Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Only artists can be designers.’ An introduction to User Experience corrected this misconception I had for the longest time. An IT education taught me programming, web development, et cetera, which, although a valuable skill-set to have as a UX professional, isn’t enough. I had to seek application based learning in the form of internships. My current internship at a small digital agency exposed me to the UI aspect of design. Here, I have had some informal experience with research. My role here is that of a designer around 80% of the time and that of a researcher the other 20% of the time. In June, when I was making up my mind to switch to design as a career I began to realize that the switch would be incomplete without hands-on research experience. At this point in my career, it is imperative that I work in a research role as well to grow as a professional. India’s design phase is still in its nascence, and few design studios place a premium on research-backed design decisions. The dreaded UI/UX role keeps popping up in my network.
However, I wish to apply only to those companies where I would gain valuable experience in UX research. An old friend told me that Lollypop has a dedicated UX team which prompted me to connect with Mr. Reddy to ask for career advice. He was one of the few people who advised that I base my design decisions on facts rather than assumptions, and after attending his MasterClass last week it was apparent that Lollypop is one of those companies who use user research to shape design decisions. Looking at the work at Lollypop sheds some light on the importance that it places on research in the design process.
The premise of Farmrise itself sounds challenging. Creating tech for Indian farmers who are not exactly famous for their technical expertise, would naturally, pose hurdles for designers. It was interesting to know the extent of user research that went into creating the product. Based on the whitepaper and Ms. Kirti’s blog post, it appears that a UX research internship at Lollypop could be one of the best decisions to further my interest in UX. Having ranted about why I’m excited at the prospect of working at Lollypop, let me tell you what I have been doing to ensure that I can rise to the challenges that UX research roles could pose. Besides reading up on design thinking and user experience, I’m currently pursuing a certificate course from The University of Michigan at edX.org. The UX Research and Design MicroMasters is a 9 part course. It aims to offer hands-on experience with various UX methods via assignments and culminates in a Capstone project. I have completed three courses since June and am preparing to conduct full-fledged usability tests in the fourth course.
So far, I have completed assignments that involve User Interviews, Micro-Usability tests, Affinity Diagramming, and Heuristic Evaluations. I have obtained an average grade of 97% in the first two courses and am awaiting grades for course number three. The pricing model of edX.org lets me audit each course, work on the assignments and finally purchase a verified certificate at the end. I hoped to attach a report on the usability tests that I intend to conduct, as a part of the course, however, it’s unclear for how long this position would be up. So, instead, I now hope to talk about it along with the contributions that I would make as a member of Lollypop.