“How can we help newer designers level up? How can we lower the barriers and warmly welcome more people to get started designing?”
Role: Product Designer
Contributions: Empathy map, user flow, wireframe, prototype, motion graphics, pitch
Tools: Figma, Procreate, Zoom
Team: 5 Designers (3 UX + 2 Visual)
Time - 24 hours
Ambiguity - "New" designers could range from someone completely new to someone with a few projects in their belt
Environment - Remote with different time zones 3 PST, 1 CST, and 1 EST
Barriers to learning
With the amount of time we had, I suggested the team work on an empathy map. The team was comprised of students, including myself, a fresh bootcamp grad. A little over a year ago, I was the exact person that we were designing for. UX was a totally new concept to me. Our empathy map outlined a lot of the struggles that I myself faced:
The amount of resources for UX is overwhelming for somebody new. Where to start?
Design communities can be intimidating, who to reach out to?
Learning by doing in practice helps with absorbing design concepts better than reading about them.
The team brainstormed a lot of approaches that we could explore, but it came down to the users' problems. We figured that facilitating feedback in more intimate settings is important to the learning process. After some individual sketching, I proposed a "Group Crit Day" through a video call with a presenter queue.
What is Designmate?
Designmate was born out of the effectiveness of learning and growing with peers through projects. The main features included being put into a team of 3-5 peers, working on a project in a similar timeline, and having a weekly group critique to practice presenting their work and giving feedback. Designmate is loaded with key features that not only level up newbies but also helps them practice soft skills important to the design process.
With the amount of time left, we split up the work and I was in charge of mocking up the video chat screens as it was based on my sketches. I pulled UI patterns from established video call platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Whereby. None of these video call platforms have a queue, so I took inspiration from Raidcall, a voice call software I used back in 2013. It had a speaker queue feature utilized for online karaoke. The importance of the queue was to help timebox the conversations so that new designers can practice presenting work and asking for feedback in a timely manner.
We were tasked with crafting a 1-minute video for the submission, so I took the initiative and volunteered to create that. With the amount of time we had, I wanted to tell the story of our users' problem, while sticking to the strict 1-minute time limit. There was a lot to cover, so I felt that the best way to convey our prototype was by "storyselling." The visual designers on our team created our logo, so I animated it on Figma using smart animate for to help with the presentation. I recorded myself presenting a slide deck, since I didn't have time to be able to fully edit a video that was concise with just enough context.
While Camp Figma wasn't my first design jam/hackthon/whatever you want to call it, it was my first time signing up alone. I joined with the intention of meeting and befriending new designers, so when someone messaged me in the Slack inviting me to their team, I said "Sure!"
Before the official day, I suggested the team to set up a call just to get to know each other. After the introductions, we started to talk about strategy and if we wanted to focus on UX or Visuals. Everyone had a say in the decisions and we all ultimately worked on the final mockups together, but I was 1 out of 3 folks to concentrate on UX, while 2 teammates were in charge for branding/visuals. It was important that we had an idea as to how to approach our problem, given the time constraint.
Teamwork is about discussions, compromise, and timeboxing. Being 1 of 3 UX designers, I had to be sure to articulate the reasons behind my ideas and designs. Unlike working in a project for a longer period of time, I had to think on my feet, having only 24 hours to work on Designmate.