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Web Design and Content Planning

UX Design Article

UX Design Article

Intro

User Experience Design is a fundamental part of creating a product that will give the user an amazing experience when using the designed product. Since the main goal of every designer is to create a great product for your user, that makes the UX process very important, and the development of this process goes through stages that are essential for a successful outcome on the end.

When I started the studies for Web Design and Content planning, I had no idea that the most important aspect of creating a website is firstly thinking about the user. The workshops with Steph and Chris really gave me another insight of what a successful product creation could be. And the most important aspect is how it helped me to choose the topic for the Major Project. In the beginning I was trying to find a great idea about the project and when I introduced those ideas, I was unable to answer the most important question which is “What is the problem that you are trying to solve?”. From these workshops I learned that we should be looking to find a good problem and not a great idea.

Following the decision on the Major Project topic the most important steps that I will follow are User Research from the first workshop we conducted and User Experience Design from the second workshop. By taking the results of the planning and development of the research I will apply them to design my website.

User Research (Steph’s workshop)

During the workshop we covered the fundamentals of user research which includes what is and why do we need user research, setting research objectives, methodology, writing good research questions and analysing the data from research. To understand and learn some skills that we need when designing our website, we practiced research in class with a topic given to us by Steph.

Research objectives help us state a clear goal of what we are trying to achieve, and it serves as a guide in designing the research and serves as an instrument for the team to align on research outcomes. In addition, it helps determine the appropriate methodology to conduct the research.

User research seeks to understand users’ relationships with products and services in real contexts. And understand the people’s needs which helps create a good product. Following the understanding of peoples needs you create a product for your users with a promise and you understand if your product is successful in keeping that promise. For the research moving forward we need to clearly state assumptions and hypothesis. Hypothesis defines what we expect to see, and the goal of the research is to determine whether it is wrong or right.

Additionally, we learned about usability testing which is defined by five components that include learnability, efficiency, memorability, errors and satisfaction. Learnability is defined by how easy is for the user to accomplish basic tasks the first time they encounter the design. Efficiency is a measure of how quickly they perform tasks once they have learned the design. Memorability is measured by how quickly they re-establish proficiency after a period of not using it. Errors frequency and severity: how often users make errors while using the system, how serious the errors are and how fast they recover from them. And lastly is subjective satisfaction if the user likes using the design.

One of the most important parts is how do we interview the user and what are the points to consider when conducting an interview.

By implementing these stages in the user research

User Experience Design (Chris’ workshop)

On the workshop with Chris, we learned the fundamentals of User Experience Design. The first concept was User-centered design (UCD) which is an iterative design process in which the designers focus on the users and their needs in each phase of the design process.

UCD calls for involving users throughout the design process via a variety of research and design techniques to create highly usable and accessible products for them. And the successful product sits at the centre of these three criteria:

  • Business (viability) a design that will be successful.
  • User (desirability) a design that people want or need.
  • Technology (feasibility) a design that can be easily created with new or existing technology.

Together these three criteria create the ideal conditions for innovation and that is why research is essential and reviewing the ideas early in the research to determine if they meet the criteria mentioned above.

Following the research, we start the process of analysing and synthesis of the data. All the data collected from the user research is to be analysed which basically is the process of classifying, organising and transforming that data into valuable information and better yet a conclusion. After analysing the data synthesis is the process from which we conclude insights and key findings that can be used to make an impact on decisions.

The next phase was to visualise the findings that we had to this point. We did that using some techniques that Chris explained to us and we also practiced at class:

  • User Personas: User Personas are the users of your product, and they help define the target audience.
  • User Journey Maps: User Journey Maps visually structure the knowledge of a potential user and how they experience a service.
  • Empathy Maps: Empathy maps help us gain a deeper understanding of the user.

During the whole process of accumulating and analysing the data taken from research we have distinguished some possible statements which will help provide a solution. We used the technique “How might we…?” which helps find and define our design focus.

The first phase of the double diamond process included research and analysing and the second part after having completed the research phase is creating using all the knowledge and insight from the first part. What we learned is that the best technique to start the process of creating the design is sketching. We divided the process in eight sketches that made part of the finished design. The sketches don’t need to be aesthetic, and the process was very messy because the time limit was very short. The process was repeated twice, and the reason was to push ideas in new direction. The principles used were Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to other uses, Eliminate, Rearrange. All serving the purpose of improving the final design.

