Sketching & Wireframing Activity

     This blog post is about the last week’s class activity in CGT 512.  And, I should say that this is by far the best class I have had in this course.  This makes me ask – Why not every class was designed like this, Dr. V ? :).  The activity was about Sketching and Wireframing for an iOS application for Purdue University Students to check their scores on Black Board.  Doek, Kanrawi and John are the people in my team.  It was very much practical and made us to implement our learning from the previous classes in this semester, this class would not have been enjoyable if we had not learned anything in them.  In short, this activity was like ‘Icing on the Cake’.  The 3 hours just flied.  What follows is the collage of our Wireframes , Sketches and our process in doing the  same.  In particular, I understood the importance value of ‘Brainstorming’ and gathering ideas.

1. Discussion of the Idea :

– Before moving in to the phase of Brainstorming, we first discussed the question. i.e., the core idea and theme of having the application.  This helped us understand the main goal of design first.

2. Brainstorming

– Then, we moved into the process of Brainstorming.  We took utmost care not to eliminate any ideas.  We gathered every idea from each of us and noted them down.

   a. Scenarios :

   First, we decided on the scenarios using the ideas.  But, for describing the describing the features – during the process, everyone came up with a mock up UI of their idea.  Every idea was different was different, unique but also sensible.

   b. Features :

   Using the scenarios, we were able to uncover the features of the application by understanding the needs of the persona in the specific scenario.  ( This is what I call, User Centered Design. ;). ).  At one point we had a confusion while discussing the features, because Me and Kanrawi were Android users, Doek and John were iOS users.  So, we had to unify the design language that we used to describe the features, navigation flow and button placements with respect to iOS.  Since, this was an iOS application.

3. Sketching & Storyboarding :

After unifying the design language of the application, everyone took a feature and started sketching the UI.  We did not have required flow and fluidity in the sheets of paper.  So, I divided the board into three sections.  One section is for everyone writing their ideas in specific categories.  The categories in one section were personas, scenarios and features.  This greatly helped us in defining the core ideas.  The other two sections were Storyboard and Wireframes.

4. Wireframing :

   Since, we had every source neatly organized in our hands and board, it was very simple to design the Wire frames.  Then, we organized everything in place for the visit by every other team that followed the activity.  Previously, in my workplace I used to draw wire frames. I felt difficulty in doing that.  Since, I was the only person who would both program and design interfaces, sometimes I would not have a clear vision.  I did not know about personas and scenarios then.  Now, I am sure that  it won’t happen again.

   Following the visit, I felt real happiness in the appreciations by the peers in the class, commenting on our storyboard designs and wire frame designs.

Thanks. :).

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Activity Reflection – User Personas for CGT Department Website

     The class activity that we had last week in our class was fun and interactive deviating from all the previous classroom styles that I have ever seen but most importantly it was fun.  I particularly liked how everyone had very serious discussions like professionals :).  I would like to start this blog post with the set of questions that my team (Eric, Jackie & Ramya) had come up in the activity and I want the readers to review those questions if they had some suggestions in the comments.

The Questions :

1. Are you a CGT Student ? If Yes, 2nd Question.  If No, the general questions for identifying the personality’s preferences.

2. What are the things that would help in accomplishing your graduation or course goals ?

3. Are you using the CGT Website ? If Yes, 4th Question. If No, the general questions for identifying the personality’s preferences.

4. How often do you use the CGT Website ?

5. What are the features and Why do you use the CGT Website ?

6. What are the features that would help more ?

7. Are you in any Special interest groups or Organizations ?

8. Where are you from ?

9. What is your favourite color ?

Image Courtesy : http://purduecco.wordpress.com/

Being the Interviewer :

– Our group specially focused not to intimidate the interviewee by continuously shooting out questions, one of us were noting down their answers, one was asking questions and the other person interacted with the interviewee.  We tried to make it more like a Informational Interview by discussing rather than asking questions continuously.

– It was fun to know about the every persona’s preference and their interests.

– I personally felt like that interviewee was affected by knowing that the discussion was going to be about. Even when we tried to ask a few general questions their answers were based on the website.

– Also, the results cannot be generalized because it comes from a very little group of representative users.

Being the Interviewed :

– Being the Interviewee, I made sure that I forgot that the interview was about the CGT website and tried to answer their questions by addressing the needs for the question.

– The wide array of questions the group that interviewed me with was entirely different from my group’s question.  They asked even what my favourite animal was.  :).  We should atleast spend 10 to 15 minutes in total for discussing the questions and how that would help on deciding the requirements for the CGT website.  I am sure everyone would have different perspectives and this would be a very good retrospective activity for knowing it.

Key improvement Areas :

– Conducting an Informational Interview / Discussion Interview rather than the panel shooting out questions.

– Keeping the questions short but at the same time being valid. This would also help in conducting User Interviews within the given time frame and budget limits.

– Focus on studying and understanding User’s Personality.

– Covering a wide range of User Personas from each ethnic group for understanding everyone’s personality.

Thanks. :).