I am a UX designer with experience as an AR/VR designer developing an AR game in Unity, front-end developer for 2 years at Amadeus Software Labs and a software engineer for an Internet of Things start-up.
I like reading a lot. Love to travel and explore. I believe we should everyday try to do something that makes us afraid because fear is what brings out our true self. I like to play ping pong and hope to play against Xu Xin someday.
Helping baby boomers request for timely technical assistance.Role
Followed the entire user-centered design process involving interviews, sketches, personas and prototypes and came up with an app Tecaid.What is Tecaid?
Tecaid is an app that helps baby boomers request for timely technical assistance from local neighborhood high school students looking for community service credit.PROCESS FOLLOWED
Baby boomers struggling to complete daily tasks through the use of technology and in turn, reaching out to their children as tech support.Competitive analysis
I looked at various competitors working on solving the same problem like SkillfulSenior.com, Teamviewer,LogMeIn, Eldy etc. Each one of them assumed that either the elderly person has some knowledge of computer or has someone to help them in case of technical urgency.Sketches
I started brainstorming the potential solutions by sketching them. Some of the solutions were asking local children for help, doing google search, asking a librarian, etc.Scenario
I came up with a scenario for all my solutions where I thought it could be used. Below is the scenario for my actual solution.Personas
To analyse my solution and making sure that I am designing for my target user during every phase of the design process, I came up with a persona. It would also help me at the end to measure the success of the product.Interviews
I conducted interviews with a few baby boomers and some important things surfaced.
Thus I shifted my focus to connecting baby boomers to high school children as by the above reasoning, the high school students would have much more motivation to help and also the security issue is somewhat eliminated.Brainstorming
While brainstorming with 2 of my peers:
I did the QOC analysis, to evaluate the features I want to put in the app and came up with 3 potential solutions and made paper prototypes out of them.
I tested my paper prototype with the same baby boomers and my peers to get their feedback. After several round of iterations, I was able to finalise a solution. Check out the video for the paper prototype here.Digital prototype
After that I converted the paper prototype into digital prototype to be developed into an app.
Finding gaps in the order fulfilment process of New Eagle.Role
User experience researcherOverview
Conducted contextual inquiry and created an affinity wall to study and find out the gaps in the order fulfilment process of New Eagle.Who is New Eagle?
New Eagle is a mechatronics control systems solutions expert that helps a customer take his or her idea to prototype phase or to the market in the quickest way possible.PROCESS FOLLOWED
To get a sense of our client’s domain and the problem they are facing. The biggest challenge for New Eagle was that too many of their processes on the operations side were manual and the systems weren’t speaking to each other.
We identified key stakeholders, did interviews in contextual inquiry style while interpreting them side by side, did background research and constructed an affinity wall. We found 5 main issues:
The key themes were discussed with our client contact to find out the most problematic area which when solved will help them the most. 3 key themes emerged from this phase.Recommendations
After brainstorming, we came up with 2 short term/low impact and and 1 long term/high impact solutions.
1. Going paperless (Short term/low impact) – Using LilyPad, a plugin for Fishbowl, the order fulfilment software currently in place, which extend its capabilities to other devices like tablets, smartphones etc.
2. Improving the webstore (Short term/low impact) – Adding more payment options for the client apart from the existing credit card payment only. Showing prices to customers but showing discounted prices to premium customers.
3. Implementing a CRM (long term/high impact) – Implementing an ERP (Enterprise resource planning) system like BizSlate which integrates with their existing accounting software and helps in managing inventory and orders.
Our recommendations were highly appreciated and appraised by the entire operations team of new Eagle. Out of the 3 recommendations we recommended, 2 of them are currently being implemented.Learnings from the process:
Helping people manage everyday stressOverview:
Created an anxiety relief band: stil that helps people in managing everyday stress. Conducted user research using interviews and surveys, brainstormed and sketched concepts, prototyped a looks like and works like model and showcased the same in a trade show.
