In what will be a further pursuit into UX Design I enrolled onto Aquent's UX Fundamentals course which I hoped would serve as an introduction into user experience design. The course was a free, part time course which covered the design process from beginning to end in a relatively basic fashion but gave students the opportunity to experience the design stages and produce work which would ultimately lead to a app prototype.
The first exercise was to conduct a series of research interviews for a travel app of our choosing. I went with Expedia, Sky Scanner as well as Blackberry travel as I felt that would be a diverse range of applications. We then had to get three users to use the app performing the task of booking a flight and observe and note down any good and bad points. I found this useful in determining what I should include, leave out or try differently.
The next assignment was to decided what we would spend the course working on - the choice was either a smartphone app or a website which would be used for either a flight booking app or website or a restaurant booking app or website. I chose a flight booking app and from there we had to conduct three research interviews choosing three apps or websites to gauge problems and benefits. After that had been completed we chose our persona and scenario.
The next stage was to look at creating wireframes for my app. The assignment required some wireframes created by either hand or using an application. I was overly and sickeningly keen to I did both so I could get a better idea of the process on both sides of the fence.
My planning stages of the app went through multiple iterations and I came up with different though processes at each stage as I discovered more about how the app was shaped through each process and so the final app prototype differs greatly from the initial sketches and wireframes. This was largely due to learning more and more as I researched and practiced what works and what did not work.
From there I took the sketches and worked them up in Balsamiq where I could further experiment with the wireframe process and make changes and amends as I saw fit.
For the site map exercise we were told to included a slew of additional content such as social media links, a jobs section, advertising opportunities a newsletter sign-up, privacy policies and terms of service in order to make the app or website feel more like a real world exercise.
From there we had to create a prototype using whatever application we desired. I opted to use XD which, at the time writing, is in beta so a little limited in what I could accomplish but I thought it would be useful to learn the application when it is in it’s infancy so I would be able to master what I could so subsequently I would be easily be able to add to my knowledge as the application matured.
The footer to the left evolved from a blue element to a off-white so as to highlight the navigation better. I initially wanted to frame the content of the app with blue above and below but ultimately the navigation just wasn’t obvious enough.
Finally we were asked to create a mockup of the app or website and subsequently undergo a series of usability tests - between 3-5 in order to get the most effective amount of feedback. Personally I made adjustments between each test which I am not sure was the correct procedure but I wanted to tinker with the app to get the best possible experience. This included changing the navigation footer elements for a clearer experience.