As part of ten24’s initiative for continued education, our UX/UI Developer, Erin Mooney, recently attended General Assembly’s course called User Experience (UX) Design in NYC! General Assembly offers courses taught by experts for individuals to further develop their skills in coding, design, data, and more. These courses usually have 15 to 20 students, but Erin’s had eight in the course, which allowed for more one-on-one attention and in-depth learning. Prior to attending, she was excited to expand her expertise and learn different tools to use for research plans and user-testing.

From February 25th to March 2nd, Erin spent each day learning and focusing on parts of the UX process, while working with her team on a UX design project of their choice. Erin and her team designed a wine application to help users select a wine based on their preferences - think of it as Pandora for wines! Specifically, they researched how people select new wines to try and if there are any pain-points in this process. Erin learned that the UX design process consists of these five steps:

  1. Discover and Research

  2. Synthesize Research and Strategy

  3. Placement and Layout

  4. Execution

  5. Usability Testing

First, “Discover and Research” is a critical step in learning more about the targeted audience. In this initial step, Erin and her team stated their hypothesis. Next, “Synthesize Research and Strategy” relates to the first step, so that the UX Designer knows how to approach the project. Erin’s team created a persona of a user for their wine app based on their research findings. Then, in the “Placement and Layout” stage, Erin’s team designed sketches and wireframes to plan out how the product will look to the end-user. In the “Execution” phase, this uncovers how well the functionality is to the end-user. So, Erin created a working prototype for their wine app. Lastly, “Usability Testing” is testing the prototype with users to ensure that the product is working to users’ needs. In Erin’s experience, the difficulty of this is making sure that participants felt comfortable and interacted as if they were in a normal situation. This is important so participants tell their user experience truthfully in order to provide helpful feedback. With all of these steps, Erin discovered that the UX design process is in an infinite loop, so each part can be tweaked depending on the feedback from end-users or any other issues along the way.

With this experience, Erin gained insight into the field of UX. She mentioned, “There are always things in research that will come up that you wouldn’t think of or realize.” Erin’s valuable new skills will benefit ten24’s team as we refine our user-testing and research process to better understand the user experience for our clients. She’s excited for this improved offering we have for ten24’s future!

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