Two Awesome UX Tools When Starting a Learning Solution


User experience (UX) has taken our interest here at Belvista Studios and as a learning experience designer, I feel extremely connected to the process and the value that it brings. I have had an interest in UX for a while, so I decided to make the most of living in London and find as many UX workshops and meetups as I could. I wanted to learn as much as I could about the process and incorporate the knowledge into the work we do at Belvista Studios. I have attended a couple of UX meetups and I am already bursting with information and energy around the process.

My new-found knowledge of UX and my passion for human-centred design has resulted in me looking at design in a completely new way. When we start a new project, rather than thinking of how cool I can make it and the best way to handle it, the first thing I do is put myself in the shoes of the end-user.

In this blog I will share with you two tools I have acquired from the UX meetups I have attended and discuss how you can use these tools for your learning solutions.

Before we get started. Let’s explore what UX is...

“User experience (UX) design is the process of creating products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users” (Interaction Design Foundation, 2018).

Imagine that you are tasked with buying a piece of art for a person that you do not know. This piece of art needs to add value to their life and align with the look and feel that they want. You can:

A) Purchase a piece of art that you think looks nice and that they would like.

or

B) Speak to the future art owner, ask questions, gather information and then purchase the piece of art.

Which option do you think would result in a better outcome? You could purchase a vibrant and colourful piece of art only to find out that the future art owner (also known as the end-user) is colour-blind. This is an example of why considering the experience of the user is so important.

When designing learning solutions often it is with the intent to create a useful and meaningful product for the end-user. However, how often do we, as learning experience designers, consider who that user is and what their experience would look like? UX provides a process that enables you to gain a deep understanding of your end-user and create an experience that best meets their needs.

From attending the meetups that I have and meeting UX designers and enthusiasts, I have gained great insight into the importance of having that end-user front of mind.




London UX meetup.

These are the two best tools that I took away from the meetups I attended.

1. Personas

A big takeaway from the first meetup that I attended was the importance of creating UX personas. We love using personas at Belvista Studios, so this got me excited!

A persona is a representation of your end user and they answer the question, “Who are we designing for?”. This involves collecting as much information as possible about your end-user, so you can gain a deep understanding of who they are and what their experience of using your product/learning solution would look like.

As learning experience designers, we do our best to collect factual information from our end-users though this is not always possible. We had a great discussion around how you could collect that sort of information and what to do if you don’t have access to it. I brought this up at the meetup and the meetup lead (who is a UX designer) had some great suggestions. He suggested splitting your research into two parts:

Facts: Facts about your end-user can be collected through user interviews, user observations, statistics, reports etc.

Assumptions: Assumptions about your end-user is information that you believe might be true from the information that you already know.

You can then use this data with a clear perspective of facts and assumptions in relation to your end-user. If there are assumptions that you would like to confirm then you can conduct research to discover if they are fact or not.

There are great resources online in relation to personas. Type in ‘UX personas’ into google and go wild. Here is a video that I found particularly useful on personas (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZ578SqL1oA). If you are interested in learning more about personas I would suggest checking it out.

2. The 4Cs


At one of the meetups we learnt about a practical UX tool that enables you to gain a deep understanding of what you are designing. This was one of my favourite takeaways as I could see how it could add value to learning solution designs.

The tool is called the 4Cs and is part of a series of Design Games by UX Mastery (Spencer, 2014). The tool helps you to think through the different aspects of your product/learning solution/problem by looking at it from 4 different angles.

The 4Cs are:

Components: “What are the parts of the problem or object?”

Characteristics: “What are characteristics of the outcome – what does it look like?”

Challenges:
“What are the key issues that affect the problem?”

Characters: “Who is involved?”

(Spencer, 2014).

You can do this on your own or in a team. With the design problem in mind break down the problem by describing it against each ‘C’. This tool can provide you with a deeper understanding of the problem and spark conversation to look at the problem in a different way. We broke up into pairs at the meetup and were given an example product and created our own 4C output (see below).


4Cs tool in action using the ASOS website as an example.

The concept of UX is something that we will continue to explore at Belvista Studios. We see great benefits in incorporating UX into our learning designs and will continue to fangirl over UX meetups, books, blogs, tools and influencers.

Until next time, I am going to put on my UX enthusiast badge (I actually have a physical sticker badge) and continue to learn about the exciting world of UX. Keep an eye out for more UX blogs and videos from us because I have a feeling it will be a topic of interest for us for quite some time. As the founder of Belvista Studios would say (who is currently learning Spanish), adiós por ahora!

                                                               References

Interaction Design Foundation. (2018). What is User Experience (UX) Design? Retrieved from https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/topics/ux-design.


Smith, R. [Robert Smith]. (2017, October 5). UX Tutorial | How To Create User Personas [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZ578SqL1oA

Spencer, D. (2014) Design Games - 4Cs. Retrieved from https://uxmastery.com/design-games-4cs/



                                                          Meetups Attended

Junior UX Crunch – No1 UX Meetup in Europe [Meetup application].

User Experience Meetup – For Beginners in London [Meetup Application].

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