Directed Study Journal - Alex Hoff - Znaniya
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Week #Completed?Will complete?Issues/ChallengesInstructor FeedbackNotesLinks
1Updated thesis book to include new mockupsUpdate thesis book with new wireframesI probably should have given myself more time to update my thesis book with the changes I've made, but I should be able to do the rest next week. I'm also stressing myself out trying to get the Russian version done before the English version (I'll be presenting both, but I know the committee will want to see a version they understand, so I need to make sure there's something to show for English). Thesis feedback: Hi Alex, great work so far. I'm happy to hear you're in the midst of working on your prototype because that is what we will mainly be focusing on all semester. We're going to start with a very simple proof of concept and continue to expand and grow it based on feedback from real users. A little off topic, but there were a couple things I felt were missing from your proposal, one was indirect competitors, inspirational examples not directly related to russian, learning russian, or language in general but maybe thinking a bit outside the box and focusing on specific, innovative features that apply to your concept. I'd also like to see your project as a part of your matrix so I can really see how it compares and stands above the rest. MVP feedback: Hi Alex, you've done a great job on these MVPs. They're an interesting concept consider I'm asking you to sort of take a step back from what you've already done and revisit the importance of features based on your target audience and their problems. These MVPs will shift slightly to become user tasks/flows. You want each task to highlight these MVPs and I think you have some good ones to highlight. I would just take one more look at these and make sure these are the features you want to highlight moving forward. It seems like you're covering an array of users within your target audience which is great! Remember that our focus is user experience and in order to keep that focus, simplicity is key. Too much visual design could throw your users off and start talking about color of buttons instead of what we are really trying to focus on. For the next few weeks I urge you to revert back to wireframes, while we evaluate the user experience of these MVPs.Since the last work I did on my project (which was over a year ago, since I took a bit of an unplanned break from school), I've been able to work with new applications; namely, Sketch. I picked it up for another project and got absolutely hooked on it. It's handy because I've been using it for all the mockups and the wireframes I haven't added to the book yet, plus I can export icons I use and create and upload them to, where I've been working on the prototype.Updated thesis book:
Updated proof of concept to reflect design changesComplete vocabulary overview AND context in prototypeMVPs:
Created a new directed study journalReview grammar overview content and begin adding to prototypeUpdated content:
Defined MVPs and simplified proof of conceptEvaluate content and feature requirements
Update thesis book with user flows
2Updated thesis book with new wireframesRevise POC/tasks based on comments from this weekI got quite a bit done on the content for the prototype, which is good, but I need to make sure I'll have enough time for all of it once we get into user testing in later modules. Very nice! A lot of great detail here. I hope you've found this exercise helpful to organizing and understanding your user tasks better. My only suggestion would be to reconsider the use of your first task in your 3 main tasks. The act of opening and signing up isn't necessarily an innovative feature or something needing to be highlighted. I do see how your process contains actions like completing a profile and setting lesson reminders, but overall I think your app probably contains other noteworthy features that will outshine this one. Paper prototype: Re: my comment about user task 1 on assignment 2.1, I get a better idea here why you've chosen to include the set up but I'm still not sure it's a completely necessary task. The only thing that feels important is setting up lesson reminders. Would there be a way to incorporate this small task into one of your other tasks? Maybe after completing task 2, Liz decides to change or update her reminders? This could open up a task where you could cover another important feature of your. I like the level of fidelity here! I think this is a great place to be at this point in the semester and that your user testing will help determine your next steps.Little bit of a delay getting edits from Russian prof. Revisions should be received sometime next week.Content + feature requirements:
Began adding vocabulary overview, context contentContinue to fill in content in prototypeUpdated content:
Began adding grammar overview contentReview first culture module / send for review
Evaluated content and feature requirements for 3 tasksBegin revising first conversation module
Updated thesis book with user flows
