Optimal by design

Nov 21 2010

Stretching my design muscle at Design Jam London

London’s UX community witnessed its first Design Jam this Saturday. The all-day jam took place at a great venue provided by City University London, and was supported by Mozilla Labs, City University’s Centre for HCI Design & Johnny Holland magazine.

Around 50 people partcipated, all coming from various backgrounds, inluding user-centred design, frontend/backend development, visual design, and psychology or anthropology.

We formed nine teams of four or five members each, and were presented with a design challenge for the day: What is the ideal interface to keep track of previously viewed online content, across multiple devices and locations? We were supposed come up with a solution to this design problem, ideally by going through the phases of research, conceptual design, wireframing (or even prototyping), and documentation.

It was a fun day full of design thinking, and culminated with the teams presenting their designs in the afternoon.

A few summaries have already been posted online, so rather than trying to re-tell the story all over again, here are some links you’ll surely find useful:

Summary by Johanna Kollmann (on Johnny Holland), Leisa Reichelt, Fabien Marry, Boon Chew, Rob Enslin

My team started by exploring the problem space from various perspectives, while building a mindmap of many aspects and design considerations related to the problem. We realised very quickly this challenge was way too big for one day. And so after mapping out a user journey and identifying three main scenarios related to the problem, we picked only scenario and decided to focus on one persona illustrating a ‘limiting user’ (limiting because of its rather edge-case behaviours and needs). This helped us to stay focused on a set of requirements addressing that user’s specific needs. Narrowing the design problem down allowed us to come up with a coherent design solution in a relatively short time. We then iterated and refined the solution in two rounds of sketching and critiquing, using the ’6 to 1’ approach.

If you want to find out more about my team’s process, check out our team’s wiki page. (might be still under construction at the time of writing)

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