As a User Experience Designer (UX) I can optimise the user journey so that complex tasks become a breeze. Also mapping the existing user journey can help key decision makers make informed decisions.
As a User Interface Designer (UI) I can design intuitive interfaces and utilise visual languages to enhance the users experience. I like to make interfaces fun to interact with and appealing, bringing in human elements where possible.
As a Service Designer I can categorise information and make complex data sets really easy to interact with. Having a good hierarchy of information can make everything more efficient.
As a Business Analyst I can run workshops and experiments to validate your core product or service. Implimenting a validation workflow can ensure no time is wasted developing solutions that are not measured and have high risk of failure.
As a Front End Developer I can build simple websites and working prototypes using html and CSS. I coded this website, it meets accessibility standards, has complete SEO code and is optimised to load fast on mobile devices.
Here's a few of the awesome organisations I've worked with over the years. Tap one of the icons for a brief description.
Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand. Majoring in Digital Media.
Html & CSS
Human Centric Tech
Art & Photography
ENFP - Enthusiastic, creative and sociable free spirits, who can always find a reason to smile :)- 16 Personalities
|Growth mindset||Always keep learning and improving.|
|Empathetic||Maintain a high awareness of emotions and sensitivity towards others.|
|Malleable||Adapt quickly to tricky to fill spots.|
|User focused||Avoid personal attachments to projects for the sake of a product and its users.|
|Patient||Remain calm and positive even under pressure.|
|Team player||Play to the strengths of team members and make work fun for everyone.|
I grew up on a farm in New Zealand and left home when I was 19 to study design in Wellington City. Deciding which path to take was tricky because I was fascinated with both art and science in high school. I took the creative pathway to become a designer and eventually became fascinated by digital media. I always felt I was on the right study path but would still sneak into psychology lectures sometimes. I never lost my interest in the sciences.
It's funny looking back now I realise I've ended up doing a mixture of both science and art as a UX designer. I'm currently making the most of being a UX contractor, moving around, working on projects, networking & upskilling. I'm also passionate about psychology, nutrition, and the environment as subjects of interest and personal development. I like to keep up with new technology and movements out of interest and never stop learning & improving my skills.
I'm passionate about solving problems with technology. Someday I want to launch my own products and services to try tackle issues in mental health, nutrition and the environment. Getting behind good causes makes me proud of what I do and gives me a good sense of purpose. I like to put myself into more challenging environments and be around people with similar values. Being in places with more problems makes me feel motivated to help solve them. Even if I can just influence the world around me in positive ways and encourage others to do the same I'm happy.
A web app was developed for Forestry Managers and Local Government in New Zealand to solve regulation issues. It aims to help fix the high levels of non compliance that results in sediment that washes into the ocean, significantly damaging New Zealand marine life.
The application had additional environmental benefits as it replaced a long, complicated process that was done using paper and site visits. However it was still very early in development and faced many UX challenges to solve.
Objective: Redesign the app with improved UX/UI & introduce new components.
Goal: Understand the requirements of the system.
It's important to understand existing user roles, key objectives and constraints before trying to design anything. .
This application has a lot of procedures and terminology currently used by the forestry industry. I first had to understand the process, what players are involved and what the key objectives are. Luckily a comprehensive brief had been written because the clients were the subject matter experts and there’s no way to find this information anywhere else. I discovered that some of the functionality and user flows must follow existing government regulations. For example there's an existing forestry compliance grading system and colours that is used universally.
Goal: Understand the existing system and identify potential improvements.
The MVP has already been built, however the user interface was stock and had to be re-designed to allow users to easily navigate complex information in an intuitive and simple way. I started forming a hierarchy by breaking up tasks into steps, and considering each user's role.
Goal: Introduce visual hierarchy and structure to make the application easy to navigate.
In the older design users had difficulty navigating the app and there was no way to go back once a screen was entered. I redesigned the main navigation using standardised UI elements and built a quick low fidelity prototype to test it. At this stage everything was about functionality. Even colours were chosen to help communicate information faster.
