WEBLABUX
Domain: UX Design, Project Management
Team Size:  05
Organization:  University of Washington
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What is WEBLABUX?

WEBLABUX is a software tool that allows web developers and researchers to test the effectiveness of different web site designs remotely by combining two data sources: users' survey responses and their navigational behaviors. The main purpose of the tool is to provide a user friendly tool for researchers to be able to manipulate and create studies and regulate sessions and also monitor them through a very intuitive dashboard interface. This would enable them to strategize future sessions and control them accordingly.

With WEBLABUX, web site stakeholders can determine whether there is a relationship between users' navigational behavior and their perceptual and comprehension responses.

WEBLABUX project started as part of a graduate research groups at HCDE, University of Washington . I joined the group as a ux designer and gradually co-lead the design team. WEBLABUX was one of the final projects to be showcased as part of the HCDE Research Showcase day held in 2013. WEBLABUX participated in the 2013 Annual IPCC Graduate Poster Competition.

Our team won the 2013 IPCC Graduate Poster Competition    News . Pdf

I chose WEBLABUX project as part of my Masters Capstone project where I continued creating new user experiences for the product and improvised its visual appeal. I also gave a new identity to the application, rebranding its logo that aligns to the visual coherence and theme of WEBLABUX.

Check out more information on WEBLABUX here



Awards
Trophy
WINNER
IPCC Graduate Research Poster Challenge, 2013
Team Size

Five (I also co-lead the user experience design and front end development teams)



My Role

Brand Design, Visual Designer, User Experience Designer, Front End Developer



Tools Used

Graphic Design: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop
Wireframes: Paper Sketches, Adobe Photoshop, Axure
Front End Development: HTML, CSS, Javascript, Jquery, Twitter Bootstrap

Design Idea

When I joined WEBLABUX research group, the project was an ongoing research being driven by Professor Jan Spyridakis to be able to create a platform where researchers of all medium of expertise would be able to conduct online usability studies and track user behavior as the user navigates through a series of web pages. I became part of this project since two quarters of my graduate studies and undertook the project as part of my Master's final Capstone project.



Usability Study

As I have been designing wireframes as proposed replacement of the previous mock ups, I find ample opportunities to improvize its user experience and visual design. As part of the competitive analysis, we have gone through a number of online survey building websites like SurevyMonkey, our university's own survey web called Catalyst, etc. The sole aim is to understand the concurrent technologies that are there and to design WEBLABUX in such a say that it overcomes the limitations and shortcomings of the current applications and create a better user experience. WEBLABUX has published several papers in many different reputed journals and these have been my major source of information gathering.We do a lot of heuristic evaluations of the wireframes being developed among our UX design team and iterate back based on the feedback received. We conducted usability studies with researchers/students within the campus to understand validate our designs and also get some feedback on our progress. The usability studies threw light on some critical aspects of the user experience of WEBLABUX.

Working with this research group proved a great learning experience for me. I started working with this group since the Autumn 2012 quarter and have been part of various teams working on the Front end Design to Development to being part of the Usability Testing. The best part of working on these small research groups are that you get to learn from different teams and equally find opportunities to collaborate with them and contribute to the team through you knowledge and skills.

In the last Autumn 2012 quarter I started working as a front end developer developing the mockups built from the previous quarters brainstorming. Working with various organizations, I have learned how to look into projects and understand the needs of users before delving much deeper into development. As we progressed further in the Autumn 2012 quarter, I started participating in Design sessions where the front end Design team used to brainstorm ideas nad come up with low fidelity paper and white board wireframes for different screens.

My ideas started being acknowledged as I spoke to modify some of the screens to enhance users' experience and interaction. I took some time to come to the fore front as I learned all the way how the work is being done, understood clearly my goals as a designer and front end developer and goals of the research project. My passion to design drove me crazy, and I started being an active member of the Front end Design team. I have been a keen member since and have completely redesigned the entire 'Dashboard', one of the key components of WeblabUX.

Being part of the member of Design team involves learning to create wireframes to be able to communicate your thoughts to the group and to do so you would also need to communicate how various interactions of different components in a page works. As a common platform of developing wireframes, I started learning Axure and I am still learning it and unlocking various of its features to create interactive flows.

Although I do also create wireframes in Photoshop (where I am more confident and comfortable) to show more polished design of the interface as I occasionally feel that working with prototyping tools always have certain limitations.

Why I love working with this group?

There are ample of opportunities to learn, share you knowledge and also be a leader and manage team and deadlines.

You have every opportunity to participate and be part of different teams and contribute to their development. The only thing required is your passion and enthusiasm to learn.

I clearly see my learnings from various work experience with organizations I have been part of, shaping my thoughts in becoming a better designer every day. I see a shift in my tacking the problem keeping in perspective the users I am designing for and by understanding their needs.

Last but not the least, I learned a lot co-leading the Front End Design team and understanding how to effectively manage a team of distinct skillset. I also learned how to be a good team player and work coherently with every team member producing acclaimed deliverables.