Editor’s Note: View updated Task Model and User Journey Map in the MyEverest Case Study.

The past few weeks have been intense!  I offer you the abridged version of my experience with these first encounters.

My focus was on user research to prove or disprove the hypothesis that I will use for the basis of designing the productivity app.

Hypothesis: Taskly could help motivate users to achieve success in various roles by showing how each task is linked to those roles and how their success in each role affects the success of others. If this proves valid, later versions of Taskly could use measurements of time and energy to measure success in those roles and have a social component that links to other users.

Central Research Question: Would users be motivated to complete a task based on how closely they perceive it relates to their success in a particular role and the success of others?

I was delighted in the willingness of my close friends and family to be my test group of “early adopters”.  They will be  me with throughout the process.  Thank you!

First, I endeavored to conduct quantitative research using a survey.  I found this extremely helpful blog post from a graduate student in London who shared how he received hundreds of responses http://www.uxstudent.co.uk/recruit-users-online-user-testing-dissertations/.  Using similar techniques, I posted my survey on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, #slack and sent it out by email to nearly my entire address book.  I amassed 56 total responses, spanning 11 countries!  (And in the process, found who from my address book didn’t remember me or had changed their email address.)  The result was a proven hypothesis based on, in this case, a statistically significant sample.

Next, I conducted six interviews with those of my “early adopter” group to satisfy the need for qualitative research.  This provided insight into my target users’ behaviors, needs and preferences.  Every bit of research further informed my design ideas while I learned more about doing research.  I also learned that I very much enjoy this phase, especially gathering the survey results and interviewing.  View my research results. 

The following week, I created 3 User Personas that represent the target user group.  These are based on the interviews with names and a few details changed to represent a larger sample.  I’m not quite ready to display those yet, but you’ll be able to find them in my complete portfolio at the end of the course.

This past week the intensity increased with a Task Model and my first User Journey Map.  Ok, everything is a first, but this exercise was particularly daunting. One of the reasons I found it so difficult is that this exercise is normally done with the input of several stakeholders or stakeholder groups and after one or more facilitated brainstorming sessions.  For this assignment, I’d have to do without those resources.  After reaching out to some classmates and viewing numerous examples online, I came up with something rather fascinating, informative and beautiful.  It looks like I’m well on my way!

New tools/services I was introduced to:

Reddit – A text-based social media platform where people all over the world post information, articles, questions, etc.  It is very organized, the most popular entries are voted to the top by users and it surprisingly has little to no visual design–which may be what makes it stand out in our visually hyped world.

Task Model – Useful in theory but not often used in practice, this outlines the steps a user goes through for completing a single task within an app or on a website.  It considers a complex evaluation (user evaluates action based on many outside variables), a controlled evaluation (user functions within set parameters) and direct connection (user completes a transaction and receives a response).  View my first task model.

User Journey Map – Very useful exercise that helps inform a company of the current user experience and provides direction on how to get to their desired user experience.  View my first user journey map.