Introduction to the ‘Summer Project 2k15’

So, summer is here, and that means I have a lot more spare time on my hands. Because of this, i have decided to use my skills that I gained over the past two years at university to create a website for my portfolios. While on a superficial level this seems very straightforward, I am creating one in a way that would be appropriate to present to a client. This means I need to do more than just coding, or creating a website (which I’ve done already, as you can see on my website MockingBird Makeup), I must also do research, user testing, database organisation, and web accessibility testing, just to name a few.  I will use this blog to follow my learnings and reflect upon what I’ve done, and how I’ve improved my skills.
The website, surprise surprise, will be about Marvel Comics. While my previous assignment was about Marvel comics as well (which you can read about here), this one will be completed by myself, and has a different purpose. While the previous website – the assignment was about the Secret Wars event, this website has a different purpose – to introduce new users to marvel comics.
I recently listened to a podcast episode – ‘How to deliver a successful user experience’ by Talking Code, where Sarah Doody, a UX designer discussed user experience, the process of UX design (for both online content and mobile content), and storyboarding. The biggest thing she discussed throughout this podcast was the necessity of having a problem statement or a value proposition. This allows the UX desginer, and the whole team to focus on the problem and not get carried away with other aspects. For this reason the problem statement for the client (Marvel Comics) is that at the moment it is very overwhelming for new audiences to get involved in their comics. This website’s goal is to create a space that makes it easier for them to understand, and become involved with both the comics, and the community surrounding it.
I’ve already created the client statement, which is used to highlight this problem statement, so the next part of my process is to create a user persona. Luckly Sarah Doody also talks about this in the podcast. In all of my previous subjects, user personas have been emphasised as an effective way to identify users wants, needs and expectations. However, after listening to the podcast, I found out that there are many people within the industry that don’t appreciate them. This is because more often than not user personas are created without research – the UX Designer or the Information Architect just make them up based on their own personal usage, and research on other websites, much like what I did in my subjects. In this stage they are just representations of fake people, both stereotypical and not specific.
Sarah Doody suggests that this can be combatted by doing specific research, which can only be done via talking to people. This can be through market research, surveys and even though field research – when the UX designer sits and watches as users interact with their online (and physical) environment – where the user clicks, where they click first, why they go to a certain page, even what else they’re doing outside of the online environment, such as eating, listening to music etc.
Like I said above, I have already created the plan of attack. time frame and client brief, and so I am now up to the stage of investigating the audience and creating user personas. I definitely plan on using this new information gained from the podcast when creating my user persona. I am firstly planning on creating a survey, and from there I will hopefully be able to do some field research, and perhaps some interviews. I’ll see how I go, and definitely keep this blog updated as I do.

Weekly Wrap Up Week 12: And We’re Done!

In the words of Bugs Bunny, That’s all Folks!
Yep, that’s right, the semester has come to an end, and with that, my Weekly Wrap Up blogs will be too. I’ve learnt a lot this semester, with two very interesting subjects that have helped my figure out my passion for user experience. I’m very lucky that I’ve had such supportive teachers, and I can honestly say that what I’ve learnt this semester will help me in my future.

By far the most i’ve learnt (and been interested in) comes from Designing for the Web. Not only did i enhance my HTML and CSS skills (which i had learnt in preparation for this subject), I also learnt how to create an effective report for information architecture, as well as how to research  information architecture and the user’s experience of a website. I also had to create a website, for a client in a group, strengthening my teamwork skills. I also had to use my leadership skills as I was the Project Manager of the assignment. (If you want to hear more about this assignment, click here). Overall, it was a fantastic subject that I am lucky to have been able to take.

The other subject was Managing Digital information. As you have probably ready from my previous weekly wrap ups, I haven’t enjoyed this subject as much, but it is still undoubtedly useful in my future career – even if I don’t want to be a librarian or a curator, people will still need databases, and I am now able to create them, using industry standards, and all of the other knowledge that I gained from this subject.

Overall I’ve had a fantastic semester, and I’m looking forward to the next one. But what about the blog? Now that the semester is over, I won’t have much to write about! But don’t worry too much, now that I’m on uni break, I will have more time to write more journalistic articles, some of which will be featured on OuttaGum , as well as my summer project. What is my summer project? Well it’s something that I will use to occupy my time, and add to my portfolio. Unlike this series I will be writing as I go, rather than a weekly wrap up, thus it may be more sporadic. It will happen however, as it is something I am very passionate about and looking forward to. The first post can be found here.

Anyway, thanks for reading along, and I hope that you gained some insight onto what I learnt this semester. The weekly wrap ups will be back next semester, along with what I’ve written above, so see you in 4 months!