UX Design: Reminder X

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Reminder X is a virtual project designed to demonstrate my UX skills, process development, and visual design abilities. 
Reminder X, a startup software company, requested me to design a reminder app for iPhone and Android phones. Vera, the company's cofounder, product manager, marketing leader and my main point of contact presented the challenge. She and her cofounder Jorge, who handles engineering, know that they would like the app to be more than a generic to-do list and reminder app. Vera came to me with a blank slate not knowing what the user target was, what kind of problems she will face, and what the solutions to those problems will be. To address my client's concerns and move the project forward, I followed these steps:
1- I presented a project proposal with a plan: research, design, test, iterate.
2- I created a persona based on my research to define the design principles accordingly.
3- I created visual representations to communicate the user's journey. 
4- I designed ReminderX based on the defined principles.
5- I designed a user test and tested the product with selected participants.  
6- I iterated the design following the test results.
I designed a project proposal with a plan to identify the needs of the target user or users I have identified. Upon approval of the proposal, I proceeded to create a target user persona to later be able to define the appropriated app design principles.
Within UX/UI predominantly agile environments, we need tools that allow for fast, efficient collaboration. Sketching is one of them
"Stories are the most powerful delivery tool for information, more powerful and enduring than any other art form." 
Nancy Duarte
Steve's quick rough of his life style story.
After clearly establishing the design principles and features based on the persona's requirements, I worked on the design process. I created visual representations (flowcharts, wireflows, etc.) to clearly communicate the user's journey with the purpose of critiquing, iterating, and improving the design. I synthesized the user research and proceeded to designing the app, and documenting my UX work for the stakeholders.
Reminder X wireframes and flowcharts.
Step by step wireframe representation within the system's flow.
Sketch of the first screen.

Upon offering a design solution and agreement about the app's general features and functionality, I evaluated the design. With that purpose, I created a usability testing plan based on prototype and interview evaluations. Participants tested the app using paper kits to interact with the product. They were exposed to established scenarios created to properly monitor the app's performance. This agile design technique has the goal of rapidly prototyping the product and then testing it before going into development.
Testing kit.
Next, I designed an assessment report with details about the design priorities that were met, design problems, potential unidentified variables, issues with the methodology and design suggestions, with the goal of effectively communicate that to clients, developers, and other stakeholders. Based on the findings I iterated the design and documented the results to communicate them to the client. As a result, I concluded a design that satisfied the client's requirements and user needs.
The following is a simulation of the app functionality - not the final product - to demonstrate its flow and consistency.
For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” 
Things I learned on the way:
UX designers should focus on what users need without letting themselves be driven by what users want. Often these two concepts are not in agreement. However, when users are confronted with good solutions, their answer is always positive. 

Esthetics and simplicity should not be competing forces within our design project. An excellent experience should be the only leading factor in a good design. Users will fall in love with functionality, but butty will only momentarily daze them. Esthetics should serve the former.
Research results from small samples should not be overestimated. Additional research and user testing will always be useful to identify major consumer annoyances and failures in the product acceptability, or other variables that might show as time goes by. 
Research tools should be tested with the target participants before using them for the actual test because the test learning curve could affect the outcome of the results in a negative way.
Iteration is a vital component of User Centered Design. A “final product” should always be provisory.

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