Figuring out how best to pitch my skills in the world of UX
User experience design is a user centered design process that attempts to understand everything that affect’s a user’s interaction with a product or service. These could be an app, a desktop interface or a physical product.
Who, what, when, where, why & how, a UX designer should be seeking to answer all of this questions and more.
Further to that, UX mastery video, ‘What the #$%@ is UX Design’ mentions that UX design is where the user & business needs overlap. There’s little point designing a product or service for a user if it doesn’t meet the business goals of the company you’re working for.
A great user experience can build a brand and it can excite the user.
This experience can start at the initial engagement. A great example would be Alfred Service. I suggest checking out their landing page and discovering what they do that way, but if you don’t have the time, then you can simply keep reading below.
Alfred Service is a laundry locker service based out of Canada’s most populous city, Toronto. Much like its local competitor Laundry Concierge and San Francisco’s Laundry Locker, Alfred Service provides an experience that is convenient, transparent and cost-effective for the user.
The design team behind this interface has really complimented the Alfred brand by using a common techniques used in both interface design and user-experience design, but how did they get here?
Two methods that are commonly used in the UX design process and are complimentary to each are user stories and personas.
The purpose of user stories are to help product teams understand the motivations and preferences of their customers so that they can design to match. UX Booth’s article, User Stories: A Foundation for UI Design say that a user story “At its core, describes something that the user wants to accomplish by using the software product.”
Although this isn’t necessarily a ‘new’ practice, it is a technique relevant with today’s UX design.
Creating these personas, really assisted our team not only wrap our heads around some of the usability questions we were asking, but it also helped our client understand and buy-in to the process.
Creating user stories
During my first project designing an e-learning platform targeting rural school students to teach them financial literacy, I was introduced to the technique of creating ‘user stories’
User stories are meant to be lightweight, so don’t spend too much time on them. Also, allow the user’s story to develop as you move through questions like.
“As a user I want to create a new account”
“As a user I want to track my progress through the lesson plans.”
An example of a user-story that our team may have used to create the e-learning platform is below, using a template I found at RomanPilcherconsulting.com
- Mary is 31, she has been a teacher for seven years at Bathurst primary school.
- She is socially active on the weekend and walks her dog every day.
- She is punctual, thorough and a bit of a perfectionist.
- Her current goal is to run some interesting Mathematical lessons with her year 3 students. Download the example template From this information, a design team may be able to make some assumptions on how Mary may come across their product, how she might use it and what may get her using it again.
By discussing how these personas would behave at each stage of engagement, the team was considering design from the user’s perspective.
So, what do I specialise in?
So where do I see myself fitting in? Melissa Perri, an industry leading product manager, UX designer & professional speaker on the topic, explains that a lot of UX designer’s are seeking her out to help them bridge the gap between UX design and product management.
In her blog post, Changing the Conversation about Product Management vs. UX, she explains that the gap between designers, clients and internal stakeholders is about open communication of all aspects of the project.
Having project managed design teams and understanding a lot of the creation process, I feel that my speciality here would be as a product manager. Previously, in design processes I have coordinated user-research & focus groups to seek out feedback from our intended audiences. I have managed client expectations and the scope of the project as well as timelines and budgets.