Hello everyone and welcome back to the blog! It has been an intense assignment session where many of our prototypes have moved onto the next stage. You can find out about the first official version of the Small Object of Delight here. Everything else will be improved further and presented later on in the academic year.

As these previous two weeks are concerned, we have explored further into uncharted territory. We have enjoyed a brilliant UX design lecture by Kieren Scott, discovered the making behind visual guides, and, together with Ola, delved into one of the most interesting VR worlds we had ever seen.

Designing a successful User Experience

Kieron Scott is a freelance Product Designer and former Head of UX at MVFGlobal. During his lecture, he has briefly explained the elements necessary for a UX to be successful:

  • Psychology: is the UX good for the business, for the user or for both? (read more about Dark UX here.)
  • Usability: how easy and accessible is your UX?
  • Design: is your content organised in a correct hierarchical fashion?
  • Copywriting: is your user informed of the legal consequences of using your platform?
  • Analysis: do you understand the impact of your work?

Kieron then prompted us to get into pairs and design a User Experience tailored around a specific persona. You can get the gist by looking at the image down below. As a matter of fact, if the UX of this draft is successful, you should be able to grasp what the idea is without further explanations.

It was a profoundly interesting experience. We had very limited time, but Ola and I managed to come up with an idea and express it visually. I feel like my visual skills need to keep on improving, but I’m starting to see patterns in ways of communicating ideas. More on it further down.

More and More UX

During the following session, we built on what Kieron had previously taught us and firstly trying to design a mobile UX using only paper. Something along these lines.

It was consistently harder than we might have anticipated. The time limit and coping with the ensuing stress might have been the reason why we could only produce a half-baked prototype, but I feel like the experience was quite interesting. There were some steps – some screens – we did not think of until someone actually tried the experience. I guess we are so bombarded with tech nowadays that we assimilate things passively and only superficially. Thinking about the details and in a product-oriented way is definitely a fundamental skill for a designer.

During the same session, we also tried to design How-To Guides. As you can see from the sketches above, it was a very rudimentary exercise, but I am growing slightly more confident about my drawing. I’m starting to grasp the ways of visual expressing something, even with very poor drawing skills.

Other than that, this exercise was fun, and I’m looking forward to finding out more about User Experience.

We Live in an Ocean of Air

Photo from the exhibition. Credit: Saatchi Gallery.

Slightly unrelated to university classes, but nevertheless a source of great inspiration was the VR exhibition Ola and I went to on Friday.

We live in an Ocean of Air is a virtual reality experience at the Saatchi Gallery “where the invisible connection between plant and human is revealed through breath.”

In order to enter the experience, participants are wired up with a VR headset, bracelet sensors to detect your hands in the virtual world and a high-tech backpack to power-up the program.

It was such a beautiful journey. Being able to see your breath – and other people’s – and being able to touch the particles and manipulate them was so soothing.

The sound was so immersive. The soundscape of a sempiternal forest. The graphics were also quite unique, with towering trees that you could go through to see the flowing lifeblood of everything above and beneath and all around you.

It was undoubtedly one of the best VR experiences I have ever tried. It actually made me feel connected to people and trees and everything else. This is the power of virtual reality, and I am eager to see what else this medium can do and to create my own VR experience soon.

Thanks for reading!

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