UXD Article

Major Project Description:

To create a website that helps users in maintaining their hair, suggesting the latest trends and which hairstyle will suit them as per their body & face type. This website only covers males’ styles and their hair issues.

My website will include the following features:

  1. My website will help users in finding a suitable hairstyle that will look visually appealing and give them suggestions for the same.
  2. The website will help users in maintaining their hair health. It will contain the context, that is, blogs & articles about DIY hair products, for users who cannot afford to buy expensive hair care online.
  3. My website will contain a shopping page, where they can find and buy hair products as per their hair type, for example, conditioning for dry and fussy hair.
  4. The website will also cover content on almost all the hairstyles that have been seen throughout history. It will also cover the following topics like which hairstyles are trending and which are obsolete etc.

User Experience Design Research:

UX (user experience) design is the process of designing products, systems, or services with the user in mind. It involves understanding the needs, wants, and limitations of the users and creating solutions that are easy to use, efficient, and satisfying. My website’s success completely depends on user satisfaction, hence conducting usability testing will be an important part of my research.

UX design for websites involves understanding the goals and needs of the website’s users and creating a design that makes it easy for them to find and access the information they need. This includes things like creating a clear navigation structure, designing layouts that are easy to read and scan, and optimizing the website for different devices and screen sizes.

For my major project, I will keep in mind the following aspects for the user experience research:

  1. I will be conducting user research to understand the target audience and their goals for using the website. For example, young adults from age 25-30 who have recently started to see the decline of hair on their scalps, people who are looking to revamp and change their entire look, and users who have less experience in styling, etc.
  2. Then, I will be creating wireframes and prototypes to test and iterate on different design concepts.
  3. I will ensure that the website has a clear and consistent hierarchy of information, making it easy for users to find what they’re looking for
  4. I will try optimizing the website for different devices and screen sizes so that it is usable and accessible for a wide range of users
  5. Incorporating features such as search and filtering, to make it easy for users to find specific information
  6. I want to make sure that the website is easy to use and has a natural flow, with a clear call-to-action for the user.

The UX Design Process:

My UX design process will typically involve several steps, which can include:

  1. Research: This step involves conducting user research to understand the target audience, their goals and pain points, and what they expect from the product or website. Research methods can include surveys, interviews, usability testing, and data analysis.
  2. Planning: Based on the research findings, the next step is to create a plan for the design of the product or website. This can include creating user personas, outlining the information architecture, and defining the overall layout and functionality of the website.
  3. Design: In this step, the designer creates wireframes and prototypes of the website or product, testing and iterating on different concepts until a final design is reached.
  4. Testing: Before the product or website is launched, it is important to conduct user testing to ensure that the design meets the needs of its users. This can include usability testing, A/B testing, and other types of testing to gather feedback and make any necessary improvements.
  5. Launch and Maintenance: The product or website is then launched, and ongoing maintenance and optimization are performed to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of its users. This can include tracking analytics, gathering user feedback, and making updates and changes as needed.

 

Conducting the Double Diamond Research Method:

For my major project, I will be selecting the Doble Diamond Research model. Double Diamond is a model for the design process, created by the British Design Council, that outlines the four stages of the design process: Discover, Define, Develop, and Deliver. It will help me in structuring the research process.

  1. Discover: This is the first phase of the process, where I will conduct user research to understand the problem and the needs of the user. This includes things like conducting user interviews, surveys, and ethnographic research.
  2. Define: In this phase, I will take the information gathered in the discover phase and uses it to define the problem and create a design brief. This includes identifying the user needs and creating personas.
  3. Develop: In this phase, the team creates multiple solutions and prototypes to solve the problem defined in the previous phase. The solutions are then tested and evaluated with the users.
  4. Deliver: In the final phase, the best solution is chosen and refined, and then delivered to the end-user. The team also plans for the maintenance and future improvements of the product or service.
Reference: https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/our-work/skills-learning/tools-frameworks/framework-for-innovation-design-councils-evolved-double-diamond/

The Double Diamond is a simple, yet effective way to structure the design process and will help in ensuring that I am taking a user-centered approach to problem-solving. It emphasizes the importance of research and iteration and will encourage me to take a holistic approach to problem-solving, by taking into account the user’s needs, business goals, and technical constraints.

