Small business website revisited

So far this project was the most challenging for me. As a result, I learned new skills like improving site modularity using PHP includes which is super helpful and a good habit to build in case a website project has several pages along with learning javascript and adding a 404 error page.

Following is a list of changes I made:

  1. Wrote php includes in the index file and added php include files for site navigation, footer and the meet us section which is repeated throughout the site.
  2. Added a custom 404 error page using .htaccess and added a link back to the homepage.
  3. Added titles for all pages which were missing from the previous version of the site. This would help in user experience and in SEO.
  4. Added javascript for store opening hours and closing hours.
  5. Following the feedback I received on the previous version, I changed the <article> tag which I wasn’t using correctly to <div> tag.
  6. To improve accessibility I added better descriptive alternate text to the images in the site.
  7. Changed the main header image which is more fitting for a brick-and-mortar shop and indicates the bakery website is of a physical store.
  8. Double-checked image sizes to make sure all images are optimised for site loading speed.

UXD and me

UX is a method; a process for solving problems, contextually. We make mistakes early to avoid more expensive ones later.”

-Aaron Hoffman


This essay will cover the fundamental ideas I learned during the two-day UX Design workshops by Stephanie Troeth and Chris How. It will expand my learning of the core concepts of User experience design, setting objectives for research, research methods, analyzing data and the product design stage which includes ideation, sketching, prototyping, testing, and iterating. Moreover, the essay will act as a plan of how I will integrate my aforementioned learnings into my major project idea.

Major project idea

I am aiming to build a website for individuals who want to learn digital product design i.e designing mobile applications and websites and start working remotely. The primary goal of the MVP site would be to act as a guide for them to learn theories of user experience design and provide them with practice project briefs. In the future roadmap, an added feature of the site would be the ability to connect with professionals working in the field to act as mentors and help newbies with their learning journey. 

UX research direction 

User experience (UX) research is the process of learning about the wants, desires, and pain points of users through feedback procedures and observational techniques. In order to design user-centered products and make educated decisions, it is important to understand your users and acquire context and views.

Two-part research is to be carried out for this project. First would be the primary research of information and platforms available on the web, and second would be generative research; hearing directly from my target audience and would include questions that would aim to explore the challenges they face when first starting to learn about UX design and trying to break into the industry. This would help in forming my problem statement and would validate or invalidate some assumptions. 

Setting objectives

In simple terms, UX research objective is a statement of what you want to learn about your customers or users from carrying out the research. In our session with Steph we talked about the importance of setting clear research objectives as it acts as a guide for us to align on research outcomes. When coming up with a list of research objectives, we can make use of different types of research objectives, close-ended, semi-open-ended, open-ended, and exploratory. It’s important to keep in mind that this research can be carried out at different stages of product development.

Before the start of product development stage, the following can be the possible objectives:

  • Assess the workflow of users when learning about digital product design online
  • Learn about the kind of channels they use for learning

At a later stage, when my MVP is ready for testing I might make use of following objectives:

  • Assess the findability of content on the website 
  • Examine if the website is user friendly 

Research methodologies

In UX research there are several different mythologies one can choose. Deciding on a specific method or a set of methods depends entirely on the context of the project and one might use different methods at different stages of product development. 

Generative research methods such as interviews or field studies are used to discover new information about users’ goals and motivations and better understand their behavior—in and outside the product. On the other hand, evaluative research methods such as usability testing are perfect for assessing a specific product solution to ensure it’s easy to use and works as intended.

Using both generative and evaluative UX research during the design process ensures the product we’re building addresses real needs, solves existing pain points, and does these in the most viable way. This continuous learning process uncovers new insights to help us create value for your customers.

Research methodologies

In my case I can decide to do online surveys of my target audience which would include asking them a set of close-ended and open-ended questions using google forms, which would provide me with valuable data which I will later on use to develop helpful insights, figure out my target pool’s pain points and possibly help me for the content of my website. 

Target audience

A target audience is a group of people identified as likely customers of a business. People in a target audience share demographic similarities, such as age, location, or socioeconomic status. Defining a target audience will help me craft my project and in retrospect; to come up with relevant content in a language they understand. 

My primary target audience includes individuals with familiarity with design who want to learn the skill of digital product design. The secondary group includes newbies in design who want to explore digital product design as a potential career prospect. The tertiary group includes anyone with the desire to learn digital product design. 

