Considering my UX workflow/Design thinking
- Research for Inspo: A very useful tool for this is Dribble, it’s like Pinterest for designers – some of the UI in there does NOT work though so take the designs there with a pinch of salt if you will. Just researching on dribble is not discovery though. Discovery is finding designers and finding out how they structure their website and how they work, what their process is like.
- Understanding my user: Conducting discovery is simply searching for data, and discovering what my audience needs and understands. What words do people type when they search the web? What kind of language do they understand? Google trends is a great tool for understanding your audiences vocabulary. Researching buzz words around the industry and seeing what the best fit is can be greatly beneficial like for example how in the UK the word ‘placement’ would be not be recognized in the US as they would instead use the word ‘Internship’.
- Getting started on paper: sketches, mind-mapping and general idea generation. NEVER EVER jump straight into software, first paper and pen
Things I need to consider?
- Be specific: Specify that you are looking for a year long placement/internship in your portfolio. Narrow it down.
- Skills: What can I do? Can I do it? How can they contact me? As a designer the portfolio is a must, it is way more important than a CV, it acts as a meet and greet. Show what you are really good at, what IXD activities you like to do? What makes you different from other designers?, On which projects did you bring the most values? What interesting stories can you tell about the work you did? Show that you can do the hard work that comes before the pretty pictures – SHOW YOUR WORKING OUT, think Math GCSE.
- Case studies: they will get you a job.
- Call to actions: Every homepage should have a call to action. Introduce yourself first though, then add a call-to-action button. Treat it like a real conversation. It should ideally take the user to your portfolio.
- Text design: what typeface best suits my portfolio
- Sketches: Show your thought process and how you start on paper.
- Visual design
- Prototype/build: This is the part where you build it. Use Figma for this also to show the usability, make it there so the user flow is not only shown but also functional so you can see what stage you are in and how it presents.
- Test: surveys, user tests, etc…
- Discuss your work: This is when you show it to other people. Show it to more than your friends as others give more truthful opinions. Get advice from peers when at all possible. If needed go back to the sketch stage and fix the issues.
- Deliver but keep refining
In my portfolio what is the most important thing to show?
- Contact name
- What am I?/What kind of designer am I? Does my portfolio reflect that?
What to include into the case studies?
- The problem
- Who you worked with?
- What tools you used?
- Discovery phrases (how you go about solving the problem?)
- The process you used to overcome the problem: the lo-hi wireframes, prototypes, sketches, personas, user journeys and research.
- Challenges you faced and overcame – understand the problem and outline the solution, even if you don’t have time to overcome it.
- The final outcome
Initial ideas and sketches
As a rule I like to get started on paper, I noted down some quick ideas of how I want my content to be laid out and also some quick points of what information I should add.
I did a quick wireframe of what I would like my website to look like, I want to create a website that will flow easily and will be easily read.
Writing and planning my content
Here I will add a short introduction at the start of my website – it needs to be simple and concise. It needs to draw in the viewer and also quickly inform them of the key information I need them to know such as my name, what I can do for them and possibly where I am based.
- My name: Emily Ussher
- Short description: I am just another Irish/Venezuelan Product/UX/UI designer and self-appointed explorer designing her way through life with a user centered state of mind.
I am currently looking for placement, get in touch if you would like to hire me.
- Call to action button: Go on, take a nosy
Reasoning: I included my name at the top, some relevant information about myself and what I do/the services I can offer. I might add a call to action button that playfully encourages the viewer to keep on looking – “Go on, take a nosy” seems like a cute and fun way to encourage the viewer to peruse further my website, that and it matches my friendly brand vibe.
I will also need a short introduction to some of my work – Maybe I could talk about some of the skills I used when working on the project. I will need to give a short overview and an eye-catching image to draw the viewer in.
Contact/Get in touch
I will put this information at the bottom of my website as a footer – I think this should remain consistent throughout my website, this way it will be easy to use and navigate making it easier for viewers to find my work and my socials so we can network.
- Title: Get in touch
- Call to action statement: Do feel free to stalk me online or even better contact me and maybe hire me?
- Socials to include: Email, LinkedIn, Instagram and my blog
Title: Emily Ussher
Blurb: Hello! I am just another Irish/Venezuelan Product/UX/UI designer and self-appointed explorer designing her way through life with a user centered state of mind.
I am originally from Venezuela; I found my love of art when I moved to Northern Ireland at 13 as it gave me a communication tool that I did not have at the time. My multi-cultural upbringing has offered me a different perspective and point of view – something that is always evident in my designs.
My mission is to create and showcase unique, high quality designs in an accessible manner to make users interactions with content simple and easy.
I am currently looking for placement, so get in touch if you would like to hire me.
Call to action button: Want to see more? here is my CV
App design – Bible app
- Page title: Bible travel app
- Brief: As part of our second module in first year we were tasked with creating a travel app. I decided to take a more abstract approach to it as I wanted to design an app that would stand out from the ones my peers would create.
