Last night I attended a CamCreative UX workshop given by Michele Ide-Smith and Anusha Iyer. The event was popular – with 60 attendees in a relatively small coffee shop it was a lively atmosphere.

In teams of six, we worked together on a UX project aimed at reducing a family’s food waste. To begin, we were handed a persona describing the user – Joanna, a 36 year old mother of two – and the problem to be solved:

‘Help Joanna use up ingrediants in her larder efficiently, buy groceries smartly and thereby reduce her family’s food waste patterns and their general food consumption’.

During the evening we tried out the ‘Design Studio Method’, a creative technique which helps teams explore a problem their customers are experiencing and come up with innovative design solutions.

In a short space of time we generated lots of ideas in a visual format and worked collaboratively to come to an agreement on how to solve the problem. We had to think on our feet, and come up with lots of ideas (no matter how crazy)!

Ideas included: a new way to order food online (a calendar view where you order meals, not items), a Food Dashboard (monitoring how much of each type of food you have left, upcoming use-by dates and suggested recipes), a service that sends a goat round to eat your leftovers (why not?) and a bin that gets angrier the more waste food you put in it (could happen). We also looked at how the experience could be made fun and rewarding by adding gamification and an element of social competition – a topic covered in the book, Seductive Interaction Design.

Lots of post-it notes were used!

I was reminded how productive it is to sketch lots of ideas in a short time period combined with collaboration is at creating and developing new ideas. By combining your ideas with others’, solutions are discovered that wouldn’t have been found individually – it’s more fun too!

When working on your own it’s easy to get too involved in one idea rather than try many out. It’s also easy to lose perspective of the problem the design is trying to solve.

‘If you’re a UX Designer working on your own in a corner, something’s not right’

Another takeaway was the power of stories and narrative. The most powerful presentations were those that told the story of the user. Some groups acted out scenarios to demonstrate how the design would fit into the user’s life. UX comics are a great way to communicate a narrative on paper.

Overall, it was a fun and informative evening and I look forward to the next one!