Design thinking process

One of the key things that I learned from Steph’s workshop was to never fall in love with the first version of your design because when designing for users we are at first making design decisions based on assumptions that are later validated or invalidated via user testing. Beyond that, the data we gather from attitudinal research is all about what users say but how the user actually uses the product and their behavior can be very different. Therefore as designers, we should take an iterative approach to design i.e define, develop and iterate. The end product can always get better and better with frequent loops of feedback. 

Design thinking is a process that seeks to solve complex problems by approaching it from a user’s perspective. Generally, the process can be divided into three key phases i.e immersion, ideation and implementation. 

Design thinking: A non-linear process


Before starting any project, we as designers need to put ourselves out of the equation and think from our target user’s perspective. In order to that we make use of the empathise stage of design thinking process. The aim of this step is to paint a clear picture of who my end users are, what challenges they face, and what needs and expectations must be met. In order to gain said insights I came with a set of questions that will act as my primary survey

The next stage is to define a problem statement. The data derived from the above survey will help me define my problem statement. The problem statement will set out specific challenges I will address. It will guide the entire design process from then on out, giving me a fixed goal to focus on and helping to keep my user in mind at all times. 

Furthermore, I will use the data gathered to create user personas and empathy maps to better understand user needs which will help me with designing and content creation for the website. 


After coming up with my problem statement and having stepped into my user’s shoes the next stage would be ideation. Quantity over quality is the golden rule here. The ideation phase gets us thinking outside of the box and exploring new angles. By focusing on the quantity of ideas rather than the quality we are more likely to free our minds and stumble upon innovation. 

During our UX workshop with Chris we did a fun exercise where after defining the problems people face with single use plastic we did the 8-fold page exercise where we folded a piece of paper into 8 part and in a short and limited amount of time we had to come with 8 different ideas for our desired solution. The limited time constraint here forced us to just come up with as many ideas as we could and not strive for perfection in any our quick sketches. This exercise helped us to quickly put all our possible directions on paper and started a creative loop. We also made a quick sketch of the ‘worst possible idea’ for the bottle exercise, which was something completely new to me, the point of that was to understand what we absolutely do not want to do, and as a result, it opened our minds a bit more and helped us in creative ideation. 

The challenge at hand for me is to come up with a strategy of what will form the content of my website and how I will structure it. For the ideation of the website, I will reflect on my learnings from the workshop and do several rounds of sketches and put ideas on simple paper for the layout of the website. 


After the brainstorming and ideation phase, now it will be time to bring the ideas to a tangible form so they can be tested on real users for the testing stage. This is crucial in maintaining a user-centric approach. As this will be the design phase for my website, depending upon the content I create I will come up with information architecture and a sitemap for the website. After that I will define main user flows based on user stories defining some tasks to be performed by the user examples of this could be ‘user should be able to navigate to all the modules’ and ‘user should be able to access detailed version of each module. Once the content and structure of the site is laid out I will be able to design a basic wireframe. 

Wireframes can range from very low-fidelity quick mockups to black-and-white digital frames to high-fidelity interactive designs. I will focus on creating black and white wireframes using Figma with text only and have it tested by a group of users the goal here would be to figure out if the most important element of the website i.e the mighty content; fulfills my project’s aim. This stage can potentially have a back-and-forth between designing, getting feedback and going back to design phase and making changes accordingly. 

Usability testing

Usability testing is the practice of testing how easy a design is to use with a group of representative users. It usually involves observing users as they attempt to complete tasks and can be done for different types of designs. It is often conducted repeatedly, from early development until a product’s release.

“Pay attention to what users do, not what they say.”

Jakob Nielsen

My chief objectives for usability testing would be to:

  • Determine if user can complete tasks successfully and independently 
  • Assess their performance and mental state as they try to complete tasks, to see how well my design works.
  • See if there is element of delight present i.e how much user enjoys completing a task
  • Identify any problems and their severity 
  • Find solutions and re-iterate 

There are several methods for usability testing:

In-person testing: In this method a set of tasks is provided to the user to be completed infront of the moderator.

Remote testing: Catching users in their own environments can reveal more-accurate “filed” insights.

Guerrilla testing: Testing design informally on fellows/colleagues; risks include inaccurate data. 