This is not a linear process as the arrows on the diagram show. Many of the organisations we support learn something more about the underlying problems which can send them back to the beginning. Making and testing very early-stage ideas can be part of discovery. And in an ever-changing and digital world, no idea is ever ‘finished’. We are constantly getting feedback on how products and services are working and iteratively improving them.

Reference: https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/our-work/skills-learning/tools-frameworks/framework-for-innovation-design-councils-evolved-double-diamond/

Discover:

The discover phase of UX research is the initial stage of the research process where the goals, objectives, and target audience for a product or service are identified. It involves a variety of research methods, such as user interviews, and creating user personas, to gather information about the users, their needs, and their pain points. The goal of this phase is to gain a deep understanding of the users and the problem space, in order to inform the design and development of the product or service.

User persona:

A user persona is a fictional representation of a specific user or group of users that a product or website is designed for. User personas are based on research and data about the target audience, and are used to help designers and developers understand the needs, wants, and behaviors of the users they are designing for. As mentioned before some of my target audience is young adults from age 25-30 who have recently started to see the decline of hair on their scalps, people who are looking to revamp and change their entire look, and users who have less experience in styling, etc.

Creating the user personas showed below, typically involved the following steps:

  1. Conduct user research: Gather data on the target audience and the market reach.
  2. Analyze the data: Look for patterns and trends in the data, and identify common characteristics and behaviors among the users.
  3. Create the personas: Use the data to create detailed profiles of the users, including information such as their demographics, goals, pain points, and behaviors.
  4. Give the personas a name and a face: Give the personas a name, age, occupation and a photo so it’s easy to remember and relate to them.
  5. Use the personas: Use the personas throughout the design process to help guide design decisions and ensure that the product or website is meeting the needs of the target audience.

It’s important to keep in mind that a user persona is a representation of the user, not a real person and it helps to keep the team aligned and focused on the user’s needs and goals. Kindly find the attached PDF below to check out my created user personas.

User personas PDF link

Define:

This phase builds on the insights and knowledge gained during the discovery phase and is focused on defining the problem and opportunity space more clearly. This phase involves analyzing and synthesizing the data collected during the discovery phase and using it to identify key user needs and pain points, as well as potential solutions to address them. The definition phase also includes creating user journeys, empathy maps and how might we statement to represent the target users and their goals and behaviours. The output of this phase is a set of design requirements and a design brief, that will help in the development of the product or service.

Empathy Map

How Might We statement:

As per Chris’ workshop, “How might we” (HMW) is a design thinking tool that is often used during the discovery and definition phases of UX research. It is a way to frame a problem or opportunity in a way that encourages open-ended and creative thinking.

The HMW statement is a question, starting with the phrase “How might we…”, that is meant to inspire new ideas and solutions. It is a way to reframe a problem or opportunity as a challenge to be solved, rather than a fixed constraint. The question should be open-ended, to allow for a wide range of potential solutions.

For my website, which contains an e-commerce subpage, I might identify a problem that customers are having trouble finding products on the site. Using the HMW statement, I will reframe the problem as “How might we make it easier for customers to find their desired hair-products on our website?”. This question can inspire a wide range of potential solutions, such as improving the site’s search functionality, creating a more intuitive navigation, or providing more detailed product information. HMW statement can be used in different ways like, to generate potential solutions, to identify and prioritize research questions.

Check out the first draft of HMW statements that I came up with:

HMW statement

Empathy Maps:

Empathy maps are a tool used in UX research to help understand the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of users. They are a visual representation of a user’s perspective and are used to gain a deeper understanding of the user’s needs, pain points, and motivations.

