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IXD303: Designing User Experiences

The Designing User Experiences module covers a lot of ground, but – good news – it maps over to the other Year 2, Semester 1 module Narrative and Storytelling. If you work cleverly and creatively the two modules can inform each other and, in fact, they should.

Both of these modules explore the growing field of User Experience (UX). They encourage the creation of delightful user experiences, stressing the need to map out considered user journeys that are fit for purpose, meeting users’ needs.

The module will focus on creating simple weather-related web app that will teach you about the various tools, techniques and technologies involved in UX.

Week 01 - Introduction

Weather App

The Weather App carries the majority of the weight on marks for this module and will include:

  1. Name and brand design
  2. Icon design
  3. Consideration for cross device application
  4. Working prototypes (Keynote, InVision, HTML/CSS, JavaScript, APIs)
  5. Connected product concepts

Rather than creating a generic ‘catch-all’ weather app, consider a specific target audience for your product. You might create something that teaches primary school children about the weather and climate change. Alternatively you might target it at adrenalin junkies hell-bound on catching the next F5 tornado. Maybe you want to know what the weather conditions are like on Saturn or Neptune.

*Before Week 08 you must have completed the JavaScript and jQuery classes on codecademy


Previous outcomes

Week 02 - Idea Generation, User Personas

Looking at the fundamentals of UX we covered the The Five Competencies of User Experience Design

In our second week we took another look at idea generation, focusing on mind mapping, divergent thinking and alogical connections to help develop lots of ideas for possible digital products based on the theme of weather.

We ran through user personas and discussed the importance of conducting focussed user research to ensure the product is developed for the right audience. Making these personas as realistic as possible, through user research, brainstorming, refining and condensing will allow us to develop more successful product.


Concept Development

  • How to Have an Idea unfortunately no longer on his website but you can see it in this Pinterest page.

User Personas

Pattern Libraries


User Testing

Week 03 - Customer Journeys

This week we looked at Customer Journeys, considered the importance of touchpoints, onboarding and offboarding and the bllank slate. We explored the different areas of a user journey, and how people make their way through an app or web site. When we first launch an app, whether it’s native or a web app, there’s an empty state. We need to provide clues, like a trail of metaphorical breadcrumbs, showing the way to what is coming next, this needs to be designed too.

We touched on calls to action, looking at how we can attract users to our product.

Everything's a journey and we need to consider every single step our customers are likely to take through that journey, from the initial sign up, to final sign off. We covered onboarding techniques, and considered the equally important approach to offboarding. Managed well, it can strenghten a company’s reputation and help build their brand. Approached badly and it can do untold damage – a look at the examples on the Dark Patterns will give you lots of food for thought.

As a we saw, a user journey is a path a user may take to reach their goal when using a particular website or app. These user journeys are used when designing websites or apps, to identify the different methods of enabling the user to achieve their goal as quickly and easily as possible.

A useful exercise to evaluate the effectiveness of your user experience is to pit it against another site or product that is offering the same service. We compared how and both handled the same tasks with differing results. Digital Service Standard’s won the 2013 Design Museum’s Design of the Year award. In the same year it won a coveted D&AD Black Pencil in the Writing for Design / Writing for Websites & Digital Design category. To get a deep understanding of their approach you should check out their Digital Service Standards.

Adaptive Path are one of the leading UX specialists, with 14 years experience in the field. To really get to grips with UX, you should check out their excellent range of guides.

####Deliverables At this point you should be considering user journeys and how your user personas would approach your product.


Customer Journeys

Design Standards



Week 04 – Agile Design Methods

The Agile Manifesto was created in 2001 to help create better ways of developing software and help others do it. The principles developed were:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working design over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

The manifesto states that while there is value in the items on the right, they placed value the items on the left more.

While, in the early days, this focussed on software development agile design has become integral to many companys working methods.


Week 05 – Self Directed Study

There are no classes this week but students are expected to continue with their coursework.

Week 06 – Agile Design Methods pt2

This week picked up on Week 04 introduction to Agile Design and rounded things up.