3Updated proof of conceptPerform + document user tests (in person)I have 3 in-person testing sessions scheduled at my old office in Oakland next week (which is also my first week of work, so I'm not sure how I'm going to do this!). I'm having some difficulty getting feedback in a timely manner from the person who's reviewing my translations, but I'll adjust my schedule accordingly.Great! I think the change you've made lets us see more of the unique features your project has to offer. For task #1 are the mic and camera access options something that will happen every time a user wants to complete this task? From my experience when a user sets up the app for the first time or actually when they go to complete a part of the task that requires the mic or camera is when they are asked to allow access and then from there on out they no longer have to. I personally think that for task 1 you could start on page 8. The user has used the app before, has already signed in and most likely has set permissions. I would jump right in to the main features of the task. This will cut the length of the task and allow you to really focus on the user experience. Task list #1: I'm a little bit confused because I'm not seeing the connection between your task sheet and the most recent version of your POC. Your task sheet should directly reflect your current prototype. From here on out those 3 chosen tasks from your prototype are what you will be testing and ultimately build out in your coded prototype. I see that your Task 1 is aligning but Task 2 and 3 don't seem to be following what I saw in your POC. Make sure these are aligning and that your task descriptions in your task sheet aren't too descriptive. The objective is to determine whether or not your users are able to complete these tasks without direction and if not where the issues lie. Revised Task List: Not a problem! Glad you were able to update for this weeks user testing. This looks much better. For task 1 I might suggest letting the user know where they left off so that they know how to start the task during testing...unless where they left off is dictated by the UI.Proof of concept updates: Per Nikki's suggestion, I changed the first task to be something a little more vital, and just incorporated the login flow rather than the sign-up flow. Since I've established what it is, I agree that it doesn't need to be one of the main tasks. Instead, I decided to explore the flow for the exercise (it's a recipe in this case, but would be a similar task flow for other types of exercises). Task sheet
Created task sheetUpdate proof of conceptUpdated content
Reviewed first culture module + sent for review (content)Research audience questions
Revised first conversation module (content)Add first culture module + grammar content to prototype
4Performed + documented 3 user testsDraft audience interview questionsThere were some logistical difficulties with performing the user tests in person, due mostly to geographic constraints (but also due to flaky testers!). I did manage to replace said flaky tester with a friend in Houston, with whom I FaceTimed, which seemed to be fine. Overall, testing was really helpful and I made effective changes to my paper prototype.Really great work Alex. Happy to see that you were able to find a 3rd tester last minute. I think that using apps like Skype or Google Hangout can be just as effective as being there with that person...if done right. My main objective was to get you guys out there observing and talking with your users. It's important to making strides with your work. I see that you were able to get great, useful feedback and some of it was related to things we have been discussing.
Don't worry about doing additional testing just yet, I think this is good for this round. We will be doing at least 2 more rounds through assignments. Focus on the feedback from this round and continue to think about these adjustments, especially within your menus. Then you'll test again and be able to determine whether your adjustments were successful.
My test results are attached, and linked here as well. I'd fully intended to do all of these in person, but as I mentioned in the discussion, one of my in-person testers dropped out on Thursday and I had to scramble to get a new person, who happened to be remote. I think I got some good feedback, and also got ideas for some other things to improve. I was surprised the testing for task 3 went as smoothly as it did—I think I'll do additional testing with a few other people, just to make sure I'm not missing anything. (I'd assumed the buttons/prompts would be a little more confounding; it's possible the users I picked had personalities and expectations that were too similar to one another.) I just started my new job, so this was absolutely the worst possible timing for user testing (or possibly the worst possible timing for huge life changes!). I'm not entirely sure how I pulled it off, but I'm exhausted! Next week will be busy, too, since I'll be moving to my new apartment, but it should be better, since I won't have to take the train to Oakland or try to coordinate testing in a different time zone.User test summary + results:
Updated proof of concept based on user testingUpdate proof of conceptUpdated content:
Researched audience questionsReview + update conversation module content
Began adding first culture module + grammar content