I also considered they key user roles and which flows are more important for them. Some of the elements that were originally on the starting screen were moved to deeper levels in the navigation because they were not required at that stage in the user journey.
Goal: Push the visual style further and make functional elements more concise.
The first iteration of the navigation worked okay, the clients were happy but I wasn’t completely satisfied that it was as good as it can get. Even though the task was accepted as complete I pushed it further. This really paid off.
Goal: Design a final future state of the application based on remaining user flows.
There were only a few components built in MPV1. There were still many components that needed to be included. I started by designing universal elements such as form fields that would be required. Next I included the remaining components in the prototype based on the user flows. For example a form for submitting new forestry activity notifications.
MPV1 is already being used by Marlborough region. The prototype I made is currently being used to demonstrate the product to new potential clients. While the final product is being developed and updated in iterations according to the designs.
The new UX/UI exceeded expectations and got a lot of positive feedback from clients. I was glad that the team eas excited to develop the re-designed product.
Whenever forestry activity takes place in a higher risk area drones are flown up to photograph the terrain. It's then mapped out and checked for compliance by officers in the Local government. The application replaces a long, complicated process that's currently done on paper, site visits, and word processing software. It's been amazing to be a part of a project that has such a huge impact on New Zealand's environment.
The contact center was using an critically outdated job dispatch system and needed to find a solution fast. The existing software would need to be replaced completely within 1.5 years time.
The software was used to dispatch jobs to 112 different departments across the Council. There were over 700 different services and 17,000 staff that interacted with the system. The system also interfaced with our communication channels such as email, phone and webforms. I was contracted as a UX designer to tackle this massive project on a very small team.
Objectives: More objectives came up as the project commenced but we started with this:
Process: We had a very fluid approach to the project but it ended up going like this:
Our first key objective was to map the journey of one service as an example. We were designing a process for the service improvement team to follow long term. I soon discovered some possible improvements in our approach:
If we hand over our 7 week process it’s going to take over 93 years for the service improvement team to map all 700 subjects. I think I could make the process more efficient.
Let's hear it!
Goal: Build a tool that enables the service improvement team to easily map out all services and subjects within two years.
The tool was built using spreadsheets and formulas to pull data through and generate the final user journey map with conditional formatting. This made it easier to compare services and track the overall progress. The tool helped eliminate data entry and other time consuming tasks. The service improvement team was happy with the outcome. They could now focus more on improving services and spend less time processing everything.
The tool would also cut the estimated time it takes to map all 700 services down from 96 years to two years.
Once we understood the user roles we needed to research the job dispatch system. Our objective was to replace the software, many of the pain points we collected from users were seemingly caused by the software.
However when you look closer you can see that many issues were actually caused by how the information is structured within the system, rather than how it was built. We couldn’t simply solve the problem by replacing the software.
I looked at the data for the most used services in the organisation and found even more issues. 30% of service names in the system were not used for years and there were many duplicates. The Contact Centre had to search through 700 services and subjects to file each job because there was no information hierarchy. Terminology wasn’t consistent across departments, everyone had different words for each stage of a jobs completion.
I believed that designing a universal system and categorising information could solve many of the problems and make migration to a new software product less messy. These problems that would appear to be solvable with software development could be solved with service design better.
If we migrate the current information into a new product many of the problems are going to still exist.
I know it's a mess but when we upgrade software the solution providers will also handle migration.
Even if a third party does the work it’s still going to cost us. We have a better understanding of our user journey. We have a good opportunity to fix more now and flatten the workload later for the migration phase.
Can you show us what you mean?
How about I design a simple flow diagram to show you how jobs could progress through a more universal system?
Okay Logan, go ahead.
Goal: Design a universal future state diagram for the job tracking system.
The future state blueprint was a great document for communicating how the new system could work. It would also prove useful for migration as it simplified a complex system in a visual way that could be easily engineered. It also helped influence the new job statuses which made communicating and tracking jobs easier.
