3DEX

Where digital designers keep their workflow and leave technical hurdles to professionals.
Project Overview
3DEX is a website based application that offers to connect 3D designers in need with design software experts.
My Contributions
As part of my UX Immersion course at CareerFoundry I developed and executed the whole process from initial user interviews to a final working high-fidelity prototype.
3DEX
UX/UI Designer
Jun 2020 - Oct 2020
With a background in product design, I felt challenged to tackle my struggles and pinpoint the aspects that halt you in your workflow. Generally, designers are known for being curious problem solvers. A big part of their work often relies on various digital tools to visualize their ideas. To ensure a smooth workflow those tools should only support and never impede. The users should not have to work a tool to perfection to deliver their results in time. Among many platforms and forums on the web offering general expert help, I focussed solely on designers working in 3D.

Goals: 
Eliminate endless web search
Connect you with the right expert as quickly as possible. 


The user can now value the time spent searching versus the time saved employing an expert to solve their problem.

Have a quick look at the prototype?

In the video I contextualize and display the five most significant functions.

solo by Darin S from the Noun Project
Project Type

UX Certificate

UX/UI Designer

tools by Ben Davis from the Noun Project
Tools

Balsamiq, Adobe XD, Affinity Suite, Google forms, OptimalSort, UsabilityHub, imovie

time out by Kieu Thi Kim Cuong from the Noun Project
Timeline

June 2020 - October 2020

Methodology
Using design thinking as a tool to guide my process, from defining a problem statement to finding user oriented solutions.
solo by Darin S from the Noun Projecttools by Ben Davis from the Noun Projecttools by Ben Davis from the Noun Projecttools by Ben Davis from the Noun Projecttools by Ben Davis from the Noun Project
Empathize
Define
Ideate
Prototype
Test

Competitor Research/Analysis, User Interviews

User Personas, Mental Models, User Flows

Navigation Sitemaps, Analog and Digital Card Sorting

Low-fi→High-fi Prototypes, Design System Devekopment

Issue Iterations, Think-Aloud-Method usability testing, expert reviews

Competitor Analysis
After having set my theme for the app I did a competitors analysis to find out which applications  are already leading the market. I gained good insights on functionality and communication. Insights and findings were evaluated in SWOT profiles. Competing platforms in focus were codementor.io and upwork.com.
Findings
The services could be a lot less cluttered and have clearer distinction. Users want to connect fast. They want to feel welcomed, save and have no doubt they matched the right expert. Upwork was criticized for having too many people accessing the platform that don't meet the users expectations. This could be an indicator for a niche market.
User Interviews
An initial user interview brought thorough input from six participating designers. This gave basic structure to the architecture. I understood the gains and needs of my potential users. In addition I received validation, good insights but also negation from the user surveys. → Find the online survey results right here.
Findings
The Interviewees asked for Face to Face communication, good filters and easy access. The want to be in control when using such service. An excellent search engine as the basis is key. Live Chat, Video Chat, and Tutorial options for the communication on the problem-solving side.
User Personas
I used the research results from above to design my first two personas. They enabled me to think into opposite directions about the same subject and expand the scope of my potential users. From this point I could build new decisions onto their profile. Doing so I could stay user oriented and create my first journey map.
Findings
It helped a lot to create two personas that developed in two opposite, mental directions. This brought more thought to the diversity of their gains and needs. Eventually it can broaden your view on what might be expected from the service but they are also a great help to keep yourself focussed on the most necessary.
Sitemap
User research created enough input to lay out first versions of a sitemap. I also received real insights from my peers via slack, Facebook and reddit. The quantity of card sorting results via Optimalworkshop was rather scarce and gave vague results. So in between I went back to drawing on postits. → Find all my iterations here.
Findings
The iterations brought evidence to the necessity of a good architecture. I am still playing scenarios with my personas that might take away or add pages and categories. This sitemap sketch is a good framework for everything yet to come.
Prototyping
The first low-fi version was paper engineered but already made clickable. It was tested among friends and befriended designers. The flow was understood well and I could jump quickly to a mid-fi version in Balsamiq. I introduced my main features which appeared more applicable now. I repeated the iterations with another round of tests until they reached a level proficient enough to use for my first real usability testing. But more to that later.
Findings
In hindsight I would not switch too many tools for building your prototype. Although I was learning a lot I could have stayed in Balsamiq until the ultimate phase in the process. Or, start right off in AdobeXD with very basic shapes and turn them into high-fidelity later on. Don't be tempted to want to make things look beautiful too early in the process.
Usability Testing
I conducted and recorded a usability test with six designers. My observations of the peers you find below each profile. The test results are listed in an affinity map and cleared into a rainbow-sheet. If you like to have a closer look at the details, feel free to check out this link.
Findings
Usability Testing is a job on its own. There are a lot of considerations to make and preparations to take in order to have a flawless test and gain good results. Contact your peers early enough, make sure they know what you expect from them. Make them feel comfortable being questioned. And last but not least, make sure to charge your recording devices! :D
Issue report
The issue report shows the results of my usability test or let's say: Everything that went wrong and needed revision.
Findings
Issue No. 5 was most severe. The landing page called for a complete redesign, which was okay to do at this point of testing. The usability test brought the most usefull insights from all tests I conducted throughout this case study.
Design language System
Although I was still in the middle of my iterations, revising the prototype, I set the frame work for my style guide and the design language. In the following you can get a good impression of the status quo at that point. Or follow this link to see the whole design language system.
Findings
A design language system for the UI is very helpful and should be fed and iterated throughout the process. Since I had mostly focussed on the UX part up to this point I quickly brought all the elements together. Colors and imagery were still changing.