I worked with a team of 6 Designers to create an educational community marketplace via an event-planning platform that gives individuals with desirable skills or knowledge the ability to organize their own local events.
Changing educational and technological landscapes have enabled curious learners to seek educational opportunities from everyday people who possess unique knowledge or skills. This has afforded people the ability to monetize their expertise, which they’ve capitalized on by hosting online courses about any and every topic under the sun.
This was intended to be a two-sided platform to serve both attendees and event hosts/organizers; we were only tasked with focusing on the host/organizer side which was an additional constraint.
The ask was to build a platform that includes event creation, event support, event marketing, venue coordination, and attendee-focused customer service. All these "must-haves" made it difficult to focus on the right problems and solutions to properly scope the project.
The team had to work within a Waterfall Flow per the client's request. The team and I had no interactions or conversations with the development team and had no say in implementation so we did not get their feedback or input.
As a team, we prioritized building the most important capabilities and features first with an "All in one" solution and would then recommend proceeding to more complex elements once we had the fundamental experience set up. Additionally, we utilized an Agile UX process and methodology with short sprints and feedback loops from the client and their product team.
In a team of 6, I took on the role of UX Researcher, focusing on understanding consumer motivation and behaviors to further strategic decisions.
First, we wanted to understand the competitive landscape and the current market to see how other companies and platforms have approached this space.
So if you want to share your skills and host events, you basically have two types of platforms that can help you.
We dove deep into exploring both options to find what’s working as well as identify any gaps or opportunities in the market.
Opinions and views from Users were the next steps to drive our research forward. We gained the perspective of Entrepreneurs and Hobbyists who attended or hosted events.
The team conducted 11 interviews and had 24 survey responses.
Their feedback showed a range of experiences, pain points, and overall needs of our target demographic which gave us more substance that validated the directions we could take.
The best insights we discovered were the ones that overlapped from multiple parts of our research phase.
Given that criteria, here are the top insights from all of our research:
From the research, we were able to really start to fine-tune user motivations. So we started to create what the main problem or focus was.
We even created a Persona, Tiffany, to embody some of the characteristics we wanted to keep in mind as we move forward with addressing solutions.
After many workshops and meetings, our large team of 6 couldn't decide on the scope or direction. We each individually wireframed a concept and then pitched the theme to see if there were patterns and outliers that could be out of scope.
Two things happened.
Now we can test One cohesive concept.
The aim of the Usability Test was to get a pulse check if we were creating a suitable solution to our user’s problems.
Are we creating the same patterns and experiences as other platforms or are we making improvements?
We tested with 7 users of whom 5 have teaching and hosting experience.
We were so happy with the Positive Feedback!
But we noticed that whilst users would complete the tasks, the number of errors increased as they moved further into the task flow.
This indicates that although users enjoyed and understood many functions within the application, more refinements and further research would need to be done to problem solve those high error sections.
For the future, we recommend exploring these three areas, which are ranked in order of importance.
I worked in a team of 6 designers all with varying levels of experience and responsibilities. I took on the UX Researcher role but others wanted full control and say at all times which prolonged phases of work. Also, the team struggled to make decisions so that we had to refine the problem statement further to scope down the must-haves of this iteration.
Lesson to be learned: there can be too many chefs in the kitchen.
Be diplomatic and respectful.
Speak up and Defend your views.
Be ready to collaborate and move forward.
And finally, remember you are not the user. We all need to step out of our boxes and prioritize the needs and wants for who we create for so we can delegate what is feasible for us to provide for them.
The project had multiple project managers each with a different style. This also contributed to the team not being able to problem-solve quickly. The project manager would either be too lax and let extreme personalities take over or others were really unorganized.
The client didn't set many parameters or constraints for this project. We had the gigantic task of trying to scope and plan out the research, source relevant participants for interviews and testing as well as decide if creating low fidelity wireframes with a mockup would be the best strategy to show an outcome, to have something tangible.
© 2020 Sandie Starr