Sharing my product design journey with the IxDA Taiwan community

Earlier in Jan 2019, I made a trip to Taipei to visit the IxDA Taiwan local group which was one of the oldest IxDA local group in Asia, established in 2010. Next year, they’ll be celebrating their 10th year anniversary and it’s awesome to see how they’ve grown over the years.

I did a sharing of my design journey over the last 15 years and gave some insights to the UX landscape here in Singapore. It was heartening to see such a group of passionate and engaging audience that evening asking many thought provoking questions around Startups in Asia, working in Singapore, advice for those who wish to work here etc.

Lovely folks from IxDA Taipei and thoughtful space for the event 👏🏻

They wrote a Medium article about what I shared and you can view it right here. Heads up, it’s in Traditional Chinese 😬.

Will the Rode Wireless Go become the perfect field user testing microphone?

If you’ve ever tried recording audio out in a noisy environment, you know it’s pretty challenging to record what the participant is saying.

We recently conducted a user testing with car insurance buyers over at Vicom, a vehicle inspection centre where car owners bring their cars for inspection in order to renew their road tax. We chose the location as majority of our test participants who fit the criteria are going to be there.

Michelle happily posing like a sales representative

Without a proper space for testing and noisy background, participants were given an ear piece with mic that’s plugged into our laptop so we can record what they say.

Here comes the challenge:

  • Participants were uncomfortable in using / sharing an earphone
  • When the earphone is put on, they can’t hear our prompts clearly and have to take out one side of the ear piece fo hear what we’re saying
  • Length of the earphone also restricts the participant from moving freely.

Introducing the Rode Wireless Go

Extract from Rode’s website: “The Wireless GO is the world’s smallest, most versatile wireless microphone system. The transmitter works as both a clip-on mic or as the world’s smallest beltpack for a RØDE lavalier, sending crystal clear broadcast-grade audio via 2.4GHz digital transmission to the ultra-compact on-camera receiver.”

The idea seems feasible:

  • Participant wears the transmitter on their shirt or clip on near the top half of their body
  • Receiver connects to either a laptop or phone
  • Fire up the voice recording app and record away!

But reality is far from simple. The Rode Wireless Go typically works well with a camera with a microphone port but our laptops (Macbook Pro) and phones don’t have a dedicated port. What we have is a port that connects 3.5mm TRRS pins.

For the Wireless Go to work, we need to get an additional adaptor call SC4 to convert TRS pin from Wireless Go to TRSS for our phones/laptops. Of course, we would also need our Apple lightning to 3.5mm jack adaptor.

After a whole bunch of cabling and plugging around, we finally have a working setup that connects to our laptop.

Rode Wireless Go on Laptop

The red and green splitter cable can be bought from Lazada for S$4.90 or even for $8.99 and it’s actually a TRRS splitter itself so that saves us the SC4 cable.

With this setup, we can record what our test participants say super clearly and they are not bounded by any cables or discomfort using someone’s earphones. The only downside is we aren’t able to monitor the sound of the recording until we complete the test so we had to do some test record to make sure all audio is being captured before passing it to the participant.

What do you think? Do you have a field testing setup that you swear by? Leave us a comment!

Get your Rode Wireless Go at a discount from Lazada!

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival

It’s the Mooncake period of the year again aka Mid-Autumn festival. Aside from the usual mooncakes and tea, the team had some fun with decorating our studio with lanterns and lighting sparklers.

Glad we did not burn down the studio. 😅 Wishing you and your family a Happy Mid Autumn Festival! 🥳

Collection of Dark UX Patterns

This post documents a collection of dark UX patterns used by various products and services. Design is a powerful skill that either improves the world we live in or makes us miserable. Dark UX patterns are designs that focus on commercial benefits at the expense of users, using persuasive or, at times, unethical methods to make us do things we don’t want.

UXPin cancellation

I subscribed to UXPin recently to test out the features and see if it was of any good to projects. Turned out I didn’t really need it and I was looking high and low for the cancellation option until I found it hidden as a fine print, in super light grey text that no one can see. I wonder how ethical it is to make it so difficult for people to cancel their subscription. Well, I cancelled anyway.

oBike – Cancellation Refund

oBike cancellation refund

Saw this on Linkedin some time back. Once again, hidden refund text no one can see. Compared to UXPin, oBike made it worse by adding a huge call-to-action (CTA) button to “Be an oBike VIP”.

If you managed to spot the first “Continue to refund” link, how about the second “Confirm” button that’s again styled in light grey text?

Seriously, if people want to leave, they will. No matter how hard you try to stop them, they’ll leave. Leveraging on behavioural psychology to cheat users into pressing the wrong button, shame on you.

Learn more about Dark UX and see the Hall of Shame

The Dashboard for Bus Drivers

I’ve been taking buses more frequently now that I’ve sold my car and I can’t help but observe how bus drivers have been using this complex-looking two-piece screen device that’s in front of them.

On closer look, the top screen seems to be “touch screen” enabled where the driver can tap on the various icons such as the microphone to make an announcement and also view information about the trip like what is the next stop.

The bottom screen however looks non-touch screen, where existing buttons on the sides are configured for a particular purpose as shown on the screen. E.g. button “0” is meant for “End Trip”.

I wonder how long bus drivers took to master the usage of this two-piece dashboard and how often mistakes were made when using it.

Which also leads me to wonder, how can we simplify the design to make it user friendly?

The Chronicles of Lift Buttons

As some of you may know, I’m fascinated by lift buttons. Yes, you’ve read it right. Lift buttons are such an interesting component of our daily life but not many people pay attention to them. Here, I’ve collated a list of interesting lift buttons I came across and also from others. If you have an interesting lift button pic to share, send it to me 🙂

Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Lobby C
The Arcade, Raffles Place
The Arcade, Raffles Place

Hello World!

Yes, hello world. It’s been awhile since I last wrote anything and this time round, I’ll be putting in effort to share my learning journey as a designer. Where possible I’ll also be sharing work in progress on projects I’m working on. Most projects are confidential at the moment but I’ll see how I can share the on-going learnings without divulging any confidential information. Stay tuned and see you around 🙂