Aishashahid1 - UX & UI Pathway

Self Assessment 1:

Hello! I hope everyone is doing well. Here is my self assessment:
Thus far in this internship, I have learned and expanded on a number of useful technical and soft skills. Some of those technical skills have involved the extensive research needed to map out the needs of the users for the STEM- Away platform. For instance, implementing UX design processes such as stakeholder and empathy maps and communicating with and interviewing fellow interns to gauge attitudes towards the website. In addition, we are beginning to prototype/wireframe ideas to improve the website. The low fidelity tool we are focusing on is Balsamiq. The research component of the project has enabled me to better communicate with my team members, since their input is a crucial part of this effort.

Some of my achievements so far include interviewing some individuals who have interacted with the STEM-Away website and acquiring valuable research from this, combining my group’s input (attitudes towards the website, background, goals, etc) to create a graphic persona, and offering my own input about the platform and what can be improved.

So far, I have attended all 8 of the google hangout meetings that have taken place since the start of this internship on June 1st.

For the upcoming week, some of our team goals will be to continue exploring tools like Balsamiq and Figma and decide which one of those best works for all UX team 3 members. These tools will then be used to wireframe our ideas of what the STEM-Away website should ideally be designed to look like. The overarching goal of our team is to improve the website’s homepage as well as its communication mechanisms.

Our tasks started off with completing stakeholder maps, which outlined the most important stakeholders of STEM-away, including founders, developers, interns, leads, etc. This task enabled me to understand who would be most affected by the changes made to the STEM-Away website. Another task paired with the stakeholder maps was the empathy map, which effectively highlighted some of the potential pain points and feelings (of the user) associated with the current interface. The third task involved interviewing someone (outside of my team) and recording down some problems that they may have experienced with the website as well as their first impressions. This task blended into the fourth task, which involved interviewing someone within my actual team. This interview, however, did not solely focus on the attitudes of this person towards the website, unlike the first interview, but also dived deeper into their background (age, education, internships goals, etc) in order to better understand them as a user and intern. Finally, the last task was a persona graphic which was completed on a simple powerpoint. I compiled information from all of the interviews submitted by members of my team by searching for commonalities in age, major, goals, frustrations with the website, and some nice features that would improve the website. All of this information helped me construct the persona of a fictional character, Sam, who fitted the description of my team members in all of these categories. One hurdle associated with this task was being able to voice everyone’s distinct opinion from all of the interviews into one single persona. However, I realized that some generalizations would be needed in order to complete this persona, which is how I overcame that hurdle. Our team lead, Jay, was very helpful with his instructions for this task (which helped me overcome the hurdle) as well as several other tasks throughout this internship!

Final Self Assessment:

Hi everyone! I hope you are all doing well. Here is my second self-assessment
As this internship comes to a wrap for me, I can say that I learned quite a bit. Our team was divided into two groups, one which would work on the personalized dashboard and another that would work on the communications channel. Both groups were tasked with working on the landing page. During this time, one of the main technical skills I learned was the ability to maneuver the high fidelity tool we used, Figma. This tool was completely new to me, and it took a few days for me to familiarize myself with it. In addition, I further refined my ability to work in a group. I believe this soft skill was necessary to the overall success of the project.

As a team member for the dashboard group, it was interesting to help create the personalized feel of a page that a Stem- Away intern might potentially see if he/she logged into the platform. This helped me better understand how users may perceive a website and how it should be tailored to their needs. Another achievement included the ability to constantly revise and improve upon our design per the advice of our mentor, Jay, as well as the Stem - Away industrial mentor, Benjamin. This input was valuable to the overall design of the landing page and dashboard.

So far, I have attended all of the Google hangout meetings that were scheduled since the completion of the last self assessment.

For the last week, our overarching goal will be focused on usability testing and the final presentation of our work.

Our tasks started off with creating basic low - fidelity wireframes on Figma to create a general outline of what we would want to include on our landing page and dashboard. Some of these features on the landing page included a selection menu on top, a banner, the services offered, information about the founders, and testimonials/student spotlight. On the dashboard, these features were divided between a pop up menu bar on the left and a central page streaming content (announcements, resources, etc). Although this task was relatively straightforward, it did require some improvements in design. The next main task was creating a high fidelity version of our Figma design. Although it was challenging to initially implement a perfect design for the dashboard and landing page, we were able to tweak several aspects of the design that were problematic, using constructive criticism, inspiration from model websites, and our instincts. I believe this contributed greatly to the final look of our design.