What we learned from Demystifying UX Design & Testing in HE event

Friday, March 24, 2017 10:50

Katherine Hockley by Katherine Hockley

Yesterday we attended the Demystifying UX Design and Testing in HE event over at Gordon Square. There were a range of speakers, from those who had undertaken projects which required UX design and testing to those who helped institutions and organisations to do so. 

So, what did we learn? Quite a lot, it turns out. Here are our key take away points.

READ MORE: Biggest challenges facing technology enhanced learning in higher education

There is no substitute for research. We may make a lot of assumptions about our users, but when you actually speak to them or test your product with them, the findings will always bring up surprises or unexpected results. An example of this was assuming tech-savvy people would be able to use a techy product easily, but actually they hit the most blocks as they assumed too much confidence in their ability and skipped instructions. 

  • You should drill down into your user personas, so that you are able to personalise based on their user predicted user journey. 

  • Ryan Paul Taylor, from City, University of London, found that search and navigation are some of the most important tools for their users. They had to go through a long process of auditing and migrating content in order to fit new site templates, as well as making sure they had designs for multiple devices such as desktop, mobile, and tablet. He also added they were looking into using Snapchat as a way of reaching their audience.

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  • Interactions with devices is changing - swiping up, left, and right now have universal meanings that were not applicable a decade ago. We must also remember that voice search and touch screen is on the rise, so having designs that take that into account are important, too.

  • There was an example put forward by JISC about creating a design sprint. This is where you have a few days to really hammer down on a problem and solution, refine it, develop it, and test it. By doing so you unearth and remove parts of an idea which are impractical, as well as allowing you to focus on functionality rather than aesthetics when it comes to the final product. 

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  • Finally we heard from Google, who spoke about the importance of speed in UX. Users want a webpage to load within two seconds, which is why we see an increase in Accelerated Mobile Pages, which load in one second. Another important point to note is that too many input fields for the user will likely lead to a user drop off. 

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