© 2019 Marlo Elizabeth Owczarzak | Home page photos taken by Janka Gál and Megan Owczarzak.

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UX PURDUE UNIVERSITY

Human Centered Design and Development - 2017

Purdue University offers a semester-long graduate course in which students will learn advanced user research and design methods, and utilize principles of usability and user experience to create and evaluate high-fidelity prototypes. Students conduct advanced analysis of various situations using appropriate processes and methodologies for UX, develop design concepts that address various situations, clients, and problems, and create and evaluate prototypes for multi-channel experiences that incorporate multiple user touchpoints. 

Rate Your Lyft

BRIEF

PROCESS

Lyft is one of the fastest growing companies in the “sharing economy.” One of the most important aspects of the sharing economy is qualified and accurate ratings from users, which allows operators to divert resources appropriately and reward contractors that provide high levels of customer service. The current rating system tacitly encourages users to rank their driver using only very good or very bad rankings, due to the known limitations of a five-star scale.

Our team began by investigating issues related to rating systems  generally and specifically to Lyft. We conducted interviews with several Lyft users, then analyzed our interview and research data using affinity diagramming. We created two personas with related scenarios based on the user behaviors. We iteratively sketched and wireframed a design solution, and created multiple intermediate solutions. The initial wireframes were used in usability tests, and the results of these tests were used to iterate and improve the design.

GOAL

SOLUTION

The goal of this project is to create a replacement for the current five-star rating system that Lyft uses to track and reward drivers in their system. As a design team, you must consider the ways various rating systems constrain the input of users, the ease of use (e.g., speed of input in a busy urban environment), and the ways in which this information could be used maliciously against drivers. 

Based on secondary and primary research, our team decided to change from a five star system to a binary thumbs-up, thumbs-down system. After a round of A/B usability testing, we iterated upon our ideas for multi-step binary ratings in which the passenger rated the driver on Lyft's set categories. We proceeded with a simpler system  in which the passenger rates the Lyft ride either a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down, and then has the option to select "tags" to describe the part of the experience being rated. Like the current system, the rider can leave optional comments. 

I conducted interviews with current Lyft users, and contributed with secondary research by discovering the benefits and disadvantages of other ratings systems. I contributed in the process of affinity diagramming our insights, and in building two personas. I played a role in the entire iterative process, starting with initial sketches, mid-fidelity wireframes, and final high-fidelity wireframes. I conducted usability testing with one user who had ridden in a Lyft recently, and one user unfamiliar with the current Lyft rating system, in order to gain feedback from both perspectives. The prompt also included a video component, which I created for the group. Our final presentation was given to our class and professor, which was followed by a critique of our work. 

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Embodied Shopping

For this project, the goal was to focus on one specific aspect of the experience, and design accommodations for a five-year-old riding in an autonomous vehicle. While designing for this scenario, you must consider the wholistic function of the autonomous vehicle, and consider how the family would use the car without the child present. The team was instructed to work using the guidelines of Jake Knapp's Sprint, adapting the methods to our longer project time frame. 

It is 2025 and we live in a world where human-driven cars share the streets with autonomous cars. As UX researchers and designers your task to come up with UX considerations for autonomous cars. These cars cater to varied user groups, so to narrow the scope you will be looking at a scenario in which a five-year-old needs to be taken to and from kindergarten. Keep in mind that this is a family car and taking the child to school is only one of the functions/uses of the car. 

BRIEF

PROCESS

GOAL

SOLUTION

Our process began with secondary research on vehicle experiences for children, and primary research in which we interviewed parents of young children. Based on that information, we created affinity maps and an initial journey map of the experienceWe each made several "What if..." scenarios, and narrowed down our scenarios to the five most important, and created storyboards for those five. Our process was naturally iterative, and we improved our journey map and storyboards as the project progressed. Each meeting centered around a new stage in the Sprint process, using methods like "Divide and Swarm" and "The Four-Step Sketch," until the final wireframes and presentation.

Our team proposed a tablet and stylus system to be implemented into the back of the front seats of the autonomous vehicle. The child will be greeted by an interactive character set by the parent, and this character will guide the child through available activities that the tablet and car offer. The tablet is secured to the back of the seat, but is moveable, and the child can hold a magic wand that will interact with the tablet. For example, if the child wanted to play instruments, the magic wand could prompt the car to emit the instrument's sound when tapped. The car would warn the child when they are close to school, in an attempt to mitigate any frustration by the child. 

Our team of four students was collaborative, and we each contributed to the Sprint process. My role was to initially conduct secondary research, as well as create initial sketches. My early ideas were generated by "The Four-Step Sketch" method, in which I focused around our problem statement. After this exercise, we took steps to narrow our focus, and I created more sketches. I contributed early personas, before we decided collectively on one child. I sketchnoted a journey map of the whole experience, from entry into the car, to exit. This journey map helped define our "What If" scenarios, and brought forward any issues that could be solved before a future user testing session. Our solution was then presented as a group to our professor and class. 

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Purdue Everywhere

There has been a zombie outbreak in the United States, and people are traveling across the states to get to California, where there is a better chance of surviving. People are still using cell phones; GPS satellite is mostly functional, but there is no internet. People's biggest threats are a zombie attack and poor navigation skills. There is a need for for an app that will allow people to find and safely navigate to other survivors, signal for help, and provide critical survival skills.

BRIEF

PROCESS

GOAL

SOLUTION

The goal of this third project was to further practice our design skills. The output was a design argument, quality sketches, and multiple documented wireframed prototypes. The project was broken into two parts. Our team focused on all six phases of the design explanation and argument: Predispositions, Research, Insights, Concepts, Prototypes, and Strategy (PRInCiPleS). The themes of transparency, learnability, computer imagination, and tradeoffs will be primary lenses for our design.

The team began the design process by conducting secondary research, as well as primary research interviewing people of different ages and technological skill level. After collecting insights and brainstorming, we came up with some initial personas and concepts, then constructed a low-fidelity paper prototype. Halfway through the project, we were given a new constraint. The app could no longer include images, only vector sketches, and the color palette was limited to white, black, red, and green. This prompted us to refine our design, make the necessary changes, and create high-fidelity prototypes. This was followed by another round of usability testing before the final presentation of our solution.

Our solution was to create a navigation app that focused mostly on a collection of navigation and survival strategy guides. The survival guide was designed as a streamlined, bare bones, categorized information collection. There are tips that are introduced through the application, but guides can be updated with crowd-sourced information. This information can be voted upon to ensure it is accurate and updated in this high-stakes zombie apocalypse environment. We also introduced an edible nature filter, to determine if a specific item in nature is edible along anyone's survival journey. The app is designed to exist offline, but if the traveller reaches an internet hotspot, they can update the information.

For this project, I was the team leader, in charge of continuing progress and flow of the project. I conducted secondary and primary research, and led the brainstorming session based on the insights gained. I contributed initial sketches formed from our problem statement, and later created mid- fidelity wireframes, aligning with the bare bones nature of the prompt. Storyboarding was involved in the iterations of the final solution, completed as a team. Changes were made after the prompt changed to constrain the details of the product, and I updated the mid-fidelity wireframes to reflect the changes. The project concluded with a group presentation to the class and professor. 

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