Case Study – UX Design Course


University of the arts London
Course Tutor: Stefano Bellucci Sessa
Spring 2019

So why did I go on this course?
I was on gardening leave after leaving my last role with a view to going back to freelance. I was the product designer and creative lead at a software company. Heading back into creative agencies again, I had found that the language in the industry has changed little, job titles have changed, new buzz words are in play and product design processes seem to leading people towards a more agile way of working. None of this was alien to me as software houses use agile sprints all the time, I was used to that, but it the work we were doing was very specific and we often used our own processes and in house tools to achieve our goals.

There are a plethora of new tools out there and I was anxious to learn them, but which ones. There really doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong choice, an industry standard or preferred app. It also depends the company you are working for – I wanted answers.

It was time for a refresher, time to go back to school, time to brush up on a few skills, learn some new ones and confirm what I was already doing was actually the right thing or not.

User Experience encompasses all aspects of the end user’s interaction with the company, its services and its products” – Don Norman

Once we had been through all of our introductions we started to talk about what User Experience was and how it aligned with Customer Experience and Brand Experience. We were asked about our own brand experiences.

What is a brand experience that you love? – Mine would be Dualit
Apart from the fact that they toasters make bloody good toast. When a Dualit product goes wrong, helpful knowledgeable people on the end of a phone, or online will send you a spare part, quickly and amazingly cheaply. You can then easily replace that part with a normal Phillips screwdriver and you are back up and running again.

They are not part of the throwaway culture. They are quite the opposite and have been for many years. Let’s be honest, a Dualit toaster is not cheap but it will outlast four or five cheaper toasters that will end up in landfill.

Then there is are the aesthetics, Dualit products just look good, the toaster is a design classic and takes pride of place in any kitchen. This is all backed up top quality engineering and R&D. These are core values for the company which translate in to the products. All of which adds up to a love of the brand.

Design Thinking is making organisations think about how to move faster with iterative speed. Design Thinking cycles, Inspiration, Ideation and Implementation was something that I was certainly used to working in creative organisations. Having spent the previous five years working in software where agile sprints and iterative processes are common place, It was all feeling very familiar. With more and more creative organisations adopting product design processes of agile sprints, quick prototyping, testing and further iteration cycles. It was looking like adding UX to my already proven UI skills was the right thing for me to be doing.

It has to be said, when I first heard the term Double Diamond, it did make me think of beer ads from the 1970s – Works wonders apparently! (I have a very high retention of useless crap, it’s just the way I’m wired)

Our task:
Design an application to help London flatmates improve their recycling

Understanding your target audience was nothing new to me but User Conceptual Models if found to be fascinating. Plotting out empathy map elements in terms of what the user does, says, think and feel with Post-Its was really enlightening. Knowing how different users prefer to use or engage with different things, how they approach a task and where they are when they are doing it can only help you to make better decisions when creating your prototype or designing your page.

For the purpose of this exercise, within our group, we had wall session and came up a potential persona to work with. Obviously, in a real world scenario it would be a slightly different process.

The wall was split in to four sections: Sketch, Bio, Demographic. Behaviours, habits and Scenarios. Challenges and Frustrations and Needs and Goals. We hit it with the Post-Its!

User interviews & qualitative data
Even though our pool of users was quite small (only 15 people in the group) what was very clear was the lack of information available to everyone we interviewed. Everyone said that they felt that they little or no information easily available to them. What is recyclable and what isn’t. What do all the icons on packaging actually mean? What was also very clear was that was an appetite to recycle, people wanted to do the right thing.

Further research online showed that some supermarkets did have some initiatives in place, but most are not really doing enough. In the news feeds that week, Sainsbury had been called out by Greenpeace for not doing anywhere near enough and were ranked the lowest.

Research in to similar apps in the App Store at the time showed that some local authorities had created apps to let you know the your recycling collection was using a simple calendar. There where some food waste apps and a few games.

Intelligent pathways
Designing intelligent pathways with as little friction as possible and creating a hierarchy of needs so that the user can firstly perform a function and achieve their goal in a reliable manner that is is always achievable. We need to hold the users hand through the process ensuring that the product is usable and they get from us what they set out to achieve.

And lastly, to elevate them from just liking the product to loving it by adding a sprinkle of delightfulness. They will more likely share or recommend it to their peers if all of the above are coved off.

Wall sessions: groupings and patterns

Wall sessions: groupings and patterns

Workflow diagrams

Workflow diagrams

Initial set-up and interactive wireframe using Marvel

Initial set-up and interactive wireframe using Figma

First round of Feedback Figma’s commenting tools

Moving it on a little further: Comments taken in, plus a little more research to answer some of the questions raised

Next steps: I have some more interviews lined up to get some more feedback. I will continue the iterative process and then move on to colouring up the wireframes in a high fidelity prototype.