IBM

Designing engaging and data-collecting conference activities in a virtual, remote era

Overview

I managed and designed with a team of four fellow student consultants to collaborate with IBM. We designed a virtual gamified conference experience to be used at future IBM events. Our team conducted user research, and I led weekly iterative brainstorming sessions to deliver an animated prototype.

Our final design is a web-based desktop virtual, gamified question and answer activity. It also includes features for participants to network. At the time, IBM designers and data scientists indicated that they would be in internal discussion to deploy our designs.

Role

UX Designer
Product Manager

Timeline

September - December 2020

Skills

Product thinking
Product management
User research
Interaction design

Tools

Figma
Miro
Mural
Adobe XD
IBM Design System

Due to NDA restrictions, I cannot publicly share all project details.  For more information, please email me at christianpaneda@gmail.com to learn more!

Experience

Design Clinic is a program within the University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI) where companies work with student consultants to address design challenges.

Shoutout to my teammates! Pictured: Shiyu (Rayne) Xu, Hope Mao, Helen Song, and Dana Reik

My team and I were selected to collaborate with IBM to design a digital activity for virtual conference attendees to submit information about their user needs in an engaging way. I was both the product manager and a UX designer on the team. My team and I are student volunteers of the Design Clinic. We are not employees of IBM.

Ultimately, my team’s final design was positively received by the designers and researchers at IBM we collaborated with, and our digital activity will be used for future IBM events. My team’s efforts were also personally recognized by the dean of UMSI.

1 expert interview

conducted to understand what it means to be a sustainable creative small business and what experts hypothesize as to the largest competency barriers for operations and finances

9 interviews

with creative small businesses to gain a deeper empathy on what it means to be a creative small business and what are the end goals, investigate the workflow of a creative small business from conceptualizing to executing product sales

11 competitors

analyzed to identify what market gaps exist in existing tools for young people with creative small businesses

22 TikToks

observed to get a wider sample of data to further investigate our findings from a relatively small sample size of user interviews.

Outcome

What were our design methods and why?

01
Competitive analysis

to gain key insights about existing large-scale virtual conferences and areas for innovation

02
Stakeholder interviews

with the IBM Design team and conference attendees to inform our design decisions when serving two stakeholder groups

03
Personas

to summarize key user insights

04
Storyboarding

to illustrate user flows and how the product might fit in a conference attendee’s schedule

05
Low-fidelity prototype

to iterate and converge different solutions quickly given a short timeline

06
High-fidelity prototype

to illustrate the prospective, immersive experience with motion. We are the first group in UMSI Design Clinic history to deliver a finalized, intractable high-fidelity prototype to their client.

07
Tech spec

to provide robust and detailed technical documentation so that our designs are easily deployable

Reflections

Collaboration is a rapid and iterative process

  • As a product manager and design on the team, I learned how to drive brainstorming conversations among members and create an encouraging environment to bring an array of insights that were narrowed in to create a unified vision.

Recognize the balance of business goals and user needs

  • From working with a large tech company, we learned the importance of thinking about not only how the product might serve users but also how it is an important tool to drive success for a business. This allowed us to create a more complex product through a holistic design process. We are designing in context, not a vacuum.

Embrace ambiguity with courage

  • We were given a lot of freedom to take the project in many directions. While we appreciated the powerful sense of independence, we were also challenged with creating a strong vision. We had to be realistic with our project timeline and critically think through technical constraints and design assumptions. Our final product contributes to the conversation of remote and hybrid communication practices.

1 expert interview

conducted to understand what it means to be a sustainable creative small business and what experts hypothesize as to the largest competency barriers for operations and finances

9 interviews

with creative small businesses to gain a deeper empathy on what it means to be a creative small business and what are the end goals, investigate the workflow of a creative small business from conceptualizing to executing product sales

11 competitors

analyzed to identify what market gaps exist in existing tools for young people with creative small businesses

22 TikToks

observed to get a wider sample of data to further investigate our findings from a relatively small sample size of user interviews.