed the core of the website and gave it a minimal look. Also figured a different way to apply filters. Here are the three screens I managed to finish.

Home Screen with a big search option, permanent side screen to provide navigation to all sites.
Full screen search with more natural tag based filters keep adding tags to finetune your search
Opening a search results is fullscreen with graphical presentation of data. Legends are clickable and takes to related sites (There is a missing back button)

Conclusion

UX design is way more vast and complex than simple UI designing. While creating one UI element every day will allow you to quickly create a UI element and get away with the implementations, A mindful redesign will take much longer time and complexity to accomplish. This was the first time and I will consider this as a personal failure in terms of both design and time management. But that’s not going to stop me from trying again with a better approach. Next I will be spending one-week understanding and enhancing the already awesome StumbleUpon. Hopes lessons from this week will help me get better.

A big thanks to levels.io for letting me use nomadlist.com as my first project.

Posting high-res pictures and rest of the designs on my Behance portfolio soon.

Please give your precious feedback on the design and #WeeklyUX. I’d love to hear what you guys think about this project.

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