This triggered my project manager to actively solve problems in the system by creating a panel that would:
- Introduce new procedures for adding new services
- Simplify job status terminology
- Remove unused services form the system
We then worked together to validate and test changes to the system with the paper prototypes I created later on.
We started engaging other local governments to see what they were doing for job dispatch. None of them seemed to have a good solution in place and some had been developing tools for years with massive project budgets. We didn't have that much time. Our service architects gave us a list of viable software out on the market. I had a quick look at them all and felt as though none were a great fit for our user requirements. It took awhile for me to convince my team that doing a more in depth analysis of the solutions would benefit our project.
I think we should do an in depth comparison of the list of software and pricing. I checked pricing for our 17,000 users and it’s not pretty.
We usually leave that up to the procurement process, vendors are going to bid against each other so pricing might differ from what they advertise.
How well does open procurement usually go?
Pricing aside I don’t think any of the solutions reflect our user stories well. I have already completed product demos for the entire list.
Okay, can you match each product against our list of user requirements and show me?
Great idea :) I’ll show you the estimated pricing and % of how well each product matches our user stories.
Goal: Make a visual comparison chart so that our organisation can approach the open procurement process well informed.
How's the product comparison looking?
None of the existing products cover our list of requirements, some solutions cover the job dispatch part well, while others cover the communication channel part well. The highest comparison currently covers 60% of our product requirements.
That’s worse than I imagined.
Another issue is pricing, some have ‘per user licenses’ and we have roughly 17,000 users.
Maybe that price will reduce because solution providers will bid against each other during open procurement.
We can actually solve both of these problems now by combining solutions together. Most of the products have a ‘rest api’ which means they can easily talk to each other.
For example if we have 25 user licenses for one contact centre product that integrates with a different job dispatch system for all 17,000 users - yearly costs are reduced tenfold.
I was given the go ahead to complete my research and finished the product comparison. Since I’m experienced in working for solution providers I understood our project in depth. I raised the problems with my team and explained how the solutions work in a simple way.
Doing the product comparison paid off greatly. I helped my team solve problems that would occur later in the project cycle. I also knew enough about how rest API and cloud data services could help us solve the problems. At this stage my team almost had everything they needed to go into the procurement with confidence, with a much higher understanding of solutions. I felt proud that a lot of the work I pitched was eventually approved and became valuable assets to the project.
A low fidelity prototype would help test changes to the system, and develop a visual language to make it more effective. I was tasked to mock up what job cards could look like, a dashboard and eventually designed a concept for how input forms can work faster than selecting services from a list.
Goal: Create an early visual concept of a ‘future state’ system.
The job cards and dashboard helped people understand the system more in depth, and ended up being useful assets. This gave our team and users a way to interact with the system before changes are rolled out.
I was approached by the web team leader with a UX research question: "Should we use the building consent online application system for resource consents too?"
The council wanted to improve how we managed the building consent process. Applying for a building consent in New Zealand is a very complicated, long journey. Most people I interviewed described it as agonising. It’s almost impossible to do alone without paying a third party agency to help. It’s also a very complicated process to manage internally. Each local government is responsible for managing compliance in their own area, and even suburbs had different bylaws.
My part of the project was seemingly simple, I wasn’t asked to fix everything, just assess the online application form. However this form intersected with everything from the application form to our internal building compliance management process.
Goal: Understand the building consent process and online application form system
I brought myself up to scratch with the project so far, learned about how building consents work and started assessing the application form in question.
We were using an online application form that was being built and maintained by a third party. It didn’t quite integrate well with council services because they had their own help and support team, who would refer customers to our contact centre. It was using pretty clunky development methods like bootstrap and jQuery. It had several security warnings when I inspected the form page. It wasn’t accessibility friendly, and I was surprised to find that local governments didn’t have to comply with government accessibility and security standards, that it was a guideline...
Despite all the issues I could see straight off the bat I put my UX hat on to let user testing data do the talking.
Goal: Research the users experience with online application forms.
I adjusted my UX user journey mapping tool specifically for the building consent process. I went through the process myself and mapped out 72 steps from start to finish. This gave me a great structure for interviewing our different user roles. There were seven different user roles for the process.