UX Design (Major Project)

Exploring beautiful destinations is the purpose of the tourists from all around the world!

The reason why I want to create a webpage about travel is because I am from a country that has so many beautiful and unexplored destinations from which I have visited many of them. I have travelled to many places in Albania and from the growing number of tourists every year is very important to display and give the tourists the opportunity to research online possible attractions that they would like to visit based on what they prefer. There are many travel websites that promote different countries but there is no website particular for Albania.

So, the website will be about travel destinations in the Albanian Coast starting from north to south and each destination gives the user the exact location of the destination by also showing how they can reach the destination from the capital city of Albania.

The problem is that many tourists traveling to Albania have difficulties to find the location of different places using the public transport infrastructure. I want to give a detailed guide on how they can reach there with exact location from a map.

 

Research Objectives

Following the process that I was taught in the UX design workshops I decided to state my research objectives for my major project. My chosen research objectives are:

  • Identify positive and negative experiences when locating a travel destination in order to create the best option for the users.
  • Understand interaction of the users with the website while they might be traveling to a certain place.
  • Gain insights on the experience the users might have after using the website.
  • Distinguish opportunities to make my website particular and unique even if there are many websites with travel content.

I would argue that the process of stating research objectives is flexible because the process of research is much longer, and we must be ready to learn and define during and after having carried out the research.

Existing Evidence

What I consisted of reading different studies done internationally for tourists is that more than 70% of the costumers do their research online with a smartphone. Since most part of the tourists is international and the majority European, I concluded that creating a website where they can research before deciding would enhance their experience. Also, I researched for the statistics of tourists particularly in Albania and what I discovered is that the number of tourists has increased considerably the las years and what has helped is the presence in digital media.

Target Audience

My target audience includes international and native tourists who plan to spend their summer vocation in Albanian coast. Since most travellers are adults the age range is from 18- 60 and possibly tourists who use technology to research and plan their vocations. Some factors that influence the target audience is the budget for their holiday, how much time they plan on spending and if the user wants to explore different destinations.

Similar Cognate Sites

My goal for this project is to create something unique that offers a good user experience and provides successful information for some travel destinations that are unknown for many international tourists. Even though there are many travel sites for tourists from around the world, there is no specific website particular for Albanian coast. I want to develop a website that displays a travel map that includes all the west coast of Albania with all the destinations and a succinct description of the destination and recommended accommodation.

Methodology

From the most common methods that we learned with Steph including surveys and interviews each one of them offers valuable results in terms of data and they cover almost all user related topics. So, for my project I will use both in order to collect as much information possible to make the user experience better. Conducting interviews might be a little more difficult than surveys but I think that is essential in order to get a different perspective and gain a broader understanding of a user’s feelings, motivations and how they use products. The most important step in both cases is creating good questions which is the first step I will complete and from the data collected I will create mind maps and user journey maps. During the process I will prioritize qualitative data because of the understanding it offers about the user.

User Personas and Design Process

User personas are the potential users of the website. When creating the user personas for my website an essential part was analysing my target audience. In the description of the user personas, I included name, age, nationality and technology. I also included stories and possible pain points in order to make clear the problems for me to provide a solution for the user.

After creating the user personas, I started to research and conclude the best solution for the problem. One of Chris’ steps in the workshop was create a few “How might we…?” statements and then reframe the problem in a single statement.

Some of the statements I created during the process:

  • How might we provide information to international tourists about tourist destinations in the Albanian coast?
  • How might we help users locate easily their chosen destination?
  • How might we give the user a better experience of using the website during the journey?

Considering that this is the first stage of the project and that during the research many things might change I created a single statement that was the reframing of the problem for my project:

How might we offer the user all the destinations in coastal Albania (located in a map) with a short description and recommend accommodations to spend the holidays?

The other part of the UX process is creating and testing and this is the latter stage of the project. Designing based on the results from the research, test them on the users and redesign based on the results from testing.

Below I have the pdf files for the empathy map, user personas and information architecture for my project.

In conclusion I would say that UX design is a field that is very important in creating products that offer a good experience for the user. I have a lot to research on my project and the results will help me better define what I want to design but at this point it gave me a better insight into the first steps of the project.