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Academy Xi Blog

Take a step into the world of UX Design

By Academy Xi

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If you took one step today and doubled it everyday for 30 days, how far would you walk?

The answer is: one billion and seventy three million metres: or the equivalent of walking around the world 26 times!

This is an example of Moore’s Law, a law which predicts foreseeable trends in technology. The law suggests that computing power doubles approximately every 18 months, resulting in exponential growth. As technology disrupts our lives faster than ever before, designing experiences that are user friendly and human-centred has become a key priority for many businesses.

User Experience Design (UX) is recognised by employers and businesses as an important, strategic role in the delivery of successful digital products. Whether it’s a mobile app or a website, UX has become one of the rock star roles of Digital Design.

Sofia Thompson, a UX Lead Change Agent, explains that designing user friendly and human-centred experiences is achieved through “conducting ample research via workshops, focus groups, interviews, and surveys to understand the needs and wants of the end user.”

Sofia believes that simplifying content will be a major trend this year, with filtration and search engine optimisation vital in preventing users from information overwhelm. 

Information overwhelm occurs when a user is presented with a multitude of choices, creating a paradox of choice. This could be a number of call-to-action (CTA) buttons on a website, or even a menu containing too many food options. What do you do when you’re confronted with an overload of possibilities?

UX is about making these choices simple for the user, actively curating the journey they take in pressing the right button on the website, or the ability to make a fast decision when ordering a meal.

Previously, Sofia conducted usability testing with Bunnings Warehouse. In looking at the homeware giant’s search engine optimisation, Sofia found that generating automatic key words and check boxes would help users narrow down their product searches. This removed the complexity of searching through thousands of store products and ultimately narrowed down the user’s choice to a manageable array of relevant options.

Another UX trend on the rise that’s also relieving customer pain points is  voice-user interfaces (VUI). With VUI, the process of users filling out online forms can be improved, replacing manual labour with hands-free, voice activation. This enhances the ease and speed of the user’s experience and also the website’s overall accessibility.

Keeping up-to-date with these latest trends has a significant impact on the role of a UX Designer. Sofia believes, “UX Designers must have the ability to forecast the effort and time the project will require well ahead of a build.”

“Validating the latest learnings through the build, measure, and learn process enables evaluation of good and bad design,” Sofia adds. “Being able to rationalise good versus bad design is critical to the role.”

In the world of UX, diverse opportunities exist for designers, including: research, information architecture, prototyping, and usability testing. Movements within technology help evolve a UX Designer’s creative problem solving capabilities.

The ability to tell a great story and having a quality folio of work is key to being a successful UX Designer. Sofia recommends the best way to develop UX competencies is to learn them from people who are experts in the industry. These experts have a wealth of success and failures that they’re ready to share. “Adopting the ability to critically analyse and rationalise good design enables the successful execution of a well-defined solution.”

Launch your future in User Experience Design with expert career tips here.

Academy Xi Blog

Academy Xi Launches Indigenous Australian UX Design Scholarship with Isobar

By Academy Xi

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Academy Xi announced today their inaugural scholarship with Isobar. The Founding Futures scholarship has been created to offer Indigenous Australians training in User Experience (UX) Design. 

A tuition scholarship will be awarded to a talented individual interested in jump-starting their career in UX Design.

The Founding Futures scholarship is worth $10,000 per intake and will go towards Academy Xi’s 10-week, full-time UX Transform course. The course is created by industry experts and leading practitioners to place students at the forefront of UX Design. The aim of the course is to equip students with the skills, network and knowledge to dive straight into a career in UX Design.

There are no pre-required skills to be eligible for the scholarship, applicants just need a passion for problem-solving and a desire to make a positive impact in the world.

 

The Founding Futures scholarship aims to:

  • Support students in acquiring knowledge in this cutting-edge domain
  • Activate User Experience career opportunities for Indigenous Australians
  • Assist students in forging professional networks; and
  • Provide the necessary experience to find fulfilling and creative employment as a User Experience Designer

 

For Ben Wong, CEO of Academy Xi, this scholarship is another opportunity to drive diversity in the design industry: “We built Academy Xi to create purpose. We have a lot of plans for doing amazing things in the future, and now our focus is on how to work with top companies to support our vision and empower the community of future designers.”

These skills aren’t currently accessible to everyone. “These are skills that everyone should be learning, and unfortunately not everyone has the access and ability to learn these skills”, the CEO shares. 