Web accessibility is the practice of making websites usable for all visitors, including those with disabilities, impairments and limitations. Web accessibility involves following certain design principles which ensure that people who experience difficulties or limitations have the same or similar experience as those who do not. Accessibility is an important goal for websites, as it gives all users equal access to the content. When we design a website with accessibility in mind we can ensure user-friendliness on the whole for example considering the use of captions on a video for people with auditory difficulty can ensure ease of use for a person who happens not to have earphones or they are in a crowded space but still want to follow the content. 

To ensure the accessibility of my website I aim to follow the guidelines by Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) by ensuring the content and the website is perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. Web-accessibility can be achieved by providing alternative text, providing captions and transcripts for audio and video content, writing code in a meaningful way where the structure stays intact even if styling is removed and ensuring functionality via use of keyboard. 


Lastly, this document has helped me develop a deeper understanding of User Experience Design and all its phases. The key learning is to use the various research methods to get to know the user as best as I can and always keep an iterative approach to design. 


Maze. (2022). The Ultimate Guide to UX Research. 

LinkedIn. (2015). Defining UX Research Objectives.

Dam, R. (2019). 5 Stages in the Design Thinking Process.The Interaction Design Foundation. 


Well-designed objects

Welcome to my post about three objects from my daily life that I think are very well designed. Read below to find out why!



Good gadgets really can increase efficiency levels while working. A perfect example of that would be my LOGITECH MX Master 3S Wireless Darkfield Mouse. This ergonomic mouse is specially designed for long hours of work so your wrist won’t ache when you move the mouse around and click continuously. One of my favourite features about this mouse is the silent click, the way it is designed, the mouse barely produces any sounds when you click to not distract you or others from work. The mouse comes with small rubber pads on all four corners on the bottom so it can be easily used on almost any kind of surface as long as it is dry and plain because of the extremely sensitive 8000 DPI sensor. Moreover, the mouse has several easy-to-use buttons that I can customise controls for using the Logi Options+ application on my Mac. For example, I have assigned the control under my thumb to Ctrl+C and that makes my design workflow move faster. Another perk that this mouse comes with is the very handy horizontal scroll which makes viewing large artboards of work very easy and it would be very useful to read long lines of code as I start to learn to code.

One of the pro features of this mouse is its ability to connect to up to three devices via Bluetooth which comes in very handy if I’m working with multiple displays. I can also adjust vertical scroll speed by clicking once on the small control button on top, I can choose from interval scroll or high-speed scroll that is if I wanna quickly skim over something on the web. The designers of this mouse have evidently put lots of thought into it and have thoroughly considered a user’s interaction with gadgets while they work sitting on a desk making this a truly well-designed “master” object. 


MAYBELLINE concealer

My favourite item from my makeup bag would be the MAYBELLINE concealer. Some people use it in addition to a foundation as a dark spot and under-eye concealer but I use it as all in one foundation because it has that good of coverage of course I will now comment on why I chose this as a well-designed object. The slim shape of the bottle makes it easy for me to carry it in my bag as it is made of plastic and is lightweight. The bottle has a round cap which is a smart design decision because it is easy for me to clean if there is some product left accidentally left inside the cap, the fit of the cap is also perfect as to prevent any product spill. 

The main feature which makes this product popular is the pump-and-use functionality, I can simply twist the pink part clockwise to pump product into the cushion at the top and apply directly onto my skin. The cushion works both as a product dispenser and a sponge to spread the product on my skin. The bottle is made of transparent plastic which allows me to keep track of how much product is left in the container, moreover the sticker on the container is also transparent except for the text, another smart design decision as it doesn’t constrict the user from viewing how much product is left. 


AirPods Case

I am a pro-protector girl, I very much like to use protectors and covers for my gadgets, especially for things like AirPods which are compact and require a lot of hand holding. I bought this AirPods protector case a while back and have been using it since forever. It feels nice to hold and has a textured surface made of leather making it non-slippery. The case itself is surprisingly lightweight but sturdy, which protects my AirPods against an accidental fall, adding to the protection are the protruding edges all around the case. There is a very handy hook at the top of the case which I use to hang the case with my belt loop as shown in the picture. 

The case is beautifully designed in ways where you never have to take it off, for example the cut out on the bottom allows me to charge the pod and the tiny cutout allows me to see the charging light indicators like low battery, charing and full charge. Lastly I think it is a very classy-looking AirPods case that can also act as an accessory to your outfit of the day!