My name is Joel Kidd but you can call me Joey
I'm the advocate for the user. That's my main job. There is communication with the business partners and IT but the people who actually use the products are never at the table. That's where I come in. I try to bridge the gap between what the business wants to do and what IT says that they can deliver with what the users want. I'm a UX Designer. I love to make things better.
I have been working in UX for 10 years through web design and application design for internal and external facing applications.
I have an under grad degree in Art and Technology from The Ohio State University. I also have a Masters Degree in User Experience Design from Kent State University.
Some thoughts on
There are many different kinds of research. When it's boiled down to its most basic form it's about understanding. It's about learning and understanding the problem or situation that you are trying to fix. It's about understanding the users of the product you are trying to make more usable. It's about testing and understanding if your solution works for its intended audience.
Information archecture is about structure and flow of information. There is a hierarchy to everything and if this isn't correct then in most cases the product, application, website or whatever widget you are working with will be harder to use. It may still be usable but the users will struggle with it. Getting the hierarchy of information correct and organizing the data into it's proper chuncks will make whatever you are working with more usable. The whole goal of UX is to make things more usable for the people that are using them. Getting the information organized in the beginning helps take a big step in the right direction.
Interaction design is all about how the users will interact with your product. This is where the creativity of UX comes into play. Now that the understanding phase is done it's time to create. Whether in groups or alone at a white board it's time to create how the users will interact with the design. Will they click a button? What type of data will they be presented and how much? Will they touch to interact with the product or will they be using a mouse? These are just a small sample of the things that are thought aobut during the ineraction design phase of a project. This is where the designs are itterated through and then some more to try and find the most usable product for the users.
Telling the story
Telling the story is one of my favorite parts about UX. It's also, in my opinion, one of the most important aspects of UX or anything for that matter. Telling the story is all about communication. Can you make the people that need to understand what you are trying to tell them understand? Can you make a compelling argument for why the design will help the users? This is where being able to tell the story comes in. When you are presenting your ideas to executives and trying to help them see the benefit of the design you have to be able to tell the story. If you don't tell the story and peak their interest and help them understand why the design should be implemented, no matter how good it is, it may never get approval or make it into production.
Graphic to explain UX process
Tasks performed: Informative Graphic
When my team gets engaged in a project it's often apparent that folks don't fully understand the function of UX. It is an assumption many times that we "Make things look good". This is a graphic that I put together and use often to explain the process of UX and what is involved. It's always a nice opening slide to get folks on the same page and understand what we can provide.
Design of Lunch Money Buddy App
Tasks performed: User journeys, site map, mockups, prototype
The design of the Lunch Money Buddy app was taken from concept though prototype. The ask for this project was to design a mobile application that parent could use to manage their childrens lunch money. The focus of the app was to allow parents to load funds, track how much each child had left in their account and also to show upcoming lunch menus.
First, user journeys were created to better understand how users might use this product. This journey walks Henry through adding funds to his son Joe's account. Henry gets an alert from the app. He opens the app to find that the alert was due to a low balance in Joe's account. Henry is quickly able to add funds from the checking account that he has previously stored in the app.
The next step was to start sketching out a possible site map to start to understand how the information would be organized. Hand sketched sitemaps were generated and then itterated through until a final version was created.
Now it was time to start to think through the screens of the app. Lots of versions of hand sketches were itterated through to think through the two main flows of adding funds to the account and viewing the upcoming schedule. A mobile template was used to sketch with. The basic interactions of the screens were thought through and sketched out.
Once the sketches were in a good place it was time to convert them to mockups. The hand sketches were turned into a more formal version that could be used for testing or communicating to the developers the proper design. For this project I created the prototype myself, but typically the mockups could have been handed off to developers. The benefit of having a prototpye is that testing could be performed to find errors on the design and changes made prior to giving the design to developement. Following are some sample screens of the mockups and a screen shot of the prototyped version of the app.
Information archecture rework of CoolTools.com
Tasks performed: Information archecture, mockups
CoolTools.com presented users with several different types of navigations. There was a main navigation for the parent site, a main navigation for the sub-site, a local navigation for the sub-site and finally an exact organization scheme for the content itself. It was even more confusing when a user would navigate to a specific section of the website.
There are several ways in which the organization of the site will be improved. The backpacking page is used as an example. One change is to move the main navigation of the Cool Tools site to the top of the page to provide some separation from the local "Categories" navigation. Organize the "Categories" into alphabetical order to take advantage of an exact organizational structure to make scanning the list easier. Move the "Month Selector" dropdown to tie it to the page elements a little better. Also, add a field label and show the default selection in the dropdown. This will better show how and what month the data is currently being sorted by. Add a date to each post above the title to show that the data is organized in chronological order. Add some styling to the "Archives" link as well as the "Backpacking" link to show where in the hierarchy of the site the user is.