Next, with help from the web team to find actual users to interview, I started collecting feedback. I added a layer of quantitative data to comments by splitting them into positive and negative, sometimes asking for a rating, or judging by the response. Sometimes people don’t need to be asked how painful a step in the process is because you can see it in their face, and there’s no need to disrupt the immersiveness of the interview.
I also conducted a few user testing sessions to see where people got stuck in the forms.
I compiled and assessed the UX research data, generating a visual map of the process from start to finish, so you can see where problems are occurring, and why.
Goal: Compile a list of fixes for the web team.
I split the issues into types, some were content related and could be changed by the web team, others could be fixed by the form system, some were underlying issues in the process of communication channels. The UX mapping tool I made also handled this too, the lists were simply split into different sheets and sent along with the visual map so that everyone can understand the context.
Goal: Provide sufficient information for the leadership team to make a decision about resource consents
I presented the case study at the monthly leadership team meeting and a few guests from the building consent team.
Once I explained the process I went into a few other things to consider going forward and suggested a few paths.
A decision was made based on the UX research and a few other factors. Building a new tool to manage both building and resource consents proved to be more efficient because everything the form did was not complex to make. It was complex to integrate, manage and support which is what we were doing anyway.
A decision was made to not put more funding into the existing tool to take care of resource consents. However, users would not be cut off from the current form since agencies like using it for managing consents for multiple councils. So users would be given a choice to use the third party system, or the one that would eventually be built.
Hotel owners wanted to build a new hospitality management product. The software would use automation and machine learning to manage product orders. I was initially asked to do a simple interface design role but ended up solving a lot of problems with UX design. I worked on the core product (web application) and a secondary app which was used for stock-take. This was a very interesting project; it was challenging, complex, and kept me engaged throughout.
Goal: Create the foundations of the web app and design a navigation hierarchy.
I separated user stories into categories then designed a navigation that suits the core functionality. I started by designing on paper then created a final low-fi wireframe on screen for approval. I had to think about how things would be scalable and meet accessibility requirements.
Goal: Develop a visual style and create a styleguide.
Clients were eager to get the visual style nailed early. Initially I took a functionality first approach but my first designs were considered too corporate looking. A more bright colourful UI was requested, I tried to use colours that would likely not be used for functional elements later.
Goal: Design components that meet user needs.
We had a lot of creative freedom to design functional elements. Fascinatingly enough, my experience working in a basic hospitality job 10 years ago helped me design a better user experience. The product owners were the subject matter experts in management, but overlooked many other roles in hospitality. I helped design tools for managing stock levels in storage for example, a feature that third party clients eventually asked for. Some of the ideas I pitched were initially declined but later asked for by users and included.
Goal: Finalise functional components.
Once components were approved we tested and iterated each design. The statistic dashboard was a good example of a section with many functional components.
The product exceeded the clients initial expectations. Although the product owners were initially focused on using artificial intelligence and automation as the solution, I brought them a step back and made them focus on goals rather than tools. The goal was to make everything more efficient and cost effective. If speeding up stock-take had a bigger impact and lower development cost than automating product orders, it made sense to prioritize that.
What are the Pacific Games? Think of them like the Olympic Games but with 24 countries in the Pacific ocean. In 2019, it was hosted by the Samoan government. They needed a website to promote the games, publish news, and broadcast events. Users would use the website to keep track of games, get venue information, and see the medal tally.
Goal: Create basic wireframes of the user interface.
I did research into UX layout and developed the main navigation. Mobile devices were particularly important because the website would be used during the event too.
Goal: Design the website based on existing print visual designs.
I designed the website’s visual components based on the style guide. There were many components that I had to design from scratch and make consistent with the style guide. I also had to make a few adjustments to meet the government's accessibility requirements.
Goal: Create a prototype so that clients can interact with pages and request changes before the website is built.
