UX workshop experience

UX workshop experience

UX workshop experience

Marie Draper explains how the recent UX workshop run by Unite Students helped her to put her newly learned tech skills into practice.

Taking part in remote learning

From September to December, I was part of cohort seven of Bath Spa University’s Skills Bootcamp in Creative Computing. On this 12 week course we learned about different aspects of web development and user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design.

During week eight we were invited to attend an in-person workshop at Sion Hill, facilitated by the UX/UI team at Unite Student Housing. The workshop gave us time to use our new skills in a similar set-up to a design team. Up until this point all of our learning had been remote, so it was nice, but quite strange, to meet one another in person.

Overall, I found the remote short course really convenient. One of the downsides to remote learning is that it's much harder to build relationships with the other students as the conversation that would naturally happen between people in breaks didn’t occur. Our lecturers tried to mitigate this by setting up group projects, which helped, but relationship building was still more of a challenge than it would have been in person. Therefore, spending a day with (some of) the group was a welcome change.

"The mock interview Unite Students provided was super useful as it showed me that design interviews aren’t so different to the interview experiences that I’ve already had."

Participating in the UX workshop

We started the day with introductions from the Unite Students UX/UI team: who they are as individuals, who Unite Students are as a company and the projects that they're working on as a team.

We were then divided into small groups and given a brief to work on. Our focus was to think about the booking experience for new visitors to their website, with a focus on pain points, customer profiles, journey mapping and wireframing. These were all things that we'd already covered during the course but this was my first experience of using my skills with other people.

I was in a small group with Louise and Simon. I hadn’t met either of them properly before so I felt that this mirrored a design challenge in a large company, being grouped with new people and being ready to explore a new problem.

We had an hour to explore the brief. Our group did a fantastic job of identifying things that a website visitor might need and where the pain points could be. We discussed how the experience might be different for students of different ages, cultures or enthusiasm for social activities, as well as how difficult it can be to navigate a new city.

“I noticed how different our various responses to the problem were and the experience really emphasised how there are no right or wrong answers.”

We decided to focus on the experience of finding and organising information as this is important for every user. We felt that a wish list function was essential so that the user can organise the list of accommodation as they wish. We also thought they need to have access to a compare feature.

Our accommodation pages needed to contain lots of relevant information, in a way that wasn’t overwhelming. We decided that there would be a landing page per accommodation block, that clearly showed whether there were rooms still available and key information about the rooms, prices and catering options on the first page.

On the second page, we created a map based visual information function, that would contain toggled layers with useful information that was displayed via the map. This included distance to universities, travel via walking and public transport, night-time public transport options from the city centre, medical and religious centres and options for grocery stores.

Each group then fed back to the main group. This element of the workshop helped me to understand how useful large group exercises are in generating ideas and tackling problems.

"It was great to have time with people who are currently working in the industry. For me, it helped to put a lot of things that we have been taught on the course into a real-life context, as sometimes theory and practice can be quite different."

Further developing our UX knowledge

After lunch, the Unite team held mock interviews for us. I found this super helpful as it showed me that design interviews aren’t so different to the interview experiences that I’ve already had. The questions were design orientated but I was pleased to find that I could answer every question, based on what we'd learned during the course.

Whilst the mock interviews were going on, one member of the team did a series of rapid talks on UX subjects for the rest of us. I really enjoyed this element of the day as these talks were themed around things that we hadn’t covered in the course such as card sorting, design principles and a recommended reading list.

It was also great to hear about the journey that each team member had to get into UX. This felt quite reassuring as changing careers is a big step, so it felt good to hear that each team member had developed into their role through different pathways.

Find out more about Bath Spa's Skills Bootcamps on our website.

Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.



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