5Drafted audience interview questionsPerform + document audience interviewsNo blockers to report this week; decided to craft the interview questions to narrow down my target audience/personas. I have a theory (based on informal conversations I've had with potential users) that introverts will be more likely to use this app than extroverts, with possible exceptions of some more reserved ("introverted") extroverts, and I'd like to explore that a bit. I've also been researching learning styles and want to incorporate that into my interviews.Looking good Alex! These have really come together nicely and since testing and making iterations the user experience has become more and more clear. I would still consider the necessity of page 4. These settings would likely be set when a user first sets up the app for the first time and isn't something they will before each login. Also, since this user has logged in before, they would likely just open the app and be taken directly to page 7. I think it's safe to remove this part of the process from your task. Let the focus be your exercise. If you wanted this task to be a first time user, perhaps I could see keeping this section.Updated proof of concept attached! No huge changes after last week's testing; I really just added the "tap to close" button on the overlays (all tasks), some additional location markers to the menus (all tasks), a "next" button on the media (video) screen (task #2), an alert to clarify completion of recording (task #3), and a differentiation between the "next" and "re-record" buttons (task #3). Moved this week, but this week's deliverables were easier to accomplish because they weren't dependent on other people's schedules! Still getting used to working FT again and managing my time appropriately. Should be better next week; I've already scheduled the interviews and things should begin to settle down at home. Additional notes: I added an extra interview—one of the people I'd asked became available (I'd emailed her last week and she just responded on Tuesday), so I ended up with 4 interviewees, which worked out really well, since I think she falls into my target audience categories a bit better than one of the other people I interviewed (Suz, who seems to prefer to learn in more social settings). Anyway, my goal here was to try to narrow down a little bit more clearly who would be using the app, based on personality and behavior, and having a good sample of personalities helped with that quite a bit.Interview questions:
Updated proof of conceptWireframe analysisUpdated content:
Updated conversation module content
6Perform + document audience interviews (added a 4th interviewee)Create + record midterm presentationNot a challege, but had an unexpected 4th interviewee (Staci), whom I interviewed on Saturday (which was Sunday morning, her time; she's in St. Petersburg). The addition proved to be VERY helpful. I know Staci via a personality type forum; we're both INFJs. We happen to have similar backgrounds, so I was happy she was able to participate in the interviews. I was also able to interview my new coworker, whose name is also Alex and who has a particularly interesting background.Fantastic work Alex! You have some great target audience members here. I can easily see the connection between them and your project concept. I would continue working with these people moving forward as it seems like they have experience with apps of similar concepts and could provide some valuable information. Now that you've conducted this round of testing you have 3-4 REAL users that you can base your personas and user tasks off of. I would consider updating your tasks to reflect these real users.Interview results:
Wireframe analysisMake revisions to personas and target audience based on interviewsUpdated content:
Make note of any changes that need to be made to the POC based on interviews + make changes as necessary
7Created + recorded midterm presentationCreate/revise storyboard sequence planI said this in the presentation, but the interviews are proving to be really helpful in narrowing down my target audience and fine-tuning my personas. I do want to explore my theory that the app is better-suited for introverts; I can already think of potential exceptions to that assumption. I may conduct a few additional interviews with extroverts to see what they have to contribute.Great presentation Alex! It's obvious how comfortable you are talking about your topic and project. This is greatly important and makes it obvious that you are a trusted source on this topic. Really like how you show you testing results and iterations based on those results. This is so important. You can talk all you want about the testing you did, but unless we are seeing the results and how it has lead to changes within your project the concept of testing is moot.
My only critique is that when creating your final presentation you're really thinking about your timing. This presentation is 20+ minutes and you're really only covering content from this class. You'll need time to introduce your project, other research and visual design as well. The information you cover in this presentation is perfect for showcasing some of your research and UX process, but you'll need to cut it down just a but so that you can fit all of the other important stuff in there as well. Again, great work here. I look forward to seeing the continued development of your project.
