As a budding User Experience Architect out of Michigan State University, I was eager to see the inner workings of a digital studio on the other side of the “so-called” pond in beautiful Southsea, England.
Welcomed by a wonderfully backlit company logo sign, the clean office design with pink detailing proved a fun contrast to the predominantly male team.
With a quick “Si digital” crash course from Tom (Lead Designer), I felt like a sponge soaking up the wealth of information regarding some of their day-to-day in tasks, from website upkeep to embarking on a new project. I was then given the opportunity to assist in the analysis of their most recent user testing results.
While I have conducted several user tests for projects at MSU, the analyses were never fully developed in order to implement a solution. In view of the fact that this was the discovery phase for a potential website redesign, I was excited to apply user centered design thinking in real world practice. 4 years of various coursework boils down to one thing; focus on the user and all else will follow.
Jack (Junior Designer) and I started by analyzing the screencast footage of various user processes based on a task list given from Si. The fluttering of pen on paper filled pages with positive and negatives, identifying key pain points. We then turned to whiteboard and stickies (refer to a brilliant article on the Si site – A simple way to record your user testing feedback using a whiteboard). Here, we were able to discuss and categorize the findings of each user side by side. This stage was incredibly familiar to me, as sticky notes are the root of any UX driven process.
After a few short ping pong and Mario Kart breaks, we wrapped up the analysis on my second day in. The completed (and incredibly satisfying!) board shed light on patterns and problems we identified in the site based on user journeys. From this stage came the write up of possible implementations to provide the client – here, I shot into university mode. While stakeholders never played a role in course projects, my professors continuously stressed the importance of summarizing and writing out our process as the culmination of any work.
With my British spell check ready to catch all of my American spelling of ‘color’, I compiled a document containing: information regarding the test itself, a summary of our findings, and potential implementations.
A thought process I noticed that heightened my awareness was the type of language I chose to illustrate suggestions. Whilst one thing may connect and make complete sense in the mind of a designer, it is important to provide backing for any recipient of the report.
Providing inviting dialect allows for the process to not only be understood more fully but creates a space where a client welcomes change in a space that may feel very personal.
Upon the close of my two days, I noted the parallels between my university discourse and Si practice. The similarities of user testing processes as well as the various prototyping platforms made the 3,750 mile distance diminish very quickly.
With a warm goodbye from the entire Si digital team – most importantly Rosie, the office pup – I walked away incredibly grateful for the enriching experience and wonderful insight.