My week with Absurd

Josh Brown

By Josh Brown

Josh Brown

My name is Josh, I am a student at Alder Community High School in Manchester. I am currently doing my GCSE’s in Psychology and Computer Science, I am very intrigued by both of these subjects. Over the week Absurd gave me an insight into how these are used in the business through UX Design and Web development.

Onboarding to the team

Prior to joining, the team had sent me a welcome pack with all the information I would need for the week ahead, this made me instantly feel really at ease, and excited at what I was going to be doing. It was an interactive document (created in Figma) When I arrived on the monday I was greeted by everyone on their daily ‘Stand up’, and given a laptop to use. After that it was straight in with the design team to get going!

Day 1 - Understanding the UX and research process

The team at Absurd took me through a Miro board they had set up with my week's tasks. First, I had to decide on a problem statement that I would try and resolve throughout the week. After much contemplation I decided the problem would be that “Microsoft Teams is currently geared towards Businesses even though there is an increasing amount of students using the platform and so it is very convoluted and confusing for students to use”. I started my research into this problem.

One of the research methods I used during this week was User Interviews. I used these interviews to find new information about people’s general opinion on Microsoft Teams, how they think the experience could be improved for them as well as possible improvements to current features. Another method I used was my own lived experience with Teams as I have used the platform for my school work and for Virtual Air Cadets throughout COVID. I also used some desk research to find common issues people have with the platform.

“Microsoft Teams is currently geared towards businesses, even though there has been an increase in students using it from the pandemic, however It is too convoluted and confusing for them to use.”

Day 2 - How might we statements & solution sketching

On this day I had some time brainstorming solutions to the common problems with some of the Researchers and UX designers at Absurd. I found this very useful and it gave me an idea of exactly how solutions to our problems are resolved by UX designers. The team suggested we try solution sketching, we played ‘Crazy 8’s’ - something I had never heard of before, to come up with as many ideas as we could. I really enjoyed how fast paced this was, it made you think outside the box. We came up with 34 ideas between us.

I decided to prioritise the the top features I wanted to be implemented from our designs, which would be: a search feature, a system to file past work and revision and a comments section for students so they could give suggestions on each other’s work.

Day 4 - Testing

Finally we moved onto testing the prototype using Maze. During this process I learnt how a website is tested with users completing missions and questions about the site. I found this very interesting as you can see how people react to what you have designed and give you ideas on improvements so the final product is the best possible version.

My overall experience

When I entered the office my first impressions were very positive as I immediately felt very comfortable and at home. In the office there was a sense that everyone was genuinely enthusiastic about their work and that everyone got along well in a great environment. Over the week Eldon and Sal looked after me with great compassion and made sure that I made the most of the experience. I am very thankful for them making sure I enjoyed the week and it definitely was not boring like many of my friends placements were.

“All of my work over the week tied in with my studies and has helped me a lot with them as well as thinking about future career options.”

I most enjoyed Ben (one of the developers) sitting with me on Wednesday, as he gave me some great lessons on HTML and SCSS, which I would not be able to learn otherwise. However, I also really enjoyed the research as it gave me an understanding of how people come up with all these ideas for a program. All of my work over the week tied in with my studies and has helped me a lot with them as well as thinking about future career options. Another key takeaway from the week was also ideas about University and other options in my future. I found it was very helpful talking to people about their opinions around education and how I can open up my future with other options within industries.

Absurd workshop