I along with my 6 other team members (2 MBAs, 1 art and design, 1 engineering and 2 UX design students) developed an anxiety relief wristband that helps people in managing everyday stress. While creating it, we went from a completely ambiguous phase of where we had to create a wearable that can be worn routinely in daily life and solves some need, to presenting a fully developed product in a trade show. During the process we talked to anxiety attack sufferers and medical professionals to make sure that we solve the user’s need.
I led the user research phase by conducting the interviews with anxiety attack sufferers and medical professionals and deriving important insights from them to drive the direction of the concept. I created a conjoint analysis survey through which we could analyse the combination of features that was most preferred by our users. I also helped the team in concept testing, creating the website for the product, coming up with visual design for the product and realizing the works like model.Problem Statement
As a part of the course on Integrated Product development, we were given a problem statement of creating a wearable that can be worn routinely and that solves a particular need for the user.Process followed
As we began to work on this problem, among the team we identified the fact that the wearable market space seems to be saturated and unless the product does something essential that is not covered by wearables like fitbit and Apple watch, it would not be perceived well by the users.Brainstorming
We started looking at all the problems we could think of that needs to be solved. At this point we just wanted to throw everything we had on the whiteboard.
Then we grouped together similar ideas into some broad themes.
Going with our initial assumption of the wearable market being saturated, we decided to focus on a niche market instead. With this criterion in mind, we started to vote and ended up with acute health management and daily health as 2 prospective areas of research.
We split the team into 2 and researched both areas for a week.
In the end each group presented their findings to the other.
Then we went with the consensus and went with the concept that we as a team thought was feasible, niche and worth pursuing based on our intuition. This concept was related to solving the needs for anxiety sufferers.
We began to explore this idea with full force starting with interviewing people who suffered with either mild anxiety or extreme anxiety and by talking to medical professionals.
Some insights we got were:
In parallel, we continued our research and looking at research papers to increase our clarity of the anxiety detection
process and the measures taken to manage it. Some takeaways here were:
We positioned our product to handle stress before it reaches the tip-off point.
We came up with 5 different concepts in which this problem could be solved.
We looked at 2 competitor products as well to make sure that our product is different from what is already present in the market and to see if the users prefer them over our chosen concepts.
For concept testing, we mixed up all the products and presented them to 50 of our users (this included people who did not suffer from anxiety attacks but mild stress).
From the concept testing, the patch and one wrist wearable had the highest potential market share and the expected value. The ring wearable was less popular, particularly in male populations.
Thus we arrived at the following conclusions:
In order to decide on the optimum set of features to put in and among the 2 concepts from the concept testing, we created a card sorting survey with different cards showing the device location and the feedback mechanism with respect to price. The respondents were asked to arrange the cards in their preference order from highest to lowest.
Some of the findings from the conjoint analysis were:
Thus after putting this all together, we created a looks like model and works like model.
The looks like model had 2 options:
Sensors used - Pulse and skin conductance sensors
Output - Soothing vibrations and LED lights guide user through boxed breathing technique
Here is the video of the works like model
In the end we developed a website and a marketing video in order to showcase our product at the mock tradeshow setup and selling it to the customers who arrived.
Helping high school students fight against climate changeRole
Principal UX designerOverview
Designed a role playing video game to make high school students take action to curb climate change in a virtual environment.Initial Problem statement
Develop a videogame to mitigate climate change.Stakeholder interviews
Talked to a number of people in order define the problem in a better way.
We talked to 30+ stakeholders (which kept on adding during the process) and gathered data through them and came up with 4 major key takeaways.
On running our concept through one of the educational experts, he mentioned that he loves the creative part of tricking kids into learning.Empathy Map
We created an empathy map to find out the pain and gain points of high school students who would be somewhat interested in climate change.
From the empathy map, we grouped the pain points into some common themes.
We decided to follow the path of action items and thus came up with a “how might we?”Problem statement
How might we make high school students do something about climate change in a feasible way.
Then we sketched out a few solutions.
