How To Teach UX To Tweenagers

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Our setup looked like this

We ran a two 45-minute workshop for groups of 6 girls. 2 facilitators worked together to talk through a presentation, hand out printouts, make notes on the white board, and stick up post-it’s. It was great fun, and our activity pack looked something like this:

Hi, we’re Deloitte Digital

Introduce ourselves as facilitators, and go into some detail about our background — explaining that many UX’ers come from all walks of life, such as graphic design, psychology, or even film production. Also explain why you’re passionate about UX.

Explain that it’s basically any experience that a customer has with a company or brand in a physical or digital environment. We used a public transport example because it’s something everyone can relate to.

The UX of public transport could range from checking train times on a printed timetable, to buying train tickets online, or checking the screens in the station for travel updates.

Showing good and bad examples can help create more perspective for the group. To keep the crowd engaged, we asked them if, now that they know the definition if UX, they had ever had a really good or really bad user experience and how that made them feel. We wrote these up on a whiteboard — again, keeping things interesting.

Real world example: DeloitteASSIST

Showing something that a Deloitte team had created helped make it more real for our group. We picked an award-winning solution in the Healthcare sector called DeloitteASSIST. We explained how the design had solved problems for end users and the business, and touched on some customer feedback metrics — explaining that measuring and improving are fundamental to great product design.

Next we jumped into some activities so the group could put their new UX skills to practice. Starting with warm up activities first helped the group to ease in.

First we asked them to design an umbrella in 30 seconds — using pens and post it’s (really simple sketches). Next we asked them to do the same — except this time, they had to design a way to stay dry in the rain, in a place that sometimes gets really windy.

So instead of designing umbrellas, the group now had more freedom to design a solution to a problem — which is what we do as UX’ers!

This worked really well, and at the end of the sketching session, we asked some volunteers to show off their designs, and explain the reasons for their design decisions.

Now that we had warmed up, we got ready for the main design activity where the group would dive into a more complex task. The task was to design a single screen for a mobile app, based on a simplified persona.

The persona was made up of a high level description, as well as some key pain points, needs, and desires. With some guidelines in place to keep it focussed, this activity worked really well.

The way it worked was we got the group to pair up and design their app screen together. And instead of trying to solve all of the persona’s problems, we had them focus on just one.

Again, to take the pressure off, we emphasised that the goal is not to create a perfect design, but just to get some ideas down so we can discuss and iterate on them in the next round.

So with this mindset we let them sketch up some ideas for 5 minutes, and let volunteers present back their first designs.

Next, we had everyone swap partners, and try to create a second version of the the app design based on feedback from the new team member (the person who had replaced the existing partner).

The main message here was that UX Design is really about collaboration and feedback, and as product teams, we work together to create solutions that are not only validated by end users, but are part of an ongoing iterative process based on rounds of user feedback and stakeholder co-design.

We received great feedback!

Teaching a complex topic to a young audience means we need to, as with any design project, really think about the end users first. The activities were really well-received and it felt great to be able share our passion about design with the next generation!

Who knows, maybe some day one of those young ladies will be the next star designer to walk through the doors of the Deloitte Digital offices…

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the session: Callum Burgess, Della Churchill, Emma Anderson, Jack Gillespie — you guys are awesome!

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