We’re constantly seeing professionals upskilling to high-demand careers, but we’re committed to bringing in more students from different backgrounds. Many of our courses don’t require previous industry experience. The UX course requires people with a willingness to learn, an ability to be empathetic, and to have determination.”

Charbel Zeaiter, co-founder of Academy Xi said: “Partnering with Isobar with this wonderful scholarship program is just one part of our aligned vision to create a better human experience. Whilst many companies have diversity and inclusion policies in place, our companies are actively working on ways to create positive environments where we live and breathe diversity and inclusion. Working directly with many of Isobar’s team members in Melbourne, Sydney and Hong Kong, we’re committed to positive change.”

Konrad Spilva, CEO of Isobar Group ANZ said: “In today’s industry of rapidly growing interfaces, UX design has become increasingly important so we are excited to partner with Academy Xi on this scholarship and look forward to empowering the next generation of UX Designers. Programs like this help students excel and succeed when they otherwise might not have the opportunity.

About Academy Xi

Academy Xi is an education technology startup — based in Sydney and Melbourne — dedicated to making a positive global impact and closing the digital skills gap by teaching the skills of the future. They offer professional full-time courses, short courses, and cutting-edge workshops in User Experience Design, Growth Marketing, Service Design, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality.

About Isobar

Isobar is a global, digital agency with 6,000 people in over 85 locations across more than 45 markets united by their capability and experience in unlocking the potential of organisations through digital technology. They are a trusted client partner known for creating innovative products that generate value, supported by compelling and reliable ecosystems and communicated through inspirational marketing. They transform businesses, brands and people’s lives with the creative use of digital.

Academy Xi Blog

Creating a User Persona (Free Templates)

By Academy Xi

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Creating a User Persona

The start of the User Experience (UX) Design process involves user research. It’s the process of data collection that provides an in-depth, holistic view of your user’s motivations, behaviours, and ways of interacting with your product.

UX Designer will always rely on user research that can be compiled from a combination of one-on-one interviews, card sorting, surveys or personas.

Arguably, user research is the most important component of UX Design; the user research phase is vital in crafting delightful customer experiences that are user-friendly and human-centric.

One method of user research is the creation of a user persona.

A user persona is:

  • An archetype or a fictional representation of people researched
  • A group of people with similar traits represented as a single person
  • A personified expression of a noticeable trend

Create your own user persona with our free persona template.

The Value of User Personas

By crafting the right user persona, you can visualise exactly what visitors are doing on your website. This gives a greater understanding of users and provides more insight than a survey for example.

Personas help drive design and feature decisions, and their benefit can be summarised as:

  • Helping identify a user’s needs
  • Highlighting a customer’s desires
  • Focusing on your audience’s challenges
  • Creating a User Persona

There are two types of personas; lean (proto) and detailed. Proto-personas engage stakeholders and efficiently communicate a user’s story. Detailed personas are becoming less and less common as they require significant validation and take longer to develop than a proto-persona.

Simplified steps to creating a user persona:

  1. Compile data and insights from your research
  2. Group your findings into a spreadsheet or create an Affinity Map
  3. Identify behavioural traits and the demographics of your users to understand how they interact with your product

Have a go at creating your own persona. Download template here.

Developing UX artefacts and conducting user research is a fundamental UX Design principle ensuring UX Designers are better placed to remove any assumptions and biases, validate a problem statement, and thoroughly test a hypothesis. Detailed user personas remind UX Designers to keep their user at the centre of their work.

Get hands-on and learn how to create a user persona and more. Launch your career in UX Design today.

Academy Xi Blog

What is User Experience (UX) Design & the processes?

By Academy Xi

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Leave behind what you know and start with a clean state.

Welcome to User Experience (UX) Design —an approach bent on providing users with exceptional, intuitive, and seamless experiences, leaving them satisfied with what they were looking to achieve.   

UX Design involves unlearning the assumptions that every marketer, developer, and designer has of their customers. UX Designers rely on research, to better understand the motivations and pain points of a user.

What is UX Design?

Simply put, UX is the process of understanding and designing to solve problems, creating greater satisfaction. It’s about solving problems for real people in real contexts.

UX Design takes into context who the user is and the circumstances in which the product will be used. Being a user-centric process that goes beyond simply executing customer feedback, UX is a utilitarian approach that aims to provide the best solution to the greatest number of users within the product’s target audience.

UX Design focuses on a person’s interaction with any product and ensures their needs are met through meaningful designs and solutions. A UX Designer is concerned with how you shop on your favourite         e-commerce website, book a flight online, or navigate an internet banking transaction – ensuring these experiences delight and allow you to do what you intend, seamlessly.

