My learnings from UX workshop kickstarter conducted by Anudeep Ayyagari and Growthschool
I got introduced to the world of digital experience design in the 1st year of my college. Thereafter, I made steady efforts to learn UX design on my own along with my tedious architecture degree. This was the first time I ever enrolled myself in a paid workshop/course, and I can’t be happier about the fact.
Takeaways from introductory session
The very first day of the 2 week workshop, Anudeep conducted a live session, wherein he explained the fundamentals of ux design, and how to learn from existing designs — both physical as well as digital. I was already acquainted with many topics, but there were still a lot of new things to learn from the session.
Key points that were emphasized upon:
- We are not the users .
- We should not confuse the problems with the solutions.
- We must must find solutions based on what the user research says, and not what the user wants.
- Design solutions need not be extremely far fetched and out of the box, good design is practical.
- It’s advisable to solve one problem at a time, due to limited resources and practicality. Designers must understand where to prioritize which problems.
Learning figma as a tool
Along with this, there were several videos and exercises to practise learning figma as a design tool. These included making interfaces , prototypes, and preparing basic level of animations. I already had some experience with figma, but those videos helped me get acquainted with new shortcuts, and as well as some material design practises like spacing in multiples of 4 or 8. I also learnt about aesthetic usability principle, which explains that people perceive pretty or aesthetic designs as more usable.
Laws and priniciples taught in the workshop
Now, let’s come to the main learnings of the workshop, which were the UX laws and principles, taught in a non-textbook manner.
This law states that since users spend most of their time using other apps, they expect to find similar patterns and features in all apps. This explains why app such as linkedin uses the concept of stories in the same way as instagram does. Or why the number pad in truecaller is the same as that in default phone contact app. Anudeep explained very clearly that innovation is required in creative professions, but it must not come everywhere or unnecessarily.
This law states that the amount of time required for users to reach an actionable area is dependent on its distance and size of button. The law basically deals with ergonomics. If a button or icon is large enough, and at the bottom of the screen, it becomes easier for the users to reach for it, which creates resistance free experience.
This law states that the time it takes to make decisions increases with the number and complexity of choices. This is why apps such as netflix, amazon, youtube give out certain recommended options to its users so as to make it easier for them to choose.
Law of proximity
This law states that people perceive things which are in close proximity as related. This is why in apps such as IMDB, the text which is close to the image is associated with it.
This principle states that computers and users should interact with each other in such a way that neither has to wait for the other. This is the reason facebook or instagram shows its users some basic skeleton of UI in case the nets lags to load contents quickly. This lets users know that something is coming for them to wait.
This principle states that seeing an incomplete action motivates people to complete it. This is why apps and websites use gamification to show people at what level they are to motivate them to finish the tasks.
Heuristic usability principles and business metrics
Jacok Nielsen’s usability heuristics are so important, that I feel they deserve a special mention.
- Consistency — Jacok’s law taught us that users spend so much time on other apps, that it’s important to maintain general consistency and standards in all.
- Recognition rather than recall — this states that users must not be burdened by cognitive load. Hence apps like Zomato and Swiggy show past history and recommendations.
- User control and freedom — users must feel like they are in control of the app, so they must be able to go back easily in case they commit a mistake.
- Visibility of status system — Users must remain aware about what is happening at all times, which is why apps show loading sign when a process in going on.
- Undoing Errors — users must be able to undo their errors such as going back.
- Flexibility and efficiency of use — Digital products should be efficient to use for all. For example, a website like figma provides shortcuts so that both experienced as well as non experienced users can efficiently use the product.
- Aesthetic/Minimal design — aesthetic and minimal design makes it easier for users to understand the product.
- Match between systems and real world — all digital products are inspired from the real world so as to make the experience as natural as possible. This can be seen in apps like google maps and calendar.
- Error prevention — users must be notified about the likelihood of an error before they commit it.
- Help and documentation — In spite of all the user research and study of psychology, designers can never know what issues the users may face, which is why all products provide a help section.
As designers, it’s important to understand that companies don’t approve designs just from the designer’s point of view. It must also comply with the profit of business.
- Conversion metrics — this refers to how apps are designed in a way that it instigates its visitors to turn into paying customers
- Session length metrics — this refers to how apps and websites are designed to become addictive for its users
- Active users metrics — this is the number of users who come to visit or use the site daily. This is highly important from the business point of view.
- Retention metrics — this refers to the no of drop offs and customer retention faced on a site during a particular action.
Other learnings (tips for portfolio building and applying for jobs)
- Before solving problems, we must understand how to identify problems correctly.
- A portfolio should be built based on real life issues faced by companies
- Reasoning is most important, in portfolio as well as interview.
- Recruiting companies are not looking for experience. They focus on real potential
- Before interview, it would be a good idea to connect our fundamental qualities to the role of a ux designer, for self introspection
- Most ideas emerge from the subconscious mind. Which is why it’s important to relax and study existing designs when stuck at a problem.
- It’s important to study existing design backwards, and do a proper heuristic evaluation to develop problem identifying and solving skills.