They might be giants – My UX Research artefact and final paper journey

Starting the ‘UXO704 UX research’ module this year as part of my Masters degree was a new and exciting experience for me. I quickly discovered a range of new tools and techniques for conducting research, including the highly recommended Paperpile web app.

Paperpile is a user-friendly library and reference generator that made my academic research much easier than my previous experience using physical books and highlighters during my undergraduate degree.

For our research papers, we were instructed to select a subject that would be future-proof and relevant to the cutting-edge field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). I chose to focus on the area of Sound UX, as I have a background in audio engineering and was eager to explore this area further.

As I delved deeper into my research, I realized that the subject of HCI, and Sound UX in particular, is vast and encompasses many complex factors. My research proposal underwent several revisions as I uncovered more critical thought and considerations in the area of Sound UX. Ultimately, I decided to shift my focus from the tonality of smart speakers to the accessibility of smart assistants for users with speech dysfluencies.

Throughout this research assignment, I had to be mindful of my personal growth and development. To ensure I was progressing effectively, I set aside dedicated time for research and writing, which required significant effort and time, approximately a month, to fully grasp the scope and requirements of the assignment. Three areas emerged as crucial components of the module: research, writing, and planning an artefact.

At the start of my research assignment, I utilized Trello as a tool for organizing and managing my weekly plans to ensure that I stayed on schedule. However, a few weeks into the writing process, I found that Trello became less essential for time management. This was because I was not delegating tasks to others and was becoming more familiar with the requirements and criteria of the overall assignment. As a result, I felt confident in my ability to proceed without relying on Trello.

I set up a dedicated office space before the module that helped me separate my home space from the assignment work, this really helped, especially as I had put up a whiteboard that later helped me create my rapid ideation for the artefact.

Upon choosing my new research paper proposal title, that being “Assessment of coupling techniques for non-standard voice users onto autonomous agents” I cracked on and focussed on researching papers looking into speech dysfluency-affected users & deaf hard of hearing affected user’s interactions with smart assistants, research studies that looked at the specific difficulties that are faced in onboarding non-standard users onto smart speakers were of particular interest.

I had a couple of 1-on-1 meetings with my tutor throughout the module, just to explain my pain points as a researcher and these proved very helpful as there was a lot to learn from her years of experience as a researcher.

One of my Microsoft team’s meetings with my tutor – figuring out the best research methods

After writing and editing my assignment paper, I had to then apply its findings to an artefact, I chose to create a prototype in Adobe XD that visually displayed the VUI / GUI blended UX journey for both non-standard and intermediary users who would combine for the assistive voice recognition app.

The research module had very valuable weekly content throughout, and I applied the teachings, in some cases, in real-time to the written assignment and artefact build, this added a rich tapestry of expert terminology and critical design thinking to aspects of the work that I didn’t realise existed prior.

All in all, this was a challenging module and I did admittedly use an extension on my deadline, but this whole experience was a great learning curve that moulded a newfound respect in myself for researching and the scale of work that has all been created to date in the field of HCI & UX design.

Here are the links to my prototypes for my artefact that were designed using the research paper’s findings.

INITIAL PROMPT & SIGN-UP PROCESSES

NON-STANDARD VOICE USER ROLE  – UX WIREFRAME / STORYBOARD – INITIAL PROMPT & SIGN-UP PROCESS PROTOTYPE FLOW

NON-STANDARD VOICE USER ROLE – UI DESIGN – SIGN-UP PROMPT & SIGN-UP PROCESS PROTOTYPE

INTERMEDIARY VOICE ASSISTANT USER ROLE  – UX WIREFRAME / STORYBOARD – SIGN-UP PROMPT & SIGN-UP PROCESS PROTOTYPE

INTERMEDIARY VOICE ASSISTANT USER ROLE – UI DESIGN / STORYBOARD – SIGN-UP PROMPT & SIGN-UP PROCESS PROTOTYPE

SESSION FLOW PROTOTYPES

NON-STANDARD USER ROLE – UX DESIGN – STORYBOARD PROTOTYPE

NON-STANDARD USER ROLE – UI DESIGN – STORYBOARD PROTOTYPE

INTERMEDIARY USER ROLE – UX WIREFRAME – STORYBOARD PROTOTYPE

INTERMEDIARY USER ROLE – UI PROTOTYPE – STORYBOARD PROTOTYPE

LEARNING PROGRESS WORD AND SENTENCE GUI RESULTS

ALL USER VIEW – WORDS AND PHRASES IMPROVEMENT METRICS – UX WIREFRAME / STORYBOARD

ALL USER VIEW – WORDS AND PHRASES IMPROVEMENT METRICS – UI PROTOTYPE – AMAZON ECHO MOBILE APP

ALL USER VIEW – WORDS AND PHRASES IMPROVEMENT METRICS – UI PROTOTYPE – AMAZON ECHO SHOW