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Becoming a UX Designer in Two Weeks – The Diary of a First-Time UX Designer

Joshua Lambeck
March 17th, 2021

Corona Warn App Redesign Keyvisual

Hello, my name is Joshua and I was wondering how do you become a UX designer in two weeks to get so well versed in the subject to solve a real-world problem? This blog post is like a little log on my journey through the world of UX design.

To first understand the rough basics of what user experience is and how to properly start such a UX project, I started reading many blog posts. What is good and bad UX anyway? What can it look like in everyday life? What is project scoping? How do I start a good project? And it became more and more clear while reading that it is more important to start with the “why” first, before you have a concrete project or solution set.

Why it is better to start with the “why” in UX projects

Before you invest a lot of time and effort in a project and annoyingly discard it because it doesn’t meet your expectations, or even because the objective isn’t clearly defined, it’s important to first be clear about what the basic goal is. The why. Why do I do what I do? Why do I have the need to change something? An initial objective that you can use as a guide and at the end you can also realistically measure whether the project was successful or failed to achieve its goal.

So I asked myself the following questions:

  • What could be a good goal?
  • Where do I see problems in my everyday life that bother me and where I want change or inspire me to take action?
  • How can I optimize everyday life in the current corona situation?

 

The Corona Warning App

These questions made me think of the Corona Warning app. It occurred to me that I don’t even have it installed. Is that normal? After a few conversations, it turned out that only three out of ten friends I interviewed had the app. How can an app that had cost 69 million euros to develop, was funded by the German government, was implemented by SAP as an open-source project, and is constantly being advertised, have so little appeal in my generation? After extended questioning, I could tell that most of them simply didn’t see the real value of the app. The classic question when getting app recommendations “What do I need the app for now?” was not convincingly resolved for non-risk patients.

What might a Corona app look like that would appeal to digital natives (where, compared to the at-risk group, everyone has a smartphone to download an app)?

With the help of LeanScope, a program developed by Centigrade to analyze so-called “user-needs”, the analysis could then start. The program is divided into the individual parts of a UX process and offers versatile and yet clear possibilities, for example, to precisely work out the persona or the target group and their needs. In order to better empathize with the target group of digital natives and their problems, Leanscope offers to develop a representative persona for the target group.

A persona – that’s how Micha was created.

 

Persona Micha

The creation of my first persona and derivation of user needs

Micha is 24 years old, single and studies. In LeanScope you can write down the things that motivate and frustrate the persona, so it’s easier to think problem-oriented. For example, Michael’s motivation is to meet friends, get information quickly and enjoy life, and he is frustrated by things that cost a lot of unnecessary time, such as filling out annoying forms.

A fitting quote from our persona is, “I want to be relaxed, unrestricted, and do things quickly.”

With the help of the persona, a typical scenario of a frustration experience was created: It’s Friday, Micha doesn’t have a lecture tomorrow and is already looking forward to a relaxed evening with his friends. He calls his colleague Simon and asks if he has time to do something tonight. Of course, Simon is game. “Shisha bar again tonight?” – “Yes… But wait, what about the new corona rules, was there any change?” Annoyed, Micha says, “Well, until I find the current rules for my region now, I’m busy for hours. Besides, you never understand what they write.” Thanks to the new regulation, Simon and Micha now know that the lockdown has finally been lifted. Now they can get going. Finally arrived, both sat down with mask and wait for the operator. “Please fill in your contact details” – says the waitress, as she places a piece of paper and pens on the table. Annoyed, they both fill out the slips of paper that they already filled out during their last visit to the bar.

Persona Micha Szenario

Thanks to this scenario, it is now easy to analyze the “user needs”:

 

A need for actuality
> Micha and Simon want to be informed when something might change in their usual daily routine. Here by the corona rules.

 

A need for individuality
> Micha wants to quickly get the regional rules tailored to him.

 

The need for clarity
> Micha wants to understand legal texts that are important for him in an understandable and simply explained way.

 

Or a need for simplicity
> Micha and Simon do not want to fill out cumbersome forms before every visit.

It is important to think problem-oriented up to this point and to work out the user needs as concretely as possible. But now that these are clear, I can start thinking in terms of solutions.

 

Developing the solution out of the problems

For each of the above needs, I have developed three solutions in the cosmos of the Corona warning app. The creative process is completely free. You can execute it the way you prefer to work. It doesn’t matter if you scribble or write in bullet points. The main goal is to get your idea to the paper as quickly as possible and in a comprehensible way.

Skribble Entwurf

So I thought that a function that displays the regional Corona regulations in an understandable and summarized way in the app and informs the user if they were to change would be a great way to meet the need for topicality, individuality and comprehensibility. In addition, there would be a feature for data-secure registration in bars or restaurants via QR code and NFC. That would save having to fill out forms all the time.

Wireframe Mockup

Wireframing is a process for designing software screens. In a wireframe, I can build the considered functions in an app prototype without having to worry about what the visual design must look like. This can be done analog with pen and paper or by software. I did the whole thing here with Adobe XD.

Prototyping helps to identify errors in the handling and operating process at an early stage.

Mockup Lokale Verordnungen

Once the prototype was running flawlessly and I was happy with the features, now finally came the visual design. The current Corona alert app is kept very dark and doesn’t give a very warm feeling in the midst of the current Corona season. So I thought this could be counteracted and a friendlier, more colorful UI could be built for the user. The illustrations, in addition to being aesthetically pleasing, help people understand the app more quickly.

Screens Mockup

 

Conclusion

After two weeks of internship in UX Design, I can now draw a conclusion. It was really fun to get to know the topic of UX design through a practical project and to deepen my knowledge. I would never have thought before that comparatively so much time would go into analysis and conception, but it was noticeably worth it in the end. Since it was clear where the project was going and the requirements were precisely defined, prototyping and design went much faster than without conception. This was now a project that was realized in two weeks by me, a bloody UX beginner. And here perhaps lies the criticism of the development of many products, like the Corona warning app. They are great from the basic idea itself, BUT there is far too little attention paid to the needs of the target audience and too much emphasis on everyone having the same needs or mindset of the developers. If SAP had come up with the idea of looking at what would be important to the “smartphone generation”, it would probably be more appealing and have significantly more younger users. A little more time in UX wouldn’t have hurt here either.

 

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