Among the many different solutions, based on some factors like feasibility and favorability among team members, we came up with a solution.Solution
Role Playing mobile game that makes high school students take action to curb climate change in a virtual environment.Competitive Analysis
We looked at 4 other popular games directly/indirectly related to climate change – Eco, climate change, Fate of the world and Sim City 5. We found that none of them focuses specifically on climate change, donates revenues towards climate change or allows teachers to use it as an evaluation tool.Surveys
The survey was meant to analyse the awareness of high school students about climate change, their excitement level for a game related to climate change and if they would be willing to pay for it.Survey Results
Many high school students said that they know climate change is an issue but it is not highlighted enough. They were not really sure what they can do in regards to the same.
Below image shows how the results change when the users know that their money is going to an environmental charity.
Thus we began with working on the prototype for the game. Below are some of the initial designs for the prototype.
Later on owing to the pervasiveness of mobile phones, we decided to make it as a phone game and went through another round of iteration before reaching the final design of prototype.
Check out the interactive prototype here
Screenshots of the final prototype
Did it work?
We tested the prototype with random people at the University of Michigan, Central campus. We also went to a high school- Star International Academy in Dearborn Heights, to test it out with high school students.
The concept garnered positive reviews and was seen as a way good way of making people learn about climate change
Some of the feedbacks we got were:Learnings from the process
Improving the usability of PIMS databaseRole
UX ResearcherClient overview Client problem RESEARCH PROCESS
There were some areas that we particularly focused on while conducting our research: Participant home form, participant home visit form, standard reports and custom query.Methods
Attitudes: Overall people have a favorable attitude toward the database
Behaviors: The number one use of the database is for data entry
Characteristics: Data entry and custom queries were some of the areas for frustration
AR game design
This project came about as Phab 2 Pro, Lenovo’s new flagship phone has just come out and they were looking for content for it in order to market it better. T1DAR is an augmented reality game with a purpose to teach kids suffering from Type1 diabetes about how to take care of themselves, by making them take care of a type 1 diabetic pet. It is intended for kids in the age group 8-12 and suffering from Type 1 diabetes, whose parents want them to take up a sense of responsibility for their own health.Why is it a problem?
a. Kids suffering from Type 1 diabetes go through a lot of struggle in managing it.
b. They have to make sure to estimate the amount of carbs in the food they are going to eat correctly and then give themselves the correct amount of insulin. Moreover, they have to do it for all the meals that they are going to eat which is too much burden for a kid less than 8 years old. c. The amount of insulin to be taken for a specific amount of carbs in a meal, can be very difficult to compute as well. Moreover, they have to make sure to take into account the carb ratio and correction factor as well. d. The educational material provided by clinicians is too long and hard to remember for kids. e. During the initial years of their life, their parents take care of it. But with time, the parents want the children to take responsibility of their own health.
To come with a prototype for a game that is fun, engaging, conveys all the learning points and can be tested with the kids at C.S.Mott children’s hospital.My role
a. Worked as a game designer to come up with different levels of the game. Brainstormed, sketched, storyboarded and critiqued the different ideas to come up with the design of the level. b. Prototyped the game in Unity going through various design sprints. c. Conducted usability tests and A/B tests for validation.Objectives/success criteria
Before we started working, we decided to define some key objectives that could help guide us through the design process. Some of the main objectives were:
a. To make the game fun and engaging.
b. Explain the concept of carb ratio, correction factor, insulin, glucagon etc. to an 8-12 year old diabetic kid.
a. In order to understand more about Type 1 diabetes, we invited Dr. Joyce Lee, prof. of pediatrics in the Umich Medical school who explained us about diabetes and the common struggles associated with it.
b. Apart from that we carefully observed our in-house patient, a 12 year old girl suffering from Type 1 diabetes and asked her questions at regular intervals to make sure we understood the problem clearly. We were very keen to notice how she calculated the amount of carbs in a given food and what kind of food she preferred.
c. We performed competitive analysis, to see which all games are out there who are trying to do the same.Current situation
This is the actual kit used by Type 1 diabetic kids. Just by looking at the kit it can become extremely overwhelming for a 8 year old kid.
An insulin pump: currently used by Alexis to calculate the amount of insulin ot give herself.