I designed and prototyped the functional elements so clients could see exactly what would be built. I did client demos every week to explain the interactions and get feedback on new features. We also had a constant flow of comments coming in from the clients if changes had to be made later.
Goal: Enable developers to build the website quickly without confusion.
Since we were short on time and human resources, it was important to speed things up for the developers and assume whatever role was required. I wrote some CSS, sent emails, and ran social marketing. I had previously acquired these skills from using Mailchimp and running social marketing advertising campaigns for my small business clients.
We managed to get everything across the line in time despite being a really tight time frame. Once all of the designs were approved I did what I could to help everything go smoothly. I paid close attention to details for the handover. There wasn’t any room for error on this project because communications had to go live on the deadline. It’s quite unlike working on MPV products.
This startup company had built a website to make booking travel faster and easier. You could use their system to plan a route through New Zealand, pick activities and accommodations, and book everything at once.
It was already two years in the works when I came along; they had a fully polished product, they were bringing in good traffic but not making sales. I was asked to set up analytics so that the team could understand why users were leaving the travel planner without booking. I took a look at the product and suggested a completely different approach to solving the problem.
Can you set up analytics and teach our staff how to see why people are leaving our website?
Actually if you want to answer that question you should take a step back and validate your product. You don’t need high tech solutions and a big budget to do it.
How can we do that?
How about I pitch a case as a business analyst and let your stakeholders make a decision?
Sure, we’d like to see what you’ve got.
Objective: Validate the core product and introduce validation workflows for future ideas.
Goal: Identify key problems in the organisation.
I wrote a report based on observations in four key areas:
|Team workflow||Observe the team structure and how ideas are implemented.|
|Core product||Website traffic, survey data, past UX tests.|
|Marketing efforts||online marketing, social media, printed media.|
|Operational process||How the organisation interacts with other organisations.|
I found that the core product had the most critical issues, followed by team workflow and marketing efforts. This gave me two main areas of focus: Core product and Team workflow.
Goal: Validate the core product and explain the process.
I analysed the core product and ran user tests to identify key issues. I then created example solutions and made paper prototypes to test and compare with the existing product.
Goal: Design a UX workflow for the team to implement changes to products going forward.
The team was very development-heavy and drowning in feature requests. If the team had prototyped simple ideas prior to development, it would significantly reduce their backlog and ensure that features that were going to fail were never polished and released.
New ideas aren’t going through a validation process before implementation. This is creating a large development workload. I even saw developers come up with new animation features then start building it that same day.
Our developers like that
Customers don’t. There’s a huge information overload for users and new features are adding to the issues.
To solve this, I suggested the team run a few workshops together. I demonstrated a way to prioritise new ideas based on impact vs effort. From there they can still pick what they want to design or build.
The workshop followed these steps:
I suggested workshops should be incorporated into a routine. I feel like they would benefit form having someone to facilitate the workshops as they didn't have ux designers. The team was made up of visual web designers, developers and marketers.
The core product would need to be rebuilt to solve the problems most effectively. However, I offered a solution that leveraged the existing booking system, with the addition of warming up users to that stage. Since the booking step is last in the user journey it can get away with being slightly complex if users complete similar less complex tasks first. The booking step would be automatically configured by choices that happen earlier in the user journey to make it even more simple. My user testing sessions of the product suggested that breaking the journey into smaller less complex steps significantly reduced the time it takes to book a trip.
Starting a small business on my own taught me just as much as university did. I completed a business training course, wrote a business plan, and learned so much as I went. I listed services but often clients just called me with a unique problem to solve. I would quickly learn how to solve it, then take it on as a project.
Goal: Create the foundations of how the business will operate
My first main focus was web design. In my business training class, several students were starting a business and needed a website. I was lucky to hit the ground running with several clients taking me on shortly after I started.
Goal: Create a cohesive design business with a consistent brand.
Most of the work went into testing the market than the visual design.
I named the business Launch Design, I gave the business a space theme to help people understand and remember the business.
I came up with a name for the business based on what names were free. I used some online tools to research domain names, business names, and social accounts. The aim was to choose words that are not saturated in search and social media.
