UIX Feed is an open study at your own pace platform which has a structured curriculum, allows users to communicate with peers through forums and test their own knowledge by taking quizzes. I used mobile as primary device, as it serves the purpose of gaining information at any time and place. I also used gamification principles which will serve the purpose of reducing the number of users who leave any educational session midway.
This individual project work was a part of SI 582- Introduction to Interaction Design course.
User interaction and experience community lacks a basic and a structured knowledge gathering platform in order to get introduced to the field.
I interviewed 3 people from user experience community in order to understand what drove them to explore UX field, how did they get introduced to the field and how is their learning curve as of today. The people I interviewed were not directly my user base, but people who had already gone through the learning phase.
Here are some of the insights
“I used internet resources. I spent a week or so googling and trying to figure out what HCI/ UX/UI - all these terms meant - I found medium articles extremely informative. I would simultaneously try to apply what I’d learned, at work. I signed up for design bootcamps, coursera courses, etc.”
- Interviewee 1
“It was mostly was self study and learning through experience. During my final year project I was exposed to more content. But during that time also I relied alot on medium articles, youtube videos and basically just googling stuff.”
- Interviewee 2
“ I had a couple of friends studying
HCI, It sounded like Artificial neural networks. I think I tried lookin up HCI then. My company would receive UI designs from a design firm, and hand these over to me. I would go ahead the build this blueprint. Eventually I’d be asked to tweak some features to suit new requirements. This got me wondering - how does the other design firm decide how this screen would look?”
- Interviewee 3
In order to explore various solutions which could address the problem, I worked on storyboarding 8 solutions.
I received positive feedback from my 582 course peers. They helped me narrow down my solutions by suggesting an alternative approach or by merging 2 solutions.
My target users are the people who are trying to enter the field of User Interface and Experience (UIX). The creation of personas helped me understand the requirements I needed to solve in my design solution such as my users would vary in age and the educational background. My main aim was to cater to the users who are just getting introduced to the field. I also created an anti persona. The anti persona comprised of users who are already familiar with the field of user experience and interaction.
I applied Participatory Design approach for the solution. “Participatory design deals with tacit knowledge which is difficult to accumulate.” Participatory design helps build solutions for the people, by the people. Everyone has their own process of accumulating new knowledge, be it people newly entering the UIX community or user trying to learn a new instrument. The process followed by people who dive into other studies can be used as a solution for the new people in the user experience community.
I presented some of the ideas I was inclined to, to my course peers. I received various feedbacks on the feasibility of the approach to the actual goal it was accomplishing. We brainstormed on various ideas which helped me to narrow down on a few design approaches. Design Approach 1 turned out to be the best choice. One of my peer pointed out that the users who will be joining the platform would not be knowing what is the best method for them to learn a new topic. Hence, the need for a structured curriculum comes into the picture. One other concern mentioned during the brainstorming session was the lack of learning material at user’s own pace. When users prefer to learn on their own pace, most of the times they discontinue using the system. Hence, gamification principles of rewards, points, and badges was implemented to keep the user engaged.
The users who will be joining the platform would not be knowing what is the best method for them to learn a new topic. Hence, the need for a structured curriculum comes into the picture. Another major point this solution covers is that it provides the user with reliable material to learn from.
Peer to peer interaction through forums
Peer to peer interaction is one of the functionality implemented in this platform. It is easier for the users to talk to their peers about the problems they are facing with the education material.
The platform lacks the criteria to learn at your own pace as more focus is given on keeping the user engaged with the platform most of the days. When users prefer to learn on their own pace, most of the times they discontinue using the system. Hence, gamification principles of rewards, points, and badges will be used to keep the user engaged.
Testing your knowledge through quiz
The solution will allow the users to test out their knowledge by taking quizzes.
I made the use of Paper prototypes in order to understand whether the design solution I had envisioned was working or not. It helped me understand how the users would use the application. I conducted usability tests using my paper prototype, by giving users. I realized that people are willing to give honest opinions when the prototype is not polished. During the usability tests I got to know what my solution was missing and whether users were facing problem traversing.
High fidelity prototype helped me understand the detailed interactions to focus on. After getting feedbacks for my paper prototypes I implemented some changes in my high fidelity prototype. It was difficult for the users to navigate from any screen to the dashboard. Hence, I added a Menu button on the top left corner which contained - dashboard, achievements, settings and bookmark functions. I had to redesign my forum section after I realized that I could not implement the same design structure in the Hi-fi prototype.
High fidelity prototype
I believe that this platform would help the users to get a partial idea of what the User Interaction and Experience field is. This information could be further used in their professional work or as a base for their further education. One key feature of this platform is a forum which encourages users to be social and engage the help of the community. It helps them have a sense of community. I look at my solution as an icebreaker for people who want to get introduced to a new field.