On the road to a UX Design Diploma

Since my enrolment at the UX Design Institute, my weeks have been filled with constant learning about all things UX. Packed into 6 months, the course is an incredible opportunity for those starting from scratch (me) or those who are looking to touch up on their skills.

I started in March with a welcome webinar and now two months later, I’m ready to submit my first two projects! March was an ease-in I would say, I read/watched all the course materials for the first two modules. Module 01 was an intro to UX design, a run-through of the processes involved and how they are applied. This module aligned perfectly with the work I was undertaking at Agile Collective at the time, I was working on two projects that were in different phases and I was learning about the importance of each phase at the same time on the course. A perfect harmony. Module 02 was all in relation to the project work that would be due the following month - which is where we are now!

How time flies. 

Getting stuck in!

Note-taking and Usability Tests

This month, I’ve spent all my designated course time on two projects: Note-taking and Usability tests. Note-taking, although it seems simple enough, is a crucial skill in the world of UX design. It’s not about transcribing interactions, word-for-word, it’s about being able to quickly capture information, including the context in which it was said, so that when referred back to they make complete sense and don’t take such a long time to read! 

To put this into practice, I was tasked to watch a pre-recorded usability test where the user is tasked with booking flights on two different airline websites. I had to take clean and concise notes that captured any pain points, positive interactions, user suggestions, and any observations I made personally of how the user was interacting with the websites.

Check out my Miro board to see how my note-taking brain works!

All in all, the project still proved to be a challenge as the key is taking great notes in the moment to avoid wasting time having to go back into the recording later.

A screen capture of the Miro board I used to take notes.

For the second project, I was tasked to locate an individual (or two) to take part in a usability test, facilitated by me! All of sudden I had to switch hats and go from incognito mode, a silent note-taker, to running the show. In preparation for the test, I had to choose the airline websites, develop a test script so that I didn’t fumble with the nerves, and finally locate my users! The project only asked for one usability test to be submitted but I knew that there was a slim chance of being successful on the first go. I scheduled two users and it all began - I could feel my personal progress bar slowly moving up… one step closer to diploma-land.  

They say practice makes perfect (or in my case, just a huge improvement) and I completely agree, my first usability test was all nerves, I scheduled in an hour and I was done in 20 minutes - I spent the entire time second-guessing myself and trying to remember the pre-recorded test I’d watched while note-taking. Once it had finished, I felt like there was no chance I’d be able to get the project submitted on time - luckily this was on a Friday so I had the weekend to rest and reset.

My second test was scheduled for Tuesday. I thought it would be a good idea to re-watch the previous usability test I had done and pinpoint where it went wrong - but… this was too painful so I needed a new plan. I decided to rewatch the pre-recorded usability tests that were at my disposal through the course and really understand how the moderator led the session - this proved to be a good move. 

The second test went much better than I'd anticipated, I ticked all the boxes and went through each stage more confidently. I’d say the biggest measure of success here is that I’ve watched it back twice now and I'm happy with how it went. 

It was a huge learning opportunity for me and overall I’m glad that I didn't just cruise through it the first time because it really pushed me to work harder and believe in myself. To summarise my learning in the most cliché way possible - ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.’

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