Cover Letters for Modules

Cover letters for this class are letters to me, your instructor, that cover some aspects of UX design processes and skill sets in a substantive way. You may choose ANY ONE of the UX processes and skill sets, or some combination. Choose a process or skill set that is the most meaningful to you, given what we are working on in class. Your cover letter should be at least a couple paragraphs and should detail your growing understanding of the process or skill set you are focusing on.

These letters are practices in creating design notes, or notes for any element of design when completing a digital project. Some designers keep a design notebook, for instance, in which they jot down ideas, tips, resources, sketches, etc. Other designers have blogs, web pages, Google docs, or collections of bookmarks that they want to refer to back to. For some of my versions of these, see the Useful Links page.

So: practice being strategic in choosing what you reflect on. You might, for instance, want to record your preliminary research process for a certain project because you want to replicate this process in the future. Or you might want to make a list of all aspects of visual design you incorporated into a project so you’ll have this list for other, similar, projects.

You can format these ‘letters’ however you wish: as memos, bulleted lists, personal letters, stories, etc. What I’ll be looking for is deep and substantive reflection on a particular aspect of UX design and thus evidence of learning.

Here’s a list of questions about the UX design processes and skill sets to help you with your cover letters:

UX Design Stages

Preliminary Research – what did you do to plan or invent the project you’re currently working on?

Prototyping – did you create any working models, mockups, or versions of the project you’re working on? If so, how do you think these prototypes will be useful in later stages of the design process? What went wrong with them and what went well?

User Testing – what interactions with users have you had and what did you learn from those interactions? What feedback are you getting from users or stakeholders/power users and how is this feedback influencing future design iterations?

Maintenance – how are you ensuring the accessibility and sustainability of the project? Who will maintain the project once you are no longer involved and how will insure they are successful at doing so?

UX Skill Sets

User Research – what methods did you use to recruit and gather data from users? How effective were these methods and how could you improve them for future user interactions? How are you ensuring that you are including users enough in the actual design process?

Usability Testing – what methods and/or technologies did you use to test an existing prototype or concept? How effective were these methods and how could you improve them for future user interactions?

Interaction Design – what kinds of interactions are you creating for users within your design project? What kinds of interaction patterns, interfaces, architectures, and forms of content do you envision?

Information Architecture/Content Strategy – what forms of information will users encounter within your design and how will they access this information? What are your plans to ensure that your users always have access to the best content to meet their needs? How will you organize/taxonomize this content for maximum accessibility and findability?

Visual Design – what sort of look and feel will the interface of your design have? What aesthetic choices are you making and how do those choices influence other aspects of UX?