Glucagon: Whenever the patient’s diabetes becomes too high and gets out of control, glucogon is injected into them to get it back to normal. But It has to be done by someone else.
Educational material provided is too much for a kid to grasp and remember.Execution
a. We worked in 2-3 week design sprints following a strict agile methodology. At the end of each sprint, we tested the prototype with a participant.
During the sprint, we started off with a brainstorming session, sketching the level design and then prototyping the same in Unity.
Rather than having conventional pets, we decided to have a dragon as a pet.
Having a mini game where the kids would toss the food to boards with a random set of numbers with one of the number being the correct carb amount of the food.
Helping the kids, plan a meal of 100 carbsObjective #2: How to make the game engaging?
Introduced a timer to have a sense of urgency and a Health Bar to get an accurate feedback of their actions.
Have a set of fireworks to have a sense of accomplishment when a kid completes the level.Objective #3: How to make the game educational and cover all the learning points?
The first level acted as a tutorial for the kids in order to adjust them to the game settings.
Explaining the basic concepts such as target blood sugar level, to the kids.
Making the kids remember the carb amount in a food using practical scenarios.Conclusion
For conducting usability testing of the game, we tested it by making the kids play the game before we received it with the one that we received afterwards and having them take a survey. We conducted this test with 6 target (or close) users.
A list of questions we asked the kids while conducting usability test.
After compiling the results of the survey, we were able to increase the engagement by 2.5% and the educational value by 5%.Next steps
We had started with the design of next level. However, there were still some things that if given time we would have liked to do.
Making the menu items in a semi circular layout
Add an accurate visual representation of the quantity of food items. For e.g. 1cup of Milk, 1 cup of juice, 1 bowl of watermelon, 1 tsp. of sugar etc.Looking back or learnings from the process
a. A game involves many complex interactions and thus it has to be prototyped (developed) in order for the person testing it to get the context right.
b. The ability to exxplain the design changes to a designer which involves changes in their previously employed code is a very important and useful skill.
c. Augmented reality is a very new concept and many people still don’t get the context. Thus making sure that the instructions which corresponds to the augmented reality part of the game are understood by an novice AR user, can go a long way.
d. Hardness of a level in a game needs to be properly balanced. If too hard, the participant gives up but if too easy, it becomes uninteresting. Thus, having a level a little on the harder side makes the user remember the things taught.
e. When aiming for a MVP, try to use and re-use as much of the interactions from the previous level as possible. This ensures consistency and make the player feel comfortable with the game. In terms of prototyping, it makes the task easier.
The Honors program is a department within the College of Literature, Science and the Arts at the University of Michigan. This department maintains the LSA Honors website, which contains information for prospective and current students, faculty and staff, and alumni.Context
The Honors program recently shifted its website to a new Content management system. Thus the staff is forced to transfer all the information from the old website to the new website template which has caused problems in the way information is organized and presented.
This problem exacerbated when the number of emails from students unable to find information on the website; to the Honors staff increased. Thus, the staff realized the potential usability issues with the website including confusing navigation and text heaviness on some of the pages.My role
I collaborated with 4 other students from School of Information and was actively involved in each stage of usability evaluation.
a. Conducted interviews (as an interviewee and a note-taker)
b. Performed comparative analysis, heuristic evaluation and usability (both acting as a moderator and a note-taker)
c. Collaborated in the creation of a survey
As we started, we had the goal of making the LSA Honors website more usable and useful for current students.Success criteria
Reduced number of emails from current students, asking about the information already listed on the website.Scoping
Upon recommendation from the client and the current students being the major users of the website, we decided to narrow down our scope and focus only on the current students’ section.Research Methodology
Research Method#1 : Interaction Mapping
A static representation of the LSA Honors website highlighted all the possible action states and thus any navigation issues (if 2 actions lead to the same place) with the website.
Research Method#2 : Interviews
We conducted interviews with 5 current LSA Honors students to find out about the kind of information they look for and the methods employed by them in order to find it.
Research Method#3 : Comparative analysis
Through this, we wanted to see how other similar websites handle the issues related to information hierarchy, navigation structure etc.
