When you try your best but you don’t sUXeed!

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If you have ever taken a trip to London, you’ll recognize what’s on this picture. It’s the Piccadilly line with its final stop in the west of London at Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5.

London Tube Map
London Tube Map – Piccadilly Line to Heathrow Airport

How is this related to Arvid Brobeck’s UX workshop my fellow content strategy students and I took at Digitas LBi in London you ask?

I feel like it reflects quite nicely how the whole journey in my group went. I was in a group with Stephanie Bauer, Katrin Burgstaller, Sarolta Hershey and Lief Erickson (unfortunately he wasn’t present). The task was to create an application that makes kids go outside and experience magical outdoor moments.

At the beginning we were determined to do the project like this:

How my group desired to do the task

But we ended up with this:

„When you try your best but you don’t succeed.“ – Coldplay

To cut it short: The process of finding a solution to Arvid Brobeck’s brief was a huge struggle. We had to question our questions, iterate the shit out of our ideas and come to the conclusion that sometimes our ideas suck. However, we had a great outcome, which was that we all learned a lot about UX and ourselves.

My three key learnings from the workshop were:

Use research that has already been done

During my bachelor’s program I was told time and time again to do my own user research. Develop task scenarios, do focus groups, create surveys and so on. Not many companies do their own usability testing, simply because it can be very costly. Bigger companies often have the budget, but still don’t see value in doing it. The company I previously interned for just recently had a usability lab built. Testing was the next big thing there. So my jaw just dropped when Arvid told us that they closed down their own usability test room because they weren’t using it enough. He also argued that most of the time the needed data gathering has already been done and is up on the internet. Especially in the early stages of research, general questions and hypothesis can be answered with data and statistics that is already available.

Asking the right questions is extremely hard

What? Why? Where? Who? When? When you’re deciding to become more involved in User Experience prepare to be a detective. You’re the Sherlock Holmes of UX searching for the right question which will provide you with the answers you truly need. This can also be combined with the above learning. Sometimes you’re asking questions that you can easily answer with available data. Find the one you really need to do testing and more research for.

Sometimes you have to corpse your dearest and nearest

My group had to learn this the very hard way… over and over again. We thought our first idea was brilliant. We had to kill it. Our second idea was even more brilliant. Didn’t meet the requirement in the brief. Had to kill it. Third idea was a safe one, or so we thought. We went with that one for quite some time but eventually had to get rid of it in London. Fourth idea was a different take on our third idea. We had to kill parts of it and just make it more simple. Then reiterate the fourth idea again and maybe we have something we can work with. It was incredibly hard to not overthink every idea or put stuff into our app that wasn’t necessarily needed to achieve the goal. Maybe it was just us, put human beings tend to overshoot the goal. They think the more ideas are put together the better, when exactly opposite true. This is something I really try to work on at the moment. Keep it simple. I really struggle, let me tell you.

Overall I really enjoyed the workshop. 10/10 would do again (but less bootcamp style please). It made me question my own work and furthermore inspired me to try harder with my UX projects.

Speaking of the London Underground, here is another very interesting article about Design and London’s beloved public transport system:

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