Internship report Tom van â€˜t Westeinde
Competency coach: Jorge Alves Lino Company coach: Hammad Khan
PREFACE The aim of this report is to describe the learning process of the internship at the experience design consultancy Entropii in London. Throughout the report this development will be explained by the use of the projects that were done. During these projects it will become clear in what way there could be learned from these activities but also how there could be contributed to them with existing knowledge. All together the report will reflect on how the personal learning objectives were met during the internship and what the valuable outcome was of this semester. Furthermore the report communicates the gained insights and design deliverables that are made during the process. It shows how a single individual can grow within a company and become a valuable addition to a team by using its personal knowledge and experience to become professionally adaptable in a small company. During this project the company coach and, because of the close collaboration, also the whole team provided necessary feedback and resources in order to keep focus on what is essential during designing digital experiences.
...using scientific methodology and creative thinking. That is how designers should solve problems!
- Hammad Khan, CEO Entropii
TABLE OF CONTENT INTRODUCTION TO ENTROPII
WORD OF THANKS 30
INTRODUCTION TO ENTROPII Entropii is a new, rebranded experience design consultancy with their main focus on the design and improvement of customer experiences. In the fields of service design, user-experience design, branding and communication Entropii designs and consults for a various set of clients all over the world. Because they are young, they are still developing their personal ideology and methodology as the driving force behind their design thinking.
Brand experie nce
Service experie nc
IDEOLOGY Their ideology is based on the dichotomy between science and creativity. This believe is based on the thought that designers should solve challenges by using scientific methodology and creative thinking. The best way to explain this is with the theory of the two brain hemispheres. It is said that the left brain
stands for the analytical and strategic thinking and provides order and logic while the right side stands for creativity, imagination and the sensitive way of approaching something. The combination of these two compulsions is the best way to design for user related challenges.
ARCHITECTURE CLIENT & USER REQUIREMENTS
CLIENT / AGENCY REVIEW CYCLE
USABILITY TESTING CYCLE
METHODOLOGY Their methodology that they use is well-known to the ID educational system. With a user centered design process as it introduced in most User Focus and Perspective assignments Entropii approaches their design challenges. Combining this with an iterative design process they are able to come up with a dynamic design process that can be well communicated to the client and with all the relevant people in the team and their skillset.
THE TEAM The team at Entropii is a dynamic and growing entity of individuals, each with their own skillset. Since the start in January 2013 they lost three team members, but also gained four new people and this number seems only to be growing. With Hammad Khan as their fearless leader the company keeps developing themselves on a global scale with a development team in Pakistan and an online office in Dubai. Furthermore they can cover all the fields of experience design with a good mixture of graphic-, service-, and user-experience designers. This diverse and supportive team was an important part of the collaborative aspect of the internship. Their openness, kindness and personalities were a valuable addition to the whole experience.
CEO Hammad Khan
Client Partner (EU)
Non-Exec Director (UK)
Client Partner (MENA) TBC
UX Shean Malik
Intern Tom Vant Westeinde
SX Natalie Moore
CX Sharma Yelverton
DX Hilda Allen
Designer Konrad Ziemlewski
WHAT DID I WANT During the internship the essence was to answer two important questions concerning the personal learning objectives. The first question that needed answering was; what did I want? Based on the whole set of previous experiences it was important to get out of the comfort zone and see what kind of designer I could become. With the view on the approaching the Final Bachelor semester, and hopefully after that a Master, it was necessary to get clear what was going to be the right direction.
Based o n previou s experie nces Out of the one comfort z
g Final Bachel or
a Doing r maste
WHAT DID I NEED Next to that it was important to answer the second question, which is what did I need? What could be that valuable addition of an internship to the already highly practice-related education? Based on the atmosphere of the new company the conclusion was to become professionally adaptable within a small dynamic company. Because of the rebranding in January 2013 Entropii has to be a flexible company within the industry in order to satisfy their growing range of clients. This gave the opportunity to learn how to perform within a team from a business point of view.
What is there to learn ?
nI How ca ute? contrib
PROJECT #1 ENTROPII.COM The start of the internship kicked-off with the redesign of the companyâ€™s website; Entropii.com. Due to project commitment the team worked to create a single page website as a temporary solution. A couple of months later, the site evolved into a light weight multipage website. Since September they have had the time to update the site with more details in various sections, but also align the website more with the business proposition, which has evolved over the first eight months of the year 2013. The end goal of this project is to design & develop the Entropii. com website. The initial stages of the project involved conducting research. This will allow the team to understand who the competitors are and how their sites have been architected and designed and what the essential structures are that the site need to cover.
