UX Boot Camp: Day 1

This week, I am in San Fransisco, CA. I am taking part in a user experience boot camp through Cooper U. I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks and thought I should blog my experience to help me share the information with my company when I get back and so I can refer back to something tangible rather than just my memory.

I arrived to the Cooper Headquarters in downtown San Fransisco about 35 minutes early. Thankfully, I got a little lost on the way or else I would have arrived even earlier. I had been up since about 2:30am because of the time difference.

Class started around 9am with an overview of what we could expect. Since this is a boot camp, it would be more than just classroom learning. We are working with a petition website called change.org. They are considering adding a donation option to their website so that people who sign petitions can give money to help advance causes they believe in. This would be an additional revenue stream for change.org, and give their users the opportunity to make a deeper commitment to causes they believe in.

The Design Director from change.org gave us an overview of the company, the problem, and the potential solution. After some training on stakeholder interviews, we split into groups and came up with some questions to ask. Each group took turns asking their questions and letting the stakeholder explain some of the pain points and opportunities.

cooper u #uxbootcamp

It was a great way to practice what we had just learned and a big factor in the reason why I signed up for this course. I didn’t just want to stare at a screen for 4 days and take notes. The format of this class allows us to learn, and then apply that knowledge right away. Hopefully, that means the information will stick a bit better.

After lunch at Cooper, we went straight into user interview techniques. We covered all the major points of how to conduct user interviews, things to avoid, and ways in which we can probe deeper in order to get a better understanding of the user’s goals. Then, we split into groups again to plan out our user interviews with actual change.org users.

cooper u #uxbootcamp

As it turns out, all the interviewees were change.org employees, but each of them, as far as I know, is also a user. The two people I was able to interview participated a lot with signing petitions and also financially supported other causes outside of change.org. So, while their perspective was a bit skewed, we as interviewers were still able to uncover their goals and motivations when it came to supporting causes.

One of the assumptions I had was that users would care a lot about knowing whether or not the money they donated was actually used for its intended purpose. Users either trusted the organizations they gave to enough to not really worry about it, or gave amounts small enough that it didn’t bother them if they never saw that money again. Very interesting!

At the end of the day we started to synthesize all the interview data we collected. We will continue tomorrow as we take this potential solution to the next step.

Eventually, we will pitch our ideas to change.org and they will likely use the information we provide to inform their final decision.

Stay tuned for day 2.

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