Primary Role: UX Designer / Project Manager / Mentor
Responsibilities: Participated in coming up with the strategy for the proposal. Participated in creating and executing a research plan. Gave instruction and advice on UX design. Facilitated group activity discussion. Created a deliverable plan and delegated tasks among the team. Participated in ideation, iteration of wireframes, and prototyping. Created deliverables for the presentation (prototype and presentation). Participated in the final presentation.
Tools: Milanote, Adobe XD
Because of the nature of the hackathon, the things I have done for the project varied. The group I was a part of was primarily composed of UX designers of various experience so there was definitely no shortage of design thinking.
Prior to the event, I did some brainstorming to come up with activities and a project proposal. I met up with some of the team members to discuss various proposals and settle on one of them for the hackathon. While we didn't end up going forward with my proposal, it was a good opportunity to try out a new note-taking app, Milanote.
For the project itself, we chose to address the MARTA rider experience problem. In a nutshell, we came up with the strategy that focused on building good big data. The crux of this involves a customer solution that allows them to report issues they see at the stations (sanitary issues, mechanical problems, safety, etc.) similar in a sense to how users feed data to Waze by reporting on various hazards.
The idea is that with the trove of data, it can unlock other opportunities:
- For customers, there is opportunity to leverage crowdsourced data to better inform them of potential hazards at MARTA stations
- For employees addressing hazards at stations, there is opportunity to use the data to raise awareness of the kinds of things to watch out for
- For employees at call centers, there is an opportunity to use the data to better align their resources to stations that may have a need more than others. This can help empower the call center domain by adding an analytic component (and additional data channels) to preempt potential calls in the future.
- For leadership, there is an opportunity to analyze this data and come up with long term strategy and initiatives to help improve the rider experience.
During the event, we came up with a strategy to come up with all the artifacts and activities that would need to be done to support our proposal.
- Station walkthrough to determine our starting point of issues riders can report. This list was further distilled through an affinity grouping activity. I took part in this.
- Guerilla research to quickly determine if the most important part of the proposal holds water ("If there was an app/features where you can report issues you see around a MARTA station, would you use it?"). The majority said yes. I took part in this.
- Employee interview and creation of a journey map to inform how they currently work through station issues and how our proposal affects that workflow. This was done by one of the other team members.
- Ideating and iterating over design artifacts of varying fidelity to showcase the value of our proposal from various workflows. I was more involved in the customer workflow component.
- Producing the artifacts that will be used in the proposal presentation to the judges. I took ownership of creating the plan for the presentation while circling back with team members for feedback on its focus. I took the final wireframes that was chosen for the customer workflow and drawn out by another team member, and produced a clickable prototype for the presentation. For the other workflows, these were delegated to other team members and I incorporated their final deliverable into the presentation.
One of the biggest challenges in the event was keeping scope in check as much as possible. Because we approached the problem from a strategic perspective, there were a lot of possibilities as a byproduct for our proposal. We wanted to illustrate the primary driver that would be supporting our strategy of collecting lots of data, but we also wanted to do a couple of additional scenarios that demonstrate how they can be empowered by this data collection. This led to the discussion of a multitude of scenarios so we had to keep ourselves in check and only select enough to help support our proposal. This is in addition to keeping our data collection component of the proposal, as minimally scoped as possible.
In the end, we were able to execute a very expedited design process and deliver a proposal to the judges within the allotted time of the event (under 24 hours).
This was a great experience for me. I had the opportunity to apply my design thinking in a different space. I was able to practice strategic thinking which I feel is a gap in my growth as a professional is something I do find valuable to develop. I met a number of professionals (within the team and at the event) to exchange ideas and collaborate with. It gave me a chance to validate what I felt is important as a UX professional by imparting advice about design thinking and process to others who were looking to take a dive into the field or to take the next step.
It was also a great to contribute to the local community by taking what I'm proficient at doing and applying it to a problem space to help better the community.