As part of International Women’s Day, Le Wagon Shenzhen Coding School invited two female guests working in the tech industry to speak. The guests, Katie Chen and Z Yuhan, specialize in understanding how users interact with tech products (hardware) and tech services (software).
Le Wagon Shenzhen was co-founded by Peking University HSBC Business School (PHBS) alumni Markey Tan (谭美维). Markey was at the event on Women’s Day to introduce the attendees to the new faces in the room and talk about the mission of the school. She mentioned Le Wagon’s 9-week intensive Full Stack and Micro-program course began in February with its first batch of students. She then kicked off the event by thanking the two guests for their presence.
Katie Chen –
User Experience Researcher at Microsoft Asia Center
Katie works to understand user judgments, preferences, and adoption of objects and technology into daily life. She is interested in the user’s experience from the moment the product is created until it is purchased and used at home. To gain insight into these questions, she values both qualitative and quantitative research.
She once had to explain her job to her grandmother, which was not an easy task. Breaking it down into three distinct parts helps reach an understanding:
#1 Business Proposal – What product are we making?
This first step focuses on the elements that users are looking for in the product under development. For example, there is currently an increased interest in ergonomic keyboards, following global trends around well-being and health.
Katie, therefore, gains insights on the way users intuitively use the keyboard and their feelings along the way. She asks questions to first time users, and may also observe their behavior. She may execute this research directly from their home or from their office. This research helps developers understand the product they are making, not the product they think they are making.
She is also interested in how consumers act in the store where the tested product is on display. Once again, she starts with many questions: What element convinces them to buy one product over another? What are their questions in store? How do they look at the packaging? What are their comments when they are talking to a salesperson?
Since she has to make educated guesses based on her observations, ensuring a valid sample group is critical. She must consider everything from the amount of use to size of hands. Also, each new variable added to the test means that the sample size also changes to maintain reliable results.
#2 Product Iteration – How are we doing?
After the preliminary research, she ensures that the product in development serves a need and that customers appreciate it. She then consults with the team in charge to recommend quantifiable changes while keeping in mind the relative costs of these improvements. For example, it may be necessary to bring the keys closer on a keyboard, to distinguish more easily the keys by the touch. Or, a company might have to consider allowing for a lighter touch on the keys so the user does not have to put as much pressure with each movement.
The changes to be made are often numerous and her job demands her to know how to prioritize. She, therefore, assigns a score to each change. The score is based on the factors: detectability (how easy it is to notice the error), frequency (how often the users have to use the feature), and severity (how much the problem affects the use of the product).
She confronts an ongoing debate about the changes to be implemented. Products must be innovative and modern. However, users of the product come from different backgrounds and age-groups. A drastic change could hurt the experience of loyal customers with established habits. She and her team have to walk a fine long.
#3 Product Launch – How is the product received?
Once the product is officially available for the public, she makes sure to track customer feedback and reviews. She tracks feedback through customer service departments, as well as through independent sources, such as online stores and platforms sales (ex: Amazon).
She encourages those who feel drawn to a career in user experience to pursue their interest. The job is fast-paced and very stimulating. To be successful, you must employ exceptional communication, mathematic, logical, and intuition skills.
Z Yuhan – User Interface Designer at Tencent
At the event, Z began by presenting her methodology for identifying problems in applications. Participants were then led to experience a small part of her day-to-day work. Everyone formed groups to review and locate improvements to the Luckin Coffee (瑞 幸 咖啡) app, a new and popular delivery coffee service with a lower price than major competitors in the market.
Because the products of Luckin Coffee are only available through their app (and recently the micro-program), the cellphone experience must be impeccable. Still, the attendees were tasked with finding room for improvement.
Each team noted the problems discovered and then rated them according to Jeff Rubin’s Severity of Usability Problem’s ratings.
Subsequently, each team presented their suggestions to the group. It was a really stimulating exercise that allowed you to learn on your own and through the experience of other participants.
The participants really enjoyed the exercise. Even more, learning from bright and creative women in the IT industry was a great way to celebrate Women’s Day. You are invited to follow the Official Account of Le Wagon to be part of the next event: LeWagon沃耕