Understanding the UXD Process

First, what is UXD?

Going into this class, I had almost no knowledge nor experience in this field. I had already made a website for a project prior to this class, but that was it, and it was a mess.

Not sure what I was thinking when I made this

My preliminary understanding of UXD was that UXD was all about making your website or app look decent and easy to use. I don’t think my initial idea was too far off from reality, but I was definitely surprised at what went in to achieving that goal. UXD is indeed the process of designing a website or app’s interface, with the goal of making it attractive to the users, and allowing the users to efficiently achieve what they came to do. However, to achieve that, I had to do a lot more than just design.

  1. Designing user experience means understanding the user.

This is pretty straightforward and I thought it would just be a matter of putting myself in the shoes of the user. However, it really wasn’t. To understand our user, we had to look past our own biases, and really try to understand what the user will go through in our website. This meant having to make up multiple user personas to understand what kind of people we want to attract to our website, and how we can serve them. We also had to establish their goals when using our website because different people have different goals.

A whole week of the course was dedicated to finding ways to really understand our user. In the end, it made me realise that we have to treat our users as real people, because real people can be fickle. They can be turned off just by the color scheme of the website, or because they don’t wanna sign up for an account.

2. Do you want to design? Be prepared for criticism.

Feedback is an essential part of the design process. You can’t just just call it a day after testing it with your group mates. Input from someone outside the team is necessary to prevent any biases, and to offer different perspectives. you have to remember that the main point of all this is to please the user, and not yourself, so don’t be stubborn and don’t take criticism personally. Simple stuff, but my group and I spent a lot of time continuously making tweaks to the project.

Mockups — most difficult part for me. Lots of revision.

3. It’s all worth it in the end.

Really? Yes.

If you’ve ever spent countless of hours on a project and find yourself being nit-picky in the last few hours of working, or looking at the project again and again even after you’ve submitted it already, then you know exactly what I mean. It’s pride. It’s the sense of accomplishment. It’s knowing that the time you spent on it is not in vain because it turned out way better than expected. That’s something I experienced in almost all the deliverables in this course.

UXD is tough and demanding, but I’d be lying if I said that it was boring. I learned a lot of things, and it built my confidence in designing. It may have stressed me out for a while, but I think in the long run, it will cancel out that stress. Because now when I encounter a site map or a wireframe, I can say to myself, “ I can do that”.

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