I'll be doing voiceover work once I've finished with all the content, so the presentation was useful in helping me determine what kind of audio setup I'll need. I do have a setup that's specific to music, but it won't work for voiceovers. Currently investigating some options.Paper Prototype (Invision):
Revised personas + target audience based on interview resultsWireframesLive Prototype (
Considered whether changes needed to be made to POCContinue adding content to live prototype (should receive translation feedback next week)Video of presentation:
Google presentation (created in Keynote):
8Created user stories + updated proof of concept accordinglyPerform + document 3 user testsNo challenges to speak of this week! User testing is scheduled and I have some backups as well. Really nice, descriptive but concise user stories. They are filled with obvious user traits that showcase how these users connect to your thesis project. Test plan feedback: Looking good. Your last round of testing revealed some helpful user experience issues that have since been addressed. I look forward to seeing how this round of testing goes. Will you be using a clickable prototype for your testing?Yes, I will be using the updated clickable prototype (on invision) for testing.User stories
Update task list for round 2 of testingUpdate proof of conceptUpdated proof of concept
Schedule user testing sessionsUpdated content:
9Perform + document 3 user testsCreate storyboardsGreat! Happy to see another successful round of testing. The 10/19 change makes a lot of sense. I'm sure tapping either the play or pause button at that size would be hard based on size. I might consider putting the play button in a circle to better help with structure and spacing of the icon and screen as a whole. I still think actual tap space might be an issue with the icons so close together. The 14/19 change will definitely help indicate a button, I think visual design will also help this interaction down the road.Once again, I received very useful feedback from my testers. I used one tester from the last round (Alex Y.) as a last-minute substitution to a tester who canceled, but it was fine; it's been a month, so she'd forgotten where she had difficulty last time and was able to approach this test with a clean slate. I was also able to test with one person who dropped out at the last minute during round 1 (Melissa, whose name I realized I'd forgotten to change on the first round's slide deck). Two of the tests were conducted in person, and Melissa's was remote. Alex Z., who is my coworker and is also a designer, had really good feedback and suggestions related to the UI. We also had an illuminating conversation regarding how he suspects Duolingo does their speech validation: he mentioned that he suspects the intonation has more effect than actual accuracy (this is interesting and relevent for eventual development; would be curious to know what Duolingo uses for speech recognition). Overall, I'm very happy with the results of the tests, and was able to make the necessary changes relatively easily.Paper prototype testing results - round 2
Update proof of concept based on user testing resultsUpdate thesis bookrevised proof of concept prototype
Begin updating thesis presentationUpdated content:
10Created storyboardsFinalize storyboardsI'm in crunch time for finishing up the thesis, so I'll be working on wrapping up all the documentation and the prototype for the next few weeks (presenting on 11/28, so everything is due on 11/21). Nice work Alex! Your storyboards are clear and show how your users might interact with your app out in the real world. It's important to think about the story surrounding your user tasks and any obstacles they might encounter along the way. I think you've done that successfully here.Storyboards
Updated thesis book (personas, wireframes, mockups)Continue updating thesis book
Updated thesis presentation (visual design)Continue updating thesis presentation
Added vocabulary + grammar edits to the prototypeAdd remainder of media + conversation to the prototype
11Finalized storyboardsConduct A/B TestingI didn't have any changes to the storyboards; I was happy with how they turned out last week and didn't want to attempt to redraw them.No changes made to the storyboardsStoryboards
Continued updating thesis bookSubmit thesis book
Continued updating thesis presentationPrepare for presentation
Added remainder of media + conversation to the prototypeFinalize prototype + video + audio recordings
12Conducted A/B TestingClickable prototypeI had to turn in the A/B test results a little late, since my thesis presentation was on 11/28 and I had to prepare, but I ended up catching 7 additional answers after the holiday. Meanwhile, I submitted my completed thesis book and portfolio on 11/21, finished the prototypes, and presented on 11/28.
Submit thesis bookFinal presentation on 11/28
Prepare for presentation
Finalize prototype + video + audio recordings
13Clickable prototypeFinal slideshow + presentationI presented my thesis on 11/28 and passed! Very nice! Congratulations again on passing your final review. I don't think I had ever seen your final prototype, also very impressive.Paper Prototype (Invision):
Final thesis presentationCritique classmates' projects
14Final slideshow + presentationSubmit link to DS journalNo issues or challenges to speak of this week. Final Presentation (PDF)Final Presentation (Keynote)
Critique of classmates' projectsCourse feedbackFinal Presentation (Recording) (YouTube)Final Presentation (Google Slides)