Learning and upskilling in product design with Experience Haus
Croydon Council recently partnered with Experience Haus for their Product Design including UX/UI course. This is how a Junior Interaction Designer found the course.
Why did I take the course?
I joined Croydon Digital Service as a junior interaction designer after graduating last year. When I started working in a user-centred design team for the first time, I began to understand the individual roles each person had and how they work collaboratively to create smoother processes for our users.
Through my work, I became curious about user research and how it can make an impact on my work as a designer. This led me to be interested in user experience design. It became clear this was a direction that I wanted to explore and I was eager to learn more about it. I wanted to find a course where I could learn the fundamentals of UX design and also get real life experience to help me understand the end to end process. I was made aware of the Experience Haus course through Croydon Council, and it was exactly what I was looking for.
The Product Design including UX/UI course
This is where my journey with Experience Haus started. They provide a structured and mentor-led course, where all the learning is done while tackling a real brief from a real business. Due to COVID-19, the course was done completely online through a series of live workshops.
The course itself ran for 8 weeks with 2 weekly evening sessions and 4 hours a week of homework. My course had 9 students, which was an ideal class size where we could work and learn collaboratively together to complete tasks.
On the course we learnt the overall design process used to achieve good UX design, covering topics about user research, design thinking and user interface design. Sessions included affinity mapping, user flows, user stories, competitive analysis, wireframing, prototyping and many other topics.
As part of the course, I participated in live stakeholder interviews, user interviews, usability testing and also a final stakeholder presentation. I learnt about tools such as Mural and Figma (used for creating interactive digital prototypes) and found it interesting to compare it to the set of tools we currently use at the council. It was nice to see what other teams and companies use in terms of tools and approaches, and also eye-opening to try something new.
Tackling the brief
Tackling a real project brief was a challenge in which I learnt how to apply what was taught in the sessions to a real scenario. We went through 4 phases: discover, define, develop and deliver, using the Double Diamond process set out by the British Design Council. Our brief was centred around a new “tech for good” platform, based around sports and giving to charity. The main aim of our brief was to improve UX/UI design of the current website as well as work on conceptual ideas for the future state of the platform.
What I have learnt
Now that the course is over, I would like to implement my new skills immediately into my day to day role. I think the most important lesson I learned is that design thinking is an important part of the process when tackling creative challenges. I know that in my current role I will want to give more focus to this aspect of my work.
I would also like to work more closely with the user research team to make sure I have a closer understanding of our users needs. Another important aspect I took from this course is that collaboration and communication is key, whether that is working with your team to ideate or speaking to your users to understand their perspective. Being able to talk through ideas and understanding that everybody has a different viewpoint is what makes UX design so interesting. Empathy for user needs is also crucial and I think having a better understanding of this will help me in my future projects.
I am very proud to now be an alumnus of Experience Haus, and thankful for the opportunity to upskill through Croydon Council. I am excited to see how I can use my new skills in the future.