User Interface (UI) vs User Experience (UX)

UX Design is not interchangeable with User Interface (UI) Design even though the two disciplines are closely interrelated. UI Design focuses on designing visual assets and on-screen interactions, as well as additional elements such as responsiveness. UX Design is concerned with the underlying function of UI. UX Design allows the product to work well for the user.

“You can have an application with a stunning design that is clunky to use (good UI, bad UX). You can also have an application that has a poor look and feel, but is very intuitive to use (poor UI, good UX).” — Helga Moreno for One Extra Pixel.

UX Design also plays a pivotal part in product creation. It’s a common misconception that UX Design is similar to Graphic Design. In truth, UX Design is not merely concerned with aesthetics. In fact, UX Design acts as a bridge between visual design and function, as well as the look and feel of a product.

The UX Design process

Strategy and research

Strategy and research is the start of the UX Design process. To create something truly insightful, meaningful, and useful, a deep understanding of your business’ goals and customers’ problems is required.

Designing a solution is useless unless you spend time understanding the goals of your customers. Meeting with users is critical, to ask them questions about your product and their experience of it: Is it useful? Is it desirable? Is it what you truly need?

We invest in research to avoid building the wrong usable thing. There are a variety of research techniques, from one-on-one interviews, providing a deeper understanding of our customers, to contextual inquiries or field studies, which give the opportunity to observe people in the real context of how they’re experiencing problems. This in turn allows UX Designers to think about how they might solve these problems.

Personas

To give further form to consumer research insights, we enter the analysis stage of the UX process. 

In the time-poor reality of today, most companies don’t have the luxury of lengthy research processes. UX Designers use proto-personas to gain an understanding of users before moving onto concept and validation.

persona is an archetype or a fictional representation of the customer group experiencing problems. Personas are used to drive design and feature decisions, focusing the product team on creating the right solution for the customer, thus reducing the subjective nature of feature decision-making.

From there, a customer journey is created, to show the process and journey a customer follows in order to achieve their goals. More than just a step-by-step task process, customer journeys are an important technique used to understand the time, context, device and most importantly, the feelings of the customer.

Concept, validation, and design

If we dive straight into the design process without having completed the previous stages, we’ve done so with very little but assumptions. Which means we run the risk of designing for ourselves, based on our needs instead of real users’ needs. It is critical to keep customers at the core of the UX process.

UX Design develops and evolves with technology. Borrowing heavily from the Agile process and Google’s famous 5-day sprints, modern UX Designers are moving away from waterfall delivery and are adopting a rapid, lean, and focused approach to releasing a product that can be built, tested, and validated quickly.

The concept and design phase gives the opportunity to explore low fidelity concepts, show them to real customers, hence probing if the product or feature is a truly useful, usable, and meaningful solution. This is a collaborative, iterative process which is critical in establishing the fundamental User Experience of the product.

Using low fidelity methods such as whiteboards and paper allow UX Designers to adapt and refine quickly before becoming attached to a particular design solution.

Creation

If you’ve worked with an Information Architect before, you’re likely to be familiar with this phase. It’s about creating wireframes and the design blueprint that details the page hierarchical structure, content areas, as well as the interactions between functions and pages.

In this design sprint approach, UX Designers work closely with Developers to ensure that they’re building the right thing at the right time and solving the right problem for the right customer.

Why is UX Design important?

UX Design considers all aspects of the user’s interaction with a product by ensuring its features and design are optimised, useful, desirable, necessary, and reflective of both the brand and client’s needs.

A UX Designer works at fulfilling a company’s objectives by satisfying the needs, goals, and motivations of a user. By considering the human experience above other elements, UX Design plays a fundamental role in retaining the attention and loyalty of users.

The value of UX Design doesn’t end after a product launch date, but involves itself throughout the product’s lifespan, using feedback to develop and roll out updates that continue to generate customer satisfaction.

Good UX Design has the potential of increasing and retaining users, directly impacting a company’s bottom line. Bad UX Design, on the other hand, encourages users to take their business elsewhere. 

With user research as a guiding light, every element and process of UX Design is prioritised and justified by data, ensuring a product is designed to satisfy a real user. For businesses of all sizes, the value of UX Design in a product’s creation and development is unquestionable.

Ensure you understand the fundamentals of UX Design and give your users the right experience by joining one of our UX courses today.