I didn’t want to spend too much time making the logo since I was more interested in the visual style and illustrations. I felt that a name and theme would carry more weight than a logo.
The theme worked out well, it was easy to find the business by searching. Many of my clients came through my network anyway and just called me with unique problems to solve.
Goal: Operate an effective design business and constantly improve over time.
As a business, I designed, built, and maintained search engine friendly websites for various clients. I often had to venture into marketing and search engine optimisation too. I branded several small businesses; this wasn’t my passion but good work often led to web-related projects.
On larger projects, I sometimes collaborated with friends working in my field or contracted junior designers. This enabled me to scale up any kind of project and speed things up for clients.
Building up a network was the most powerful thing for business services in Wellington City. Each project I completed led to new opportunities. I also learned many new technical skills and became more efficient as a designer. I became known for solving problems and helping business owners avoid building unnecessary products.
Over the years, I completed over 50 design projects for small businesses and nonprofits. Some were full-time undertakings, others were side projects. I still maintain some client websites and occasionally take on small projects. It’s a nice way to interact with my network and get referrals for larger projects.
Imagine walking into a 1970’s mission control centre, putting on a NASA lab coat and suddenly being tasked with launching the mighty Saturn V into space. Two kiwi theatre graduates wanted to make that experience immersive, interactive and believable. I was one of three design grads teamed up with two engineers and tasked with “making the screens and control panels do something”.
Goal: Understand Apollo 13 narrative and systems.
I didn’t expect my first design job out of university to involve rocket science. However, I was suddenly learning how the Saturn V rocket used cryogenic propellants to adjust course. I had to “design a screen for team BOOSTER to monitor fuel consumption so team FIDO could simulate the possible adjustment to trajectory using only the Lunar module”... exactly as they did in Apollo 13. This was to be interacted with using a replica 1970s control panel (which was before mouses, keyboards, or touch screens were a thing).
Goal: Create a roadmap for the project.
We designed one prototype interactive application and created timeline estimates based on it. We then designed how they fit into the Apollo 13 narrative. We wanted to emulate the original experience as much as possible, including making the audience use telephones to communicate important information.
Goal: Design and test interactive apps for the replica 1970's console monitors.
Each designer would come up with an experience, pitch it to the team and then design it. I had additional roles: game designer and user experience tester. I formed a user testing group and ran weekly testing sessions.
Goal: Create a consistent project document for engineers to build apps.
We used online collaborative docs to document everything for engineers to build and Github to manage the project.
The theatre show was shown live over 200 times in the USA and Oceana. Here's one of the most recent trailer videos for Asia.
UX design skills helped me in jobs where it wasn’t necessarily requested. It can be used to improve any kind of experience, even my own.
I was hired to teach sketching classes to students 5-12 years old. On day one I was thrown into the deep end: no course material, nothing to work with. Just teach. I was hired because I was good at art but I had no teaching experience.
At first, things were tough. The studio owner had to interrupt my class a few times to “tell students off” because I didn’t feel comfortable raising my voice if some students didn’t perform 100%. Over time, I noticed more issues. But instead of learning to be a great teacher, I decided to try to make my job easier by improving the experience for everyone.
Goal: Improve the experience of teachers and students at the art studio.
Dealing with young students was so much easier with systems that rewarded “good” things and rules that disabled “bad” things. My positive reinforcement based structure made up for my refusal to raise my voice. Parents gave me good feedback for my teaching skills but I believe a well designed system was the key to my success.
Students’ attitude towards class improved. My job got so much easier because all I had to do was turn up with my notebook and follow the plans; no more thinking about work when Friday approached. Eventually, I gave my class plans to the studio and helped other teachers do the same.
Improving everyone’s experience made classes fuller than marketing ever could. I love that UX can help you improve any role without being a subject matter expert yourself.
Studying game mechanics contributed greatly to my UX toolbox because games are essentially immersive user experiences. UX isn’t just about efficient user flow, but also about crafting experiences that take psychology and emotions into consideration. Games are a great way to learn how to craft experiences that focus more on feelings. For example elements of competition can make players feel motivated and determined, even if the tasks are boring.
