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One of the benefits of joining UX Academy is the opportunity to work on your product design portfolio and present to real life clients. Graphic Designer Asia Dechink and her team were given the chance to develop the app Umoja as part of our Product Design Course.

About Asia

How did I make a huge step in my Designer experience? The Product Design course in UX Academy. 

I am a Visual Designer, I value and enjoy spending time improving my skills and learning new and my big interest is in Product Design. Even before I became a full-blooded UX-er, I already wanted to touch the matter of Product Design. Usually, I would just sign up for a conference, go to some industry meeting, but because of the current pandemic there are no meetings and two online conferences showed that I already know a lot, so it would be useful to do something specific. And just when I was logging into one of my conferences via the platform, I saw the event organized by the UX Academy. I live and work in Cracow, Poland, so if it weren’t for my presence on the platform I wouldn’t have found them. But there it was UX Academy in London. I felt +100 power points, thinking how different it would be from everything I participated in. And it was so. 

At the beginning, I was captivated by the kind of contact with the UX Academy team. They are supportive, fast in responding, and highly professional. The other thing was a contact with mentors which was one of the most important things to me. This is usually what I miss as a beginner when I’m sitting alone figuring out ways of proceeding with a project and don’t even know what mistakes I’m making. Teachers were open to questions, available through communicators after class, there were meetings with mentors every week regardless of the class. If you take this course seriously, there is a lot to do, because the more questions you ask, the more you have to improve. You would arrange a 30-minute meeting with the mentor, which will end with a list of comments to your work that needs to be reformulated. But this is actually the fun part. It was a really good and satisfying working process. And how much mentor sessions are needed I saw when I spent two days thinking about something and it just got resolved with one sentence during such a meeting. I could rely on instructors, their solutions and advices. They proved themselves to be competent, experienced, nice and open i.e.Gulia’s laugh itself, the instructor running 3 out of 6 meetings, makes the meeting not monotonous but dynamic and shows such a passion even when she was encountering problems. You know, one of the main principles in UX and Product Design is to analyze and look for problems that are to be solved. So when we were having an actual one and we couldn’t find a solution Giulia then laughed and said something like “aha, it’s not that obvious!” then she starts coming up on the spot with solutions and directing the team to them.

Apart from the fact that I had big expectations towards classes itself, I was waiting impatiently for a meeting with the client and working on a real product as an additional step into improving the skills. Working with a real client is a valuable experience and something that is really hard for beginners and juniors. When it comes to me for example at this point, after completing the course, I’m continuing working with the client that I was introduced to, Umoja Connect. UX Academy gives you the opportunity to be an active participant but you have to decide whether you want to learn or just be an observer. Competence is increased through practice and that is why this course is so good because it offers theory given by specialists and practice in the real product market.

Product Design Portfolio

So when I turned to this real product hands on situation, I was in the team cooperating with the Umoja Connect startup. Umoja is a project of “non dating platform that efficiently and safely connects like minded people”. We got a Pitch Deck and a Brief, we were set up with a separate channel to contact the client, we got support from Adrian from UX Academy to organize the first meeting and from there it went on. As to our mission, it included:

  1. Market research: Several interviews and a survey, to which I managed to gather 56 people to participate in
  2. Creating Personas
  3. Creating user flow of the onboarding process
  4. IA
  5. Designing of onboarding wireframes, user profile and home screen
  6. Performing user tests on onboarding screens

Survey: 56 responses

There are a lot of social applications. Two of direct competitors are FB and Meetup. Indirect competitors are dating apps like Tinder. I wanted to know what is the interest in trying to use a new application. And whether people still feel the need to meet people and feel there is a lack of opportunities to connect with like minded people.

Survey data:

  • 71.4% females

Two predominant age groups: 

  • 48.2% – 25 to 30 years
  • 42.9% – 31 to 41 years
  • 85.7% respondents like meeting new people
  • 60.7% feels lack of opportunities to meet new people
  • 34 respondents said they feel lack of new opportunities to meet like minded people

5 said they wouldn’t use app to make new connections

  • 22 respondents said they don’t feel lack of new opportunities to meet like minded people
  • 5 said they would use app to make new connections
  • 11 said “maybe” and “I don’t know”

Personas

Based on conducted interviews

interview persona umoja

Based on the survey

survey persona umoja

User Flow Onboarding

user flow umoja

Information Architecture

information architecture umoja

Wireframes

Onboarding process, few selected screens

wireframe umoja

User tests and improvements

There were two screens making difficulties and needed to be redesigned

user tests umoja

Answers to our main questions regarding onboarding:

→ do we need to ask for a photo?

Users said that in social media photo is creating trust +

→ do we need to ask for gender?

Users said during creating a profile for this app it doesn’t matter for them –

→ do we need to ask for family status or relationships?

Users referring to this option as important would use this app also to meet potential partners. The rest said it is not relevant for them. Means it is not to be included in MVP –

→ Education

Very important to all making connections – all respondents with higher education background or in the process +

My work on this product design portfolio continues with the client. This above is just a short illustration how it went during the 6 weeks of ongoing curse. I know I improved my skills, knowledge, materials base with quick access to all presentations and recordings from classes. I brightened my horizons and made real valuable connections. At the end I want to mention one decision you will have to make starting classes. Group or solo work.  Whether you decide to work solo or in a group is up to you. I wanted to work in a group because the product is also created in a team, so I wanted to follow this experience. With what group members you will be working is unpredictable, but you can also learn from it. At work, you also do not know with whom you will have to build the product. I encourage you to work in groups and turn on webcams, we meet online and when we see ourselves, we feel more like a team.

Whether you want to start a career in UX, or just diversify your skillset in general, UX Academy has several courses available to suit your needs. Get the chance to work on real life projects and build your UX or Product Design portfolio when you join UX Academy.

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