I’m thrilled to be starting work as a UX Designer at StarLeaf next month. StarLeaf brings people together through the power of messaging, meetings and calling; and I can’t wait to be a part of the team to help create industry leading communication products and experiences.
Allegedly, Facebook did some experimenting on a security checkup process, in which examining the privacy and security settings took only a few milliseconds for the user and wasn’t considered thorough enough. To improve the perception, Facebook added some delay, along with a fake progress bar, so that users could get a better understanding about the thoroughness of this process.
We naturally design to try and reduce friction, yet sometimes friction is needed to actually enhance the user experience. This article by Zoltan Kollin provides a wonderfully comprehensive overview and examples of where adding delays and additional steps is a desirable quality within a product.
Now Playing. Now Improved. Redesigning the Now Playing sheet within the Apple Music.app to improve usability by intuitively designing controls layout and interface elements.
When it comes to reading, most of us read from left to right, but as humans we reach things from the bottom up.
If you design with this in mind, it’s called ‘Reachable UI’.
This is a way of thinking that more designers need to seriously consider; as devices get taller, interactions need to be increasingly accessible from the bottom of the screen.
I found it was quite difficult to figure out what was ergonomically sound without an actual device to test on.
Then, Ben built an iPhone X.
I love this. Since the app was being designed before the iPhone X had been revealed, let alone shipped, it was absolutely necessary to get a feel for its proportions.
Buttons that require a tap were put in the area that was best for interacting
The bottom quarter of the screen. Makes sense.
We adjusted these to fit the ergonomics of the new device; for exposure adjustment, we ensured you could compensate for at least 5 EV (exposure values) with your thumb, giving you great exposure adjustment without requiring serious finger gymnastics.
The importance of ergonomics within an app’s design cannot be understated. Not only does this make the UI more functional, but to the user the entire app feels like a better thought out and more cohesive experience – not a battle against the screen to access functions.
In the case of Halide, buttons that require taps are in the bottom quarter of the screen, and functions that can be controlled with less accuracy such as a swipe, in the prime space where thumbs can pivot yet don’t need to reach the opposite side of the device.
Testing on a physical mockup proves valuable; speeding up the learning process in-house rather than when the app ships, leading to a better first experience for users.
Introducing Penny. An intelligent money assistant designed to keep you up to date with your spending, and keep you motivated towards sticking to a budget and reaching your savings goals.
gunatitjyot.org is a website I lead technical development for with the help of a team of volunteers for my religious organisation. The website has an audience around the world wanting to keep up to date on the organisation’s latest activities, events, and spiritual material, as well as new visitors coming to learn about the religion.
In late 2017, the team, led by myself, began to evaluate how the website could provide a better user experience for visitors. This included the kinds of content on offer, how they were organised and structured on the site, and the visual design of the website.
This blog post will continue to be updated as the needs of users of the website are discovered and new solutions are tested for the redevelopment of gunatitjyot.org.
Comfort is a simple, yet powerful control to managing home heating, delivering state of the art features, without requiring a smartphone. Comfort appeals to a wide audience by delivering modern conveniences in a familiar and simple to use package.
The idea for Comfort came after a year of working for domestic heating market leaders; Worcester Bosch as a Product Management Intern with constant exposure to a spectrum of end users and installers from which key insights could be drawn.
For the past year, I have been on an industrial placement for the sandwich year of my degree working at Worcester Bosch as a Product Management Intern.
I started the role not very sure what product management was, having only read about careers in PRM online, discovering that it could vary significantly between companies. If you want to see what I did at Bosch, my CV is the best place to check that out.
I started the year with three goals:
- To see the development and strategy behind products
- To understand how individual departments come together to create successful products
- To learn about the processes and work culture in a large organisation
A year at Bosch has allowed for me to meet these goals, whilst at the same time giving me a significantly clearer view of where I want to go in the future; UX design.
The processes used by Bosch has opened my mind to the many facets involved with developing a product, and how this is managed. Product Management’s breadth of involvement across the company, how every department is affected and depended on by PRM to ensure the development and delivery of a single product, is impressive. Each PRM is the CEO of a product, and has to ensure each division of their company is on board.
Supporting UX sessions was a task I had from my third week since starting, and since then it has made me realise a lot about my own future career. One of the reasons I wanted to work at Bosch was to see how the idea for a product is realised and how it goes from an idea into a brief, then a concept. Contrasting with university, the brief is usually already set, or an idea is already in mind, so to see the step before this was hugely insightful.
This was perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of my role; to be able to explore ideas that might not hit the market for perhaps another 5 years. I was fascinated by how user experience sessions were conducted, how people’s commentary was turned into insights and understandings, with which, the premise for a new product, vision or feature could be found. From this, I have been able to develop skills in how to identify different consumer needs and form insights from research; a critical element to any future design work.
I’ve long seen myself somewhere in between Product Management and R&D, which is one of the reasons I took this placement, to find out which works better for me. The high level of thinking, analysis, understanding, and strategic planning required to be a product manager was something that I loved. I also enjoyed being able to seek customer insights and use this to help define the direction of products in the future, but I would also like to be able to turn some of this direction into designs and concepts, since it is the next logical step.
This highlights to me that I absolutely cannot avoid the design itself – I want to be able to sweat the small stuff, see, and create the future. This is why for me, being a UX designer makes more sense at the moment; PRM own the product across the entire company, managing it end to end, but I want to focus on just shipping a damn good product.
Being at Bosch also showed me something very important about large companies; that even though the company is vast and full of process and procedure, you can never undervalue the sense of togetherness that being in a team can bring, especially when your efforts are recognised and rewarded in ways a process could never deliver.
My manager recognised that I had an interest in pursuing UX design, and ensured that I made it to Germany to attend a UX conference Bosch had organised. This also coincided with another opportunity with the Head of Industrial Design for Bosch Thermotechnology, also in Germany.
I had a fantastic time being in Product Management for a year at Bosch. By creating my own opportunities and being able to make an impact on the future of the company, I feel proud of the work I have undertaken throughout the year, and am also deeply thankful for the support I received to make it happen. Importantly, it helped provide direction on what I want to do in my future, what industries I want to work in, and what working for a well established company is like.
Looking forward to the next year, I want to build on my experiences at Bosch and continue to work with them for my final year design project where I am re-evaluating how consumers interact with their heating system and design a solution that truly meets the needs, wants, and insights gained from consumers. This is directly considering what the future of heating could be, and something I hope will be insightful to Bosch upon completion.
M&S Boutique differentiates the brand from its competitors by offering a unique retail experience, leading to better discovery of products where each boutique stall showcases a product category and delivers a connected, personalised shopping experience
Great read! Interesting to see how designers create a positive user experience, even if it is all psychological.