Recently, I was fortunate enough to get a ticket to the Design Jam London #4 this November. I heard a lot of praise about this event and I was really interested if it could live up to my expectations.
The event, hosted by City Uni, started early on Saturday morning at 8:30 (ouch) with a brief introduction of the organisers, mentors and sponsors. Soon the goals of the Design Jam and the main challenge were presented.
The main challenge was to design a solution that would help the shoppers to find and choose their best outfit for upcoming occasion. We were encouraged to get out and ask potential users about their shopping habits, behaviour, stories and frustrations, and use this knowledge to inform our design decisions.
We split ourselves into several teams, trying to mix people from various backgrounds as much as possible. The idea was to choose the team members based our skills and mix and match people from various backgrounds.
Our team kicked off with initial brainstorming how to approach the task. We mind-mapped few user groups, and problems that stop them from finding the best outfit.
Kicked out by security guys!
So how was it?
It was really great to work on such an interesting project with a few nice people from different backgrounds, with different sets of skills. The whole idea of the Jam is to learn. It’s not about competing or designing the best solution, but about getting hands dirty with some Sharpies and post-it notes, trying new techniques, learning from other participants and having fun.
It definitely worked for me and I’ll be coming to the next Design Jam for sure!
A big thanks to all organisers, sponsors and fellow participants for a such nice event!
The brainstorming could take slightly over 15 minutes and after that we rushed out to the local mall to catch some shoppers and do a quick guerrilla research. We interviewed 5 potential members of our target population and tried to get some insights on what drives their shopping inspiration, how they choose their special occasion outfits and what are the main problem they have to face when shopping both online and in stores.
After we’ve been kicked out of the mall by the security guys, we returned to the City Uni and started exploring the insights from our research. We identified a simple persona – a woman in her mid twenties who works as a lawyer, likes shopping and wants to find her ideal blue strapped dress for upcoming wedding party of her friend.
I’ll know it when I see it!
From our research emerged pretty clear idea of what the shoppers experience. Most often, they have pretty good idea what they want to wear, although they can’t articulate it exactly. “I’ll know it when I see it,” said us one of the young ladies we interviewed.
Probably the most painful and problematic area we uncovered was matching the untangible idea of ideal dress with the reality. Also, running from shop to shop, not knowing where to start and where to go next seemed to be quite frustrating for some of our interviewees.
Sketch, refine, test, refine!
After a review of our direction with the rest of the Design Jam participants, and after quick lunch, we put together a user journey of our persona, and started sketching down quick and dirty low fidelity wireframes for each step in the story.
When we were happy with our set of wireframes, we tested our paper prototype on another Design Jam participant, and finally tweaked the screens slightly to reflect the feedback from the testing.
I don’t think it is that important to describe our solution – even though I believe it would be great to have a such mobile app shopping helper we designed. All groups seemed to perform great and we had loads of fun with presenting and watching others’ presentations.