- Software: Figma, Miro, Procreate
- Skills: Web design, Prototyping, Wireframing, User research, UX and UI design, App design.
- Call to action button: Go on, take a nosy …
- Discovery: I started off by considering all the different areas I could technically consider as ‘travel’. I considered taking a more ‘normal’ approach but eventually decided to make the project a bit more personal to myself. I realized that there was a big gap for young Christians when it came to interactive apps that would not only teach but also guide them through the years as their knowledge and understanding grows – Three Sixteen was my solution to this problem.
- Getting started on paper: A very important part of my design process is putting pen to paper. This is something I struggled with at the beginning as I was used to jumping straight into the computer. Having to slow down and actually have to think things through was a big help though. This is something I slowly became better at through the duration of my first year at university.
- The problem: I decided to create a bible app as I noticed there was a very large gap in the market for truly interactive bible based learning platforms. I was largely inspired by some of my childhood books I had growing up that were truly interactive in the way of textures, colours and imagery. I started thinking of how as I got older and my knowledge grew I started moving on from simple books to harder more in depths evaluations of the different books in the bible and how this process enabled me to further my knowledge. The problem is that this is paper based learning method that spreads out over many (very heavy) books; my aim was to digitalize this journey to create a platform were the user could learn and be guided as their knowledge grows. Three sixteen was my solution.
- Designing: After sketching out my ideas I decided to focus mainly on the younger demographic or users that would be using this learning platform. I decided to use a lot of fun, eye catching colours to appeal to that age group. I designed my illustrations in Procreate. At this time I did not have much experience with this tool so this was a very good learning opportunity for me. I created a little character to take you through the app. I gave her a map to give the idea of taking a journey through the different biblical events.
- Reflection: I was too quick to jump into procreate and I had not come to grips with wireframing at this stage – at least not correctly – I now understanding their importance and should I have a chance to work on this project again, this is one of the changes I would make to my process to improve my project
- Peer feedback: This is something I found incredibly hard to do at the beginning – giving feedback. I found that people were not quick to give feedback due to fear of offending but I found the critical feedback given to be the most useful for me as this is what helped me improve the most. Click here to see my blog post detailing how I took the feedback onboard.
- Page title: Branding
- Brief: As part of our third module in first year we were tasked with designing our own brand and to develop our identity as designers
- Software: Figma, Miro, Procreate, Photoshop, Illustrator
- Skills: Web design, Prototyping, Wireframing, User research, UX and UI design, Branding and Illustration
- Call to action button: Go on take a nosy …
- Research and discovery: A big part of my design process is based on research and experimentation. I like to record this not only on paper but also on my research blog. I do not like designing in a vacuum so a big part of my process is also looking at other more experienced designers work and creating a moodboard; I normally do this on Pinterest. I wanted to create a modern yet timeless logo and wordmark – something that I would (hopefully) not cringe at in 10 years time. I have a great love for architecture and fine art so I wanted to incorporate some of those clean, modern and at times abstract elements that I feel best describe me as a designer as I like to apply my knowledge of other artistic disciplines to my work; in fact I often am inspired by visual artists like Alex Gross, Mr. Doodle and even some past IXD students like Inga Hampton.
- Getting started on paper: Another big part of my design process is putting pen to paper. I started off by experimenting with the letters of my name to start forming my logo design. I took some wild turns along the way but I eventually designed my current logo by merging the ‘e’ in my name and the ‘u’ from my surname.
- Going digital: I created my logo and illustrations using Figma and Procreate. I decided to go with an abstract and flowy design as I felt that this would best represent me. For my visual marque I started off with a simple line drawing but then decided to showcase my illustrative skills further by making an illustration of myself that looked more realistic. The profile illustration I use in my ‘home’ page was my final outcome. Here is the Figma file for my logo design.
- Colour: I was careful in considering the colour scheme for my brand and website as I wanted to create an accessible colour scheme . I used Adobe Color to ensure my selected colours would be inclusive for all users. I decided to go for a soft, calming, fun and feminine aesthetic as I felt that it not only best described me and my personality but that it fitted my brand well also. I started by creating a gradient from my profile image for all my socials and went from there. Even before designing the new layout for my website I wanted to have a simplistic and minimal color palette as I wanted the focus to be on the work and not on the surroundings.
- Website: Research. That is how it started for me, I found that visiting other designers websites and even some design agencies was a big help in informing me what good website architecture looked like, how to prioritize content and how layout has to be carefully considerated. I explain this in more depth in my research blog. I was encouraged to wireframe my designs to better understand how my website would work – this is a skill that I have improved upon since 1st year – slowly but surely and that I am still striving to improve upon. I created the design for my website at the start through trial and error (and many wireframes). I was trying to learn HTML5 and CSS so I could write my own website from scratch however due to time constrains I changed my approach. My old website (which I constructed is still posted on GitHub though). I also go into more detail on this process on my research blog.
- Results: While there are still things I would like to change and improve upon, I have managed to create solutions that meet my current needs.