I wrote my final university project on “meaningful game mechanics”. I was researching how game mechanics can be used to create meaningful experiences and communicate information to users in different contexts, or in some cases, to enhance the learning experience.
Three game design tools that I find useful when designing any kind of user experience are MDA Framework, Flow Theory and Visual Hierarchy.
Games are designed by creating rules that combine to create the experience, which influences the players' feelings. It’s a way of designing experiences with a functionality-first approach. A functionality-first approach is also the most powerful way to design products like websites and apps.
Mechanics are the rules, components and limitations that form to create the experience, like chess pieces and how they can move.
Dynamics are the experiential play that mechanics combine to create and that we engage with in real time. Kind of like strategies in chess to get a checkmate.
Aesthetics of play are the emotional responses players get while interacting with a game. Every game has a core aesthetic which is often the reason we play it. Almost any game can fit into the 8 categories listed below:
Sensation: Game as sense-pleasure
Fantasy: Game as make-believe
Narrative: Game as drama
Challenge: Game as obstacle course
Fellowship: Game as social framework
Discovery: Game as uncharted territory
Expression: Game as self-discovery
Submission: Game as pastime
Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics (MDA), is a framework developed by Mark Deblank.
Designing flow is about balancing user experiences so that users are not overwhelmed by too much information, or have too little and get bored. Flow theory is important in game design because it provides an optimum goal for balancing difficulty and controlling engagement. As the player’s skill increases, the difficulty needs to increase to keep the player engaged so that they don’t get bored. Likewise, if the difficulty spikes too high, the player may get stuck.
User flow is very important in UX design. If a user is given too much information at once or too many options, they can get lost and confused. However, if you break up the information too much, it could become tedious for long-time users to get things done. It’s crucial to find a good balance between onboarding new users and making a system efficient for power users.
In games, visual language and hierarchy is used to guide players while still keeping them immersed. Rather than having an arrow flash up on screen, a door might be well-lit and of a certain colour, naturally drawing the player's attention.
You can use visuals to communicate information to users more efficiently because:
It’s faster to communicate than words
Complex systems can become simpler
Intuitively easier to remember
You can guide users with visual hierarchy
The experience can be more consistent
In web design, you can use visual hierarchy to make more important things stand out and keep the user engaged in the task they are trying to complete.
A good service design example of visual hierarchy is wayfinding. One of the most impressive visual systems I’ve seen is the Shanghai metro system. I could find my way around without knowing a word of the local language.
An immersive meaningful game experience based on retrograde amnesia. The main mechanics were
A simple traditional platformer game. I mostly made this as an example to learn the software for making games.
A world wide competition that’s live streamed online. Teams are given a theme and have just 48 hours to create and submit a game. I did this during the summer holidays with a large group of students from Massey University.
I’ve got several game prototypes in the works that I work on for fun. From educational language games to silly game mechanic experiments. Someday I’d like to invest more time into creating meaningful games based on subjects I’m passionate about. I’m currently more driven to work on web & app UX/UI projects.
When people talk about User Experience Design they often think about user journey, visual blueprints, and pretty interfaces. Essentially when you move past that into how the user actually feels you can start to really enhance the user's experience. It’s not just about flow, but also natural human interactions, immersiveness and flow of engagement.
This project explores how personalisation can influence the users experience and how data can be visualised in interactive and creative ways.
Problem statement: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is difficult. Tracking steps, food intake and calories consumes time and leaves out other important factors for wellbeing. In my experience quantifying how much I exercise or eat didn't lead me into a sustainable healthy lifestyle.
Theory: Explore how a simple reflection at the end of every week can help me maintain a more balanced lifestlyle.
Objective: Design a concept for a mobile app that helps people be mindful of personal wellbeing.
Goal: Explore the problem that the application is attempting to solve.
I researched the most important things that contribute to personal wellbeing and landed on 3 categories, each with 7 subjects.