COMPETITOR ANALYSIS By doing a competitor analysis a large set of company websites in the same business, but also advertising- brand- and marketing agencies and big corporates were evaluated. To do this the essentials of web design were carefully questioned during the process; what purpose does the homepage serve, how effectively are they communicating their identity, values and core services and what is the balance between emotional engagement and logical information? By making a detailed review of the competing companies the positive and negative trends in web design could be determined. The results were collaboratively presented back to the team to communicate these insights.
INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE The second part of the development was the creation of a new information architecture for the website. With the input from the first step the content of the website had to be organized. This collaborative process was executed in a brainstorm-like way in which ideas for the navigation and linked content distribution were generated. Partly this detailed thinking has an overlap with the existing knowledge of several UFP assignments, but applying this to digital design was a newly acquired skill that needs some expertise in order to become mastered. Together with multiple, expertise team members this process was successfully executed.
LO-FI WIREFRAMING Subsequently this architecture needed to be more concretely visualized in the first user interface scribbles that would result in the lo-fi wireframes. This democratic process opened up the possibilities for taking the user centered thinking from designing the architecture one step further into messy designed interfaces that get the thinking started. Discussing these ideas with other UX (User Experience) designers and communicating it to the rest of the team provoked a debating process in the group. This collaborative approach resulted in the fundamental layer of the website.
HI-FI WIREFRAMING The final stage of the UX development consisted of translating these scribbles in to detailed, high fidelity version that were suitable for the graphic designers to work with. This individual task meant that the scribbles iterations of the previous step had to be digitalized. This so-called wireframing was executed with software that is known as Visio. While digitalizing these ideas the designs were frequently discussed with the team so the wireframes kept evolving into the ideal designs. During this process it was important to keep thinking about the interactions for the end user. To do this terms as usability, effectiveness and fatal errors were reoccurring in the thought process.
With designing the mobile wireframes for the website this interaction thinking needed even more thought. Designing for mobile was something that I had learned during DG302, User Testing Methods. Parts of this knowledge could be used in designing interactions that are completely based on, swiping, pinching and tapping. As this project is being written the website is still in development. Due to the previously mentioned flexibility of the company my focused changed to a new project that required priority.
MDS This first client project was a project that was done mostly individually and therefore could be used to proof that with the newly gained knowledge I was capable of doing it all by myself. The project started with a client meeting in which the concerning parties were introduced. The company MDS is an OSS/BSS company, which stands for Operations Support Systems and Business Support Systems. Working with different types of companies raises industry awareness and is good for personal development. In this case two representatives of the MDS marketing team and their independent developer were present. Their website was recently redesigned but did not satisfy the requirements. Before the new UX proposal of February 2014 they needed an interim update with some improvements an fixes that needed to happen as a priority to improve traffic to the site and make it stickier for visitors.
EVALUATION REPORT Step one of the interim update was the review the current website and write a report. This meant that a general analysis of the current UX bottlenecks had to be done in order to determine what the major aspects were that needed change. This one day report was mostly intended for internal purposes and also has been reviewed by other designers.
The project continued with iterating on new wireframes for a select group of pages. Especially the homepage needed a fresh look and required most of the attention. Therefore the possibility arose to take initiative and come up with a non-digital approach for wireframing. This initiative was well appreciated and proved to be well suitable because of the quick dynamic possibilities. After digitalizing the first set of wireframes they were sent to the client for first time feedback.
Via multiple conference calls the subsequent set of wireframes were evaluated and kept changing based on the feedback of MDS. With the previously mentioned method these changes could be easily discussed and implemented. When the final wireframes went to the graphic designer you keep closely involved with the visual development. Sometimes little changes need to be made because they are not graphically possible, but more importantly to see if the interactive elements come across as was intended during wireframing. Even after the graphic design stage, when the site is in development, you keep closely involved when they ask for feedback. In this case some little changes were carried out to make the site even more intuitive and good looking.
EDELMAN, PURINA For this small project I functioned as a resource for another UX designer. The UK branch of pet brand Purina asked Edelman, a Public Relations Agency, to help them becoming the most trusted pet brand in 2014. As part of this process Edelman asked Entropii to evaluate their website and generate user journeys to communicate what is wrong with their current piece of digital marketing. To start this, an introduction to user journeys was given. It soon became clear that this process is strongly related to persona development; a well-known procedure within the system of industrial design. Therefore this user perspective thinking could be easily applied when creating these user journeys. Based on previously generated personas several specific tasks on the website www.purina.co.uk were closely executed and visualized with the way-finding symbolism that is introduced by Entropii. This was a good exercise to really replace yourself in the head of a possible end-user and discover the flaws of the website.