My empathy maps will typically include the following elements:

  1. Thoughts: What is the user thinking?
  2. Feelings: What emotions is the user experiencing?
  3. Actions: What is the user doing?
  4. Quotes: What are some direct quotes from the user?
  5. Pains: What are the user’s pain points?
  6. Gains: What are the user’s goals and motivations?

Empathy maps can be created for different types of users, such as customers, employees, or stakeholders, and can be used to identify patterns and common themes across different user groups.

Develop:

In this phase, I will design, create, and test potential solutions to address the user’s needs and pain points identified in the previous phases. It will typically involve the following steps:

  1. Design: I will create wireframes, mockups, or prototypes of the potential solutions, using the design requirements and user personas developed in the definition phase as a guide.
  2. Usability testing: Then I will conduct usability testing to evaluate the effectiveness of the designs and identify any issues or areas for improvement. This typically involves recruiting users to interact with the designs and providing feedback on their experience.
  3. Iteration: I will review the feedback from the usability testing and makes any necessary revisions to the designs. This process is repeated as needed until the team is satisfied with the designs.
  4. Implementation: The final designs are then implemented and integrated into the product or service.

The goal of this phase is to create a design that meets the user’s needs and addresses their pain points. It is important to note that the development phase is an ongoing and iterative process, it should be done repeatedly throughout the project to ensure that the product or service is meeting the user needs.

Usability Testing:

I will utilize the Usability Testing method to evaluate my website and products offered by having users perform specific tasks and observing them while they do so. The goal of usability testing will be to identify any issues or problems with the design and gather feedback on how it can be improved.

There are several different ways to conduct usability testing, including:

  1. In-person testing: This involves bringing users into a lab or office setting and observing them as they interact with the product or website. This kind of research I will conduct on my peers.
  2. Remote testing: This involves conducting the test remotely, using tools such as screen-sharing software or video conferencing to observe users as they interact with the product or website. Through a lot of platforms on the internet, I will pay a small amount of money to conduct this testing.
  3. A/B testing: This is a method of testing where a control group of users interacts with the current design and a second group interacts with a variation, this way the design team can observe which design is more efficient for the user.
  4. Self-administered testing: This involves having users complete tasks on their own, and then providing feedback on their experience.

To conduct a usability test, I will create a script of tasks for the users to complete and then observe and record their interactions. After the test, I will analyze the data and use it to identify any issues or problems with the design and make recommendations for improvements.

Deliver:

The deliver phase of UX research is the final stage of the research process. In this phase, I will finalize the research report, record the findings and recommendations, and deliver the final product or service to the users.

  1. Report finalization: I will compile all the data and insights collected during the research process into a final report. This report will include a summary of the research goals and objectives, the research methods used, the findings and insights, and the recommendations for the design and development of the product or service.
  2. Record findings and recommendations: I will record the findings and recommendations that will be provided by the users in the usability testing and define the implications for my website’s product or service.
  3. Delivery of the final product or service: The final product or service is delivered to the users.

The goal of this phase will be to ensure that the research findings and recommendations are effectively communicated and integrated into the design and development of the website. It is also important to note that this phase will be done in parallel with the evaluation phase which is focused on measuring the usability and effectiveness of the final product or service after it’s been delivered.

Whichever UX research method you choose, you need to consider the pros and cons of the different techniques. For instance, card sorting is cheap and easy, but you may find it time-consuming when it comes to analysis. Also, it might not give you in-depth contextual meaning. Another constraint is your available resources, which will dictate when, how much and which type of UX research you can do. So, decide carefully on the most relevant method/s for your research. Moreover, involve stakeholders from your organization early on. They can reveal valuable UX insights and help keep your research in line with business goals. Remember, a design team values UX research as a way to validate its assumptions about users in the fieldslash the cost of the best deliverables and keep products in high demand—ahead of competitors’.

Reference: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/topics/ux-research