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Nicky Guan

How to contact
Email: [email protected] / Cell: 415-770-3469
Tools: Sketch, InVision, Axure, Adobe Creative Suite
What I do    
I'm a full stack-designer and digital artist who uses agile user-centered methodologies in all things I do. I specialize in user experiences, visual design, content marketing, and strategies.

MingleApp IOS 

MingleApp is an application that enables the world's conversations. It's the all-in-one communications app for text messaging, voice and video calls, timeline, and photo sharing. 

In 2010, I was part of the design team working at a Vancouver-based tech startup Mingleverse Laboratories to help the company examine an existing collaboration web application with the intent of improving its existing user experience as well as designing an original prototype for mobile platforms.

Overview
My Role: UX/UI Designer, Researcher
Duration: 4 months
Team: 2 Designers, 1 PM, 5 Developers
Software Tools: Sketch, Atomic, Photoshop
The Goal: improve the existing user experience and features on the responsive web and convert the web application into a mobile app.

The Challenge: define the scope and technical limitations, as well as figure out ways to efficiently utilize the limited resources and budget.
Research & Discovery 

User Research & Persona

With the help of the existing resources regarding the company's business model, target market and audience, and user base, the team was able to quickly conduct a series of user research by interviewing focus groups and gathering feedback from the target demographics to learn how they think and feel about the company's existing web product.

Based on the research results and interview observations, we discovered good findings and insights to allow us to create user personas that can help identify user behavior and goals.

Usability Testing - Participants

The next step is to set up usability testings among randomly picked participants to learn how the existing web application performs among new users to get feedback and insights from fresh eyes.

Participants are picked based on their age, income, occupation, country, and web expertise level. Prior to the above, participants have to be first-time users of the product.

Usability Testing - Tasks & Questionaire

The usability testing is divided into 3 phases: pre-test, during the test, and post-test. Questionnaires along with test requirements and task scenarios were provided to participants to use as a guideline.  

The questionnaires are focused on testing one hypothesis: if the time spent on the test and task completion efficiency meets user's initial expectations.

Define & Analyze 

Organization & Prioritization

From the results of user research and usability testing, the team was able to identify a series of pain points users had with the design. 

Among the identified issues/pain points, we first divided the items into 6 categories then prioritize the items under each category.

The categories include Mingle Room, Profile, Avatar Creation, Webcam across browsers, Home Screen, Media Page.
Ideate & Create 

User Flow (Holistic Approach)

In order to improve the user experience holistically, I created a brief user flow chart to demonstrate how the six major categories we identified previously fit in the existing ecosystem and how they interact and connect with Mingle Room (core mechanics).

Competitive Analysis

Before jumping into brainstorming sessions for solutions, the team did the comparative analysis of similar products and products with similar virtual collaboration features at the time (2010) to get inspirations and discuss the pros and cons of those products to learn from the competitors. The list includes Skype, WebEx, Adobe Connect, PlayStation Home, Second Life, and so on.

Brainstorming & Sketches

Then the team started brainstorming sessions to discuss and share thoughts. We sketched out our ideas on paper as well as on the whiteboard.
Wireframes & Prototype 

Low-fi Mockups

Based on the research findings and team brainstorming results, I created low-fidelity mockups for stakeholders to review to get further feedback which also gives flexibility for the team to iterate on the design at the early stage and avoid any wastes during the development process.

Hi-fi Mockups

Since the branding of the company has already established by Marketing, we created the final screens based on the existing style guide in terms of font typefaces, color schemes, icon & image style.

Additionally, we built the component/asset library for mobile implementation to make sure any changes will be made in the future can be easily put together using the asset library.

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     Test & Validate

Usability Testing

Usability testing is involved in every key stage of the development process to help the team looking for design flaws and pain points to reduce user friction and improve the experience of the product. 

The tools we used for usability testing mainly include pen and paper (paper prototypes) and the online prototyping tool Atomic.

A/B Testing

A/B testing is also used by the team when to compare two versions of the design to see which one performs better among users. Create apple-to-apple test by clearly defining fixed elements and variables is the key to a fair and constructive result.