When all the journeys were clearly documented the final task was to compare the UK website with the US version of Purina. In this comparison the differences between the user experience aspects were identified and potential effective solutions to the issues were highlighted.
WHITEPAPER The next overarching project was a big part of the second half of the internship. What started as a 3-day website audit ended up in working the first whitepaper produced by Entropii. In order to grow in the industry and become influential thought leaders it is important for a young company to make yourself heard. With this whitepaper Entropii demonstrates the importance of a high quality overall user experience in the design of digital communication channels. By auditing the websites of Royal Chartered Bodies Entropii tries to communicate why this communication needs to be effective in order to achieve their objectives.
Creating this whitepaper started with auditing thirty websites in order to make a judgment of the overall user experience. Each website has been subjected to judgement based on six criteria; content, membership, navigation, user interface, digital footprint and mobile compatibility. Thinking from a user point of view these websites were critically evaluated and the findings and screenshots were gathered. The outcomes of this audit was used to write the key findings. In this way the highest and lowest results could be shown. The choices for the ranking were motivated with textual reasoning and visual content. Writing, and especially rewriting, of this document took quite some time. As this is a document to represent the quality of the company it had to be neat and convincing. For the overarching part of the document there also needed to be written some theoretical content to substantiate the ranking choices. This was a good exercise to really dive into the details of digital experience design, and would become helpful knowledge for further projects.
ENJOY WORK In order to work on more mobile interface development I got the chance to work on mobile wireframing. The Enjoy Work project is a project that had been running for a while within Entropii and the wireframes and designs of the website were ready to go to the development team. However, to make the development easier the web wireframes needed to be translated into mobile wireframes. The challenge with this was to redesign certain interactions into suitable mobile interfaces. When mouse interactions seems so logical they might not fit well for the same kind of touch interaction. Together with another UX designer all these mobile wireframes were created. As another project within Enjoy Work I got to work on the interactive map of their business park. Enjoy Work is the driving organisation behind the business park called Chiswick Park. With the new website they also came with the idea for an interactive map for the visitors. In a two day project, together with a graphic designer, the basic idea of a tree-level zooming map was created an wireframed.
PERFECT SMILE The Perfect Smile Dental Clinic in Hertfordshire, just outside London, is a highly reputable clinic that can give every dental make-over possible. They approached Entropii because they noticed a decrease in new visitors on their website and wanted their website to be responsive. In order to convince the client of the capabilities of Entropii as design consultancy I did a mini audit of several dental websites that were suggested by Dr. Rahul, the owner of the Perfect Smile Clinic. With this audit the view of Entropii on good user experience design was communicated towards Dr. Rahul.
PERSONA DEVELOPMENT With a rich amount of information the personas could be created. The persona approach at Entropii goes one step further than the persona development at industrial design. This gave a new, and fresh view on how to best generate a reliable database of fictional characters that represent the target audience. In total there were eight personas created with each their own personal story, demographics, motivations, goals and abilities.
This rich database of personas could be used to create the next step in the process; the user journeys. Contradictory to the Purina journeys, these journeys had to be created based on a nonexisting website. The essence of creating these journeys was to describe the ideal journey for each relevant personas and how the website could contribute to the best user experience. This was quite a challenging process because the ideas had to be completely generated from scratch. With the help of another UX designer I was able to deliver eight possible journeys.
As soon as the journeys were approved it was time to start thinking about the website structure. With the existing sitemap in mind there had to be a new architecture created. This was done by the means of card sorting. With this method it is important to put away all the prejudiced knowledge you have of the website and have a fresh look at what could be the best way to arrange the information on the website based on the previously created journeys. It helps to let as many people as possible do this process so you get different inputs. To do this the method â€˜thinking aloudâ€™ was used, as it was described in DG302. This method helped to see in what way other people think would be the most logical way to arrange content.
WORD OF THANKS I would like to give my most grateful thanks to the whole Entropii team for giving me an unforgettable experience. Every individual of this team was a pleasure to work with and gave me the feeling that I was part of the team. I have the feeling that I have learned a lot during the internship but they also gave me the possibility to contribute to their work.
Thanks for everything.
..BUT IS THIS WHAT I WANT?
NO However the whole experience was amazing, I am happy that I could answer my initial question. This is not the kind of designer I want to become. I love the user perspective part of the whole internship and this is definitely something I would take with me in my career as industrial designer. However I believe I am not suitable to sit behind a computer for most of the week in order to design. I do not believe that this is the right approach for me. Getting in the field, talk with people, do surveys and get engaged with your target group will make me an effective and happy designer.
Tom van â€˜t Westeinde