Presentation of information by LSA Sweetland writing center website.
Research Method#4 : Surveys
To find quantitative data about the information seeking behavior and the overall attitude of current students towards the website. Received a total of 28 responses.
In person help was the most frequently utilized method for finding information on the LSA Honors website.
Research Method#5 : Heuristic evaluation
Our goal here was to identify usability issues and areas where the site could be improved. We used heuristics like Visibility of System Status, Consistency and Standards, accessibility etc. to conduct our evaluation.
Using WAVE Accessibility system detects issues such as missing alt text, empty heading and links, problematic alt texts, etc.
Research Method#6 : Usability testing
We conducted usability tests with 5 current students to identify how several features of the website like top-level and side navigation menus, quick links, search bar, accordions, headings etc. are helping the users to find the information they are looking for.
Due to large amounts of text on pages, users used Ctrl+F (browser find functionality) to look for information.Main findings and recommendations
1) Navigation terminology could be improved: Information about some topics could be found at more than 2 places which makes it hard for the user to remember where to find it. Also, when asked to find out about the Sophomore Honors award, all our usability test participants looked under Honors Awards and Grants page, which is understandable. However, the information is located under the Sophomore students page or the Honors requirements page.
a. More descriptive titles can be used for the pages that help the users in understanding what the page might contain.
The Graduation for Honors Majors page talks in great detail about the process of completing an Honors Thesis, which is something that users may not be able to guess from the page title.
2) Unclear information hierarchy on a page, which makes the pages hard to skim and thus relevant information being buried in a heap of text.
a. Many pages contain just a wall of text. b. Pages lack headings and subheadings.
a. Add proper subheadings.
b. Make use of lists, indentation and bolded text to emphasize important information.
LSA Sweetland writing center’s website uses bold texts and headings which makes it really easy to locate information.
3) Accessibility issues - Recently, University of California Berkeley was asked to take off some of its free educational
content as it was not accessible to people who were blind, deaf or hard of hearing. Read the complete article
Owing to that, we checked the website for accessibility standards and found several issues:
a. Alt text attribute not set for many images, thus using the website could be challenge for screen reader users.
In addition, Heading levels are often skipped, and b tags are often used instead of h headings, which keeps screen reader users from skimming the webpage.
b. Color contrast below the 4.5:1 standard. Sometimes there is low contrast between the different elements on the page.
c) Use of b tags for headings. Screen reader applications rely on heading tags to jump to different parts of the page. Incorrect use of heading tags decreases the skimmability of the webpages for screen reader users.
a. Add meaningful alt text to images. This will make sure that the website complies with the ADA (Americans with disabilities act) and make it more accessible to its diverse range of users.
b. Using proper HTML tags for headings (h2, h3 instead of h4 and b). Adding proper HTML tags like h2, h3 rather than b, would make it easier for screen reader users to skim the webpages.
c. Use color contrast checker to make sure the color contrast meets the standard.
a. Research and analyze the more frequently visited pages using Google analytics data and use these findings to inform a redesign of the website’s information hierarchy.
b. Complete a card sorting activity, in which participants organize topics into categories that make more sense to them, to reorganize the website’s information.
1) Many of our recruited participants either were associated with the LSA Honors staff or were extremely familiar with the Honors website.
2) Even after waiting for 2 weeks, we were only able to get 28 participants to respond to our survey, out of a total of 1900. Thus, the confidence level in the results obtained was very low.
a) Could have offered a raffle to encourage people to take the survey.
b) Employed other ways like approaching faculty to ask students in their class to take the survey.
3) All of our interviewees were freshman students which didn’t give us the complete perspective of the website usage by current students.
a) Offering participants some incentives to participate in our study could have got us a more diverse set of participants.
a. The timing of the survey could impact the results a lot. Since our survey was sent over the spring break, we were able to get very less responses on it.
b. Confirming assumptions using the web analytics data is a really good idea, but it should be done earlier in the process. In our case, we got the analytics very late in the process and thus we could not look at it carefully due to time constraints and adapt accordingly.