You can validate if an application would add value to your target audience long before you design anything. To do this I ran people through the questions that the app would be asking. I recorded responses and notes in a spreadsheet. There was enough interest to run with this idea, and a few problems to solve too. I believe that some of these problems can be solved with design.
Designing everything on paper is faster than going straight to a screen.
Before getting into the apps structure I worked on the basic visual style. This will still be polished later but it gives me a good set of colours and visual elements to work with. I quickly blocked out icons and chose workable fonts.
I started fitting content into a grid and working on the visual hierarchy. I made everything into components in Figma so I can easily change things later. Now if I need to change an icon it will change all of the design screens at once.
One of my objectives was to explore how I can visualise data in creative ways. The planets are a way of illustrating this. Each planet represents a year of data, reflecting how well users looked after themselves. The goal is for users to be able to glance at the planet and understand this instantly.
I also explored using layers of visual information to communicate more to people that look closer. For example a new resident will be added to the planet for each entry. After the 52 weeks a planet will have 52 residents, each with unique character traits that reflect that week.
Many of these ideas would need to be tested and validated. I'm curious as to whether it would encourage people to have more athletic residents than passed out drunks on their planet.
I explored many ways of how the same data could be displayed and communicate different information. I'll need to test users on which information they find more important to design the best experience.
This is still a work in progress, you can interact with the latest prototype here:Open prototype in new tab
Though most of my roles required technical skills more, I don't shy away from work that involves my improvement areas.
|Self awareness||Have a good awareness of how others may percieve my actions.|
|Patience||Naturally a very patient calm person.|
|Resilience||Like to put wellbeing first and put aside time to avoid burning out.|
|Dicipline||I personally rely on positive repinforcement to work hard.|
|Motivation||Very self motivated and driven to exceed productivity expectations.|
|Learning||Strong growth mindset, great attitude and capacity to learn.|
|Attention||Great sustained focus on tasks, but have to actively avoid mind wandering.|
|Analytical||Good analytical skills but lacking experience in highly technical roles.|
|Multitasking||Not good at multitasking, sometimes need directing when blancing multiple projects.|
|Problem solving||Highly experienced at following a process to find solutions for difficult problems.|
|Empathy||Able to set aside my own perspective to make decisions, naturally compassionate.|
|Gratitude||Very greatful and appreciative, constantly admiring anything positive in the world around me.|
|Recieve criticism||Excellent at taking negative feedback and distinguishing fact from opinion.|
|Participation||Enjoy taking part in work related events.|
|Teamwork||Highly effective collaborator, good at managing conflicts.|
|Assertiveness||Naturally very passive.|
|Leading||Have not spent time developing leadership skills.|
|Confidence||Can often be doubtful of myself.|
|Appearance||Tidy, but casual about physical appearance.|
|Punctuality||Rely heavily on digital calendars and meeting alerts.|
An assessment of how well I convey and receive messages in person as well as via phone, email, and social media.
|Visual||Always keep my visual communication skills sharp.|
|Data Visualisation||Can communicate dense information effectively using graphs.|
|Non-verbal||Can confidently understand visual cues in conversation.|
|Reading||Sound reading skills.|
|Writing||Basic writing skills with preference for academic and technical writing.|
|Listening||Good listening skills.|
|Interpersonal speaking||Effective at one on one conversation.|
|Public Speaking||Public speaking is a growth area for me.|
This diagram shows what I look for in a workplace.
|Recognition||A pat on the back for personal contributions is nice but I prefer credit great teamwork.|
|Pay||I'm okay with an average salary so long as other values are being met.|
|Security||I want to always have impact and add value to my workplace.|
|Challenge||I like to be pushed out of my comfort zone and solve tricky problems.|
|Positive Impact||Knowing projects have a positive impact on society makes me feel passionate.|
|Belonging||Even if I'm contracting I want to be included as a team member.|
|Professional Development||I want opportunities to enhance my strengths and improve on growth areas.|
|Variety||Having a variety of tasks and projects keeps me on the edge of my seat.|