04 – Critical Analysis and Evaluation of Final Prototype

Justify choices made when selecting specific user experience methods and processes during the development of a solution to a user experience problem.

“The purpose of critical thinking…is rethinking: that is, reviewing, evaluating, and revising thought.” – Jon Stratton

Evidence of Design Process and Artifacts Produced at Each Stage

Role Played by Each Member of Group

Sebastian set up the Realtime Board  for us to begin project management, he also put our final prototype for user testing together in Balsamiq and edited the filmed footage of our users. I don’t have a laptop so was unable to do this however, I did upload my MarvelApp iterations and DU Recorder files into YouTube which was all new to me and which I really enjoyed learning. I also used WordPress for the first time too.

I evaluated our chosen app using Nielsen’s 10 Heuristics and general widely regarded fundamental design principles as a means to test the app against.

We both came up with questions to ask on our initial user experience survey, however I went into detailed research of surveys and I sat down with a senior researcher in work and put the initial survey together to send out to users.

I did lot of iterations on paper and marvel, hashed out problems with the prototype. I tested about 8 iterations on marvel in the research stage on different people (see my YouTube Channel)

New concepts to me, plus slight language barriers made it a bit difficult for me to know what was going on sometimes. Communication back and forth was difficult as quite often I didn’t know what he meant, that coupled with the new concepts of UX I think meant that we probably didn’t improve the app very well. I also feel that I wasn’t assertive enough with my own opinions, but that will improve with experience and confidence. Because I’m new to UX, I don’t even have a laptop anymore and have been out of the design loop for a good while, my confidence as a designer is quite low and I kept my opinions to myself a bit on this project.

Different timetables and work styles didn’t quite match, it was stressful waiting for him to do work he said he would have done, he let me down a couple of times and I felt if I had known the work wouldn’t be done I could have done it myself, had I a laptop that is. I created a couple of design iterations in Marvel which I expected Sebastian to include in the Balsamiq final Prototype but when he showed up with it ready to be tested on our users on a Monday evening, the design didn’t include the iterations I had done. I didn’t say anything, due to my lack of confidence with UX and a bit of a language barrier, but also because we agreed he would have the final prototype completed on the previous Saturday ready to be tested on users, then he cancelled that morning as it wasn’t done and said he would have it done on Sunday but then showed up and it wasn’t done again and by Monday evening I was just glad it was done to be honest, having been let down twice on this occasion and feeling like time was running out also. We worked to different timetables, we have very different lives and that’s ok, but I found it stressful waiting on someone else to complete their share of the project work after I had completed mine and I was annoyed to be let down on several occasions. Had I had a laptop myself or had he not said specifically that he wanted to do certain parts, I would have completed things myself rather than wait and then be let down by cancellations and unfinished work. This was stressful and new to me, maybe this is normal for group work, I don’t know. I found there was a bit of a language barrier, I found it quite hard to understand what he meant regarding the project and UX solutions and being new to UX I was learning that too, so I personally found it a little bit extra hard to understand what was going on in general. It’s all part of the learning curve, I’ve never worked with anyone on anything before, I’ve always been responsible for my own work, so I found it quite stressful waiting on someone else and working to their schedule aswell as my own, but that’s grand, it’s just a new way of working for me and I know I will get used to in time. That is where project management can be improved I suppose and also where I need to step up and speak up if I’m unhappy about something, just because I’m inexperienced, it doesn’t mean I should just stay quiet and I will know that the next time.

Reflection and Evaluation of Final Prototype

I really enjoyed the paper prototype phase. Getting back to paper and pen, and using cut and paste and paper to hide and reveal. I loved thinking like that again and I’ve found it very liberating and useful in my current job, to get away from the computer and get back to paper to work things out first.

In hindsight, the user goals of a diet and fitness app are so varied that it made the project quite complicated for a first UX project. We did create and achieve our two task models based on real users desires, but there would need to be iterations made to the next version. If I were to do this project again I would spend more time searching for a more fundamentally flawed app to work on, rather than something ambiguous like a diet and fitness diary. Perhaps and app with a single or more specific goal would have been easier to focus on for a first time UX designer like myself. The app was flawed, but perhaps the severity rating of the issues found during the heuristic evaluation were not quite high enough to make for an interesting project. Many of the flaws were to do with feature bloat and visual hierarchy and aesthetics and were not in urgent need of updating. We may have had more of a focused and coherent project had the problems been more functional rather than aesthetic. The app is quite annoying to use but it’s not outrageous. It is quite usable for both digital natives and digital immigrants. However, to be fair to us, we did outline features that really could and should be improved by the owners, such as clear and obvious buttons (see blog post 1)

For my next project I will definitely do a lot more research into problematic apps. We settled on MyFitnessPal too soon because we both have an interest in health and fitness but I think we were too hasty in our choice and chose it for the wrong reasons and I believe this is just down to inexperience. I have not really been tuned in to apps in a UX sense until now, so I wasn’t even sure what made a good app and what made a bad one until I began this project, now I feel like I can spot poor UX in an app a lot better than two months ago, which has been eye opening. I felt myself examining MyFitnessPal and going “yeah that feature is annoying, but so what?” There were no shockingly bad features which I think that would have made for a more interesting and juicy project. I will also read a lot more. Of everything. It’s been ten years since I studied so I’m a little rusty at reading for college and research and project work, plus group work is new and now I’m working full time too so it has been quite a learning curve, but one I am delighted to be taking part in and am looking forward to the next challenge.

*All my iteration sketches, consent forms, questionnaires and scripts can all be found in my attached zip file

References:

  • Stratton, J. (1999) Critical Thinking For Students, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Maryland, USA.

Retrieved from: http://www.inspireux.com/2008/08/13/confusion-and-clutter-are-the-failure-of-design-not-the-attributes-of-information/

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