UXDI Week 2: 7 - 11 Sept 2015

So that was week 2. It didn’t feel like week 2, we’ve done so much that each time Andrew says something like ‘don’t worry about that now, we’ll cover it later, remember its only week 2’, I am shocked every time.

image of a pile of index cards on the train
Writing out index cards on the train

So as you can tell another busy week. We kicked off Project 2 on Monday. This one runs for 2 weeks so shouldn’t be quite the mad scramble of last week.

We started off by getting an understanding of the design process and how this relates to our brief; this project is a mini site for an e-commerce website. Most of the research has been done for us, so we have a good basis to work from.

We then looked at Information Architecture (IA) which is the name for sorting information and giving it meaning. To do this we created a card sort.

index cards laid out on a table in sets
A completed card sort

Basically we took 100 index cards and wrote down items of information on each, in my case groceries as I’m working on a food website, and then asked people to group the index cards together depending on the information on each. Once they had groups we asked the user to give each group a title. For instance a group of cards with ‘coffee’, ‘tea’ and ‘hot chocolate’ on might sit in a group called ‘Hot Drinks’.

Our first attempt, in groups, was with sweets - surprisingly difficult, but fun. It's easier when you can't eat your 'cards'.

sweets laid out on a table in sets
Card sorting with sweets

From this information we created site maps which show all the parts/pages of a website and show their relationships to each other in one diagram.

Then we started to look at Interaction Design (IXD) which takes the information from the site map and turns it into the navigation of the site, but is so much more than that - think of every interaction with a website you have - think buttons and carousels and sliders etc. I imagine we’ll be covering more of this as we go. If you want to see some amazing IXD check out Monument Valley. Its a game with the most amazing IXD as well as being beautiful.

Next we used a method called Design Studio to create ideas to solve a problem as a group. This was great fun - lots of sketching and stealing of ideas. You’re not really stealing as you are all working together to solve the problem and by doing this you end up with a better design.

screenshot of a task flow created in OmniGraffle
Learning OmniGraffle

And last but not least we then learnt how to use a software called OmniGraffle, which helps us to build site maps, user flows and wireframes in a way which should communicate our ideas in an easier to read format than our messy sketches.

a sketched wireframe
Starting to sketch wireframes

On top of this we had a guest speaker on Wednesday. Murat from Marvel App came to speak to us about setting up his own business and creating an app to help UX designers prototype their designs.

Not only was this interesting but insightful too - if we have a cool idea there is no reason why we have to go out there and work for someone else.

In other news Mollie and Tom were both away this week so Neej, another past student, was helping out. It’s so useful talking to them as they know exactly how hard it is, and can explain things in a different way from Andrew or Luis to help us understand.

And I’ve already worn out my first pen and had to swap to another one! If that’s one pen a week I’m going to have to get some more pens.

Commuting hasn’t been too bad this week, it helps that I’ve not had to stay late for anything. We worked out that I must be walking about 17 miles a week now, which is way more than I would have run (depending on my long Sunday run), so at least I’m still getting some exercise.

And my husband is learning way more about UX than he thought he would; good value for money - 2 for 1!

So another good week. I’m looking forward to really getting to grips with my design for Project 2. I wonder what we’ll learn next week.

[Originally posted on my creative blog - Wild Creations]