Week 07 - Feedback Session

Catching up on everyone’s progress we took a look at how the module deliverables were progressing.

Week 08 – Hello Keynote and Invision

In our fifth week, we’ll take everything you’ve created to date and we’ll start to build some prototypes using Keynote.

The benefit of this is it gets you thinking about how your app or web site will work as users interact with it. We are *interaction designers*, as such it’s important we consider interactions as an inherent part of our design process.

How do your users interact with your design at the macro level? (InVision is perfect for this.) How do you employ animations and other interactions at the micro level? (Keynote is perfect for this.)

Our goal is to equip you with a toolset that echoes that used in the ‘real world’ of industry. InVision and Keynote are perfect partners for taking your initial, higher fidelity prototypes and putting them all together in rich, communicative prototypes.



Hello InVision

Invision is a very simple tool to use. Sign up for InVision Education Edition, use the code provided last week and start using. This will provide you with full access to Invison while you are a student.

Check out Zeplin too for generating styleguides from your Sketch visuals.


Week 09 - Hello JavaScript

We ran through a basic introduction to JavaScript outlining the basics including:


  • var name
    • Can be anything
      • Strings
      • Numbers
      • Arrays
      • Objects
      • Functions
  • Can all be changed.


  • const pi = 22/7;
  • same as variables


  • Let you do stuff
  • Dependent upon being told to run

Event Listeners

  • Let you tell a function to run
  • Can be based on pretty much anything you can do on a web page
    • Click
    • Keypress
    • Mouse hover
    • Drag
    • Drop
    • Form validation

This week we took a broad look at JavaScript from simple applications including:

to more complex products such as:

Many platforms are built using JavaScript with node.js currently used by, amongst others, IBM, Microsoft, Yahoo!, PayPal one of the most popular.

Progressive Enhancement considers when it is appropriate to use JavaScript



Week 10 – Oblique Strategies

This short project will introduce some basic elements of JavaScript while offering the chance to develop a portfolio piece. The basic elements can be downloaded from Chris's GitHub Repo

A brief overview of Eno and Schmidt’s cards can be found on Eno’s website


Previous Solutions

Week 11 - Designing for Connected Products

It is predicted that the number of connected devices will more than triple by 2020, from 10 billion to 34 billion. Research shows that nearly £4.6 trillion will be spent on the Internet of Things solutions over the next five years.

Interaction designers, that’s you, will be at the forefront of this revolution.

Connected devices are growing on a daily basis from smart home devices such as the Amazon Echo to the Nest Thermostat and wearables such as Apple Watch connecting us to the world in new and exciting ways.

Research into connected medical devices such as the smart contact lens is seeing some of the most revolutionary breakthroughs.

Exploring the possibilities of connected fabric, Ralph Lauren unveiled technology-enabled tennis shirts, which monitored the heart rate, breathing and stress on ball boys and girls, at the US Open Tennis Championships in 2014. Levis Project Jacquard is researching the possibilities open to connected fabrics, transforming clothes and furniture into interactive surfaces.

We touched on Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality, and how it is making an impact on the interaction design industry. There is much more to this technology than Pokemon Go or funny SnapChat filters with this article from the Neilsen Group exploring AR in a UX context.

Augmented Reality is predicted to have a market revenue of £63 billion by 2020. In comparison VR will be largely behind at £21B.

As expected the main players in the indistry are already onboard with:

Google Glass may have had a rocky start but many organisations are adopting ther connected glasses to help improve production, save time and connect with people.

The real problem with the interface is that it is an interface. Interfaces get in the way.
– Don Norman

With many interactions moving away from the screen we have to consider how we can design for a Zero UI environment. We now need to consider how we can design with more natural interations in mind such as haptic feedback, gestures, voice recognition.

The future may be challenging but the possibilities are very exciting.

Week 12 - Final Feedback and Review

In the final week we will be taking a look at everyone’s weather app and Tumblr accounts and offering feedback prior to final submission.