User Experience: Theory & Practice
Competency Areas Built
Creativity + Aesthetics
Design + Research Processes
Business + Entrepreneurship
User + Society
Our UX Challenge, pitched by Mirabeau, was to design for a Nordic financial services company who wanted to attract new customers and increase sales
using conversational artificial intelligence (AI). Their target market was young adults who were interested in investing but did not know where to start. To appeal
to this audience, as well as improve around-the-clock customer service, the company was interested in implementing a chatbot based solution. In this challenge, we focused on young adults’ motivation, expectations and needs when investing. To transform the client brief into a meaningful user experience, we had to quickly become experts on the topic, synthesizing our new knowledge into a design and translating the theory we have learned into a solid foundation for our design choices. Since chatbots are an emerging technological trend, we also had to think about how to design and improve user experience for a relatively new and undefined innovation area.
In the individual UX portfolio, I explored my own unique position on UX design.
I have often felt alienated by the language of user experience. Too often, user experience is reduced down to where to put the button. I struggle to think of a moment of interacting with a product that really brought me much joy in and of itself. However, I am overflowing with stories which, upon reflection, have products as actors for joy, despair and all the messy human emotions in between. I am interested in those stories and the much broader sense of user experience; how did the interaction facilitate the creation of meaning for the human in the mix? How does the interaction fit into the wider context of their life; both in the direct environment of the interaction and within the socio-cultural systems they exist in? How does the interaction contribute to upholding hetero-patriarchal, colonial and capitalistic mentality? Interactions are complex, situated and embodied, and as a designer I approach them as such. For me, the most important question to ask when designing for user experience is why fundamentally, does the person want or need this interaction in their life?
This is where values come into play. However, whose values are we upholding? In my designs, I work from the start with feminist values, including pluralism, participation, advocacy, ecology and queerness. This portfolio has been a tool for me to formalize my own approach towards user experience, and has forced me to name and find the academic language for things that I knew intuitively. Throughout creating the portfolio, I have dug into feminist literature and tried to navigate how it can complement and inform my approach to user experience. I want to apply this intersectional knowledge into practice so that I can research, design and develop a more equitable future.