As I mentioned two weeks ago I know there is a need for me to get UX specific training and because I’m not currently able to go down a more traditional path (eg. an HCDE degree) I’ve been seeking out other training programs.

One promising program that I’ve discovered is General Assembly’s part-time User Experience Design course. General Assembly is an educational institution with fourteen campuses across four continents who focuses on education in technology, business, and design. I’ve interacted with a few people at GA’s Seattle campus and I’ve been impressed so far. And, from what I’ve read about them online, others speak highly of GA as well. In fact, my company has a partnership with them and I believe some of my co-workers will be sharing their knowledge in future classes and/or workshops.

This past weekend General Assembly hosted a two-hour User Experience Research workshop and I attended to learn more about a closely related UX discipline and to get some sense of the vibe and environment of a part-time course at GA. I really enjoyed the workshop and thought the instructor, Parita Kapadia, did a great job of teaching the steps to creating a research plan and leading us through a workshop. For the workshop we broke into teams to develop a research plan for a hypothetical app – an on demand sushi app. The nameless app (though Sake-To-Me was proposed) would be an app where users could easily order fresh, on demand sushi to be delivered to the location of their choosing.

The areas of our research plan we were to focus on where defining our research objective, defining our audience, and creating a discussion guide (or at least the early stages of a discussion guide). I enjoyed working with my group as we designed our research plan. All members brought their unique perspective and knowledge base to our assigned tasks and I think we did a pretty good job developing our plan. Here’s what we came up with:



  • would the existing market use this app?

  • what are your top priorities? quality, time, presentation, etc...


PRIMARY: users of Postmates app (AmazonFresh users, peach [food delivery])
PRIMARY: people who frequent sushi restaurants
SECONDARY: restaurants, drivers
EXTREME: user using Postmates 5x a week, goes to sushi place 2-3x a week
EXPERT: sushi chef, works at sushi place / related sushi industry

What do you know:
- like to see sushi made in front of them
- users might be unable operate machinery
- spectrum of types of sushi - shiro’s to mashiko / traditional to rock’n’roll
- people order food from apps

What don’t you know:
- do people trust delivery of fish - will it be fresh/safe?
- do people like dine in or to go better?
- do users want to decide order at purchase or when truck arrives?

What are your assumptions:
- people use Postmates to order sushi (observed in the past)
- cold shipping exists so safe delivery can be done
- everyone loves sushi
- people don’t care about atmosphere - they care about quality of food


Warm Ups
- What’s your age? What do you do? What are some of your favorite apps?
- What are some of your favorite foods? How often do you eat out or get food delivered?
- What makes a dining experience great? What makes a dining experience bad?

Postmates / food delivery app Users
- How often do you use food delivery apps?
- Why do you use food delivery apps?
- Tell us about a bad experience getting food delivered.
- Tell us about a great experience getting food delivered.
- Have you ever ordered sushi on Postmates?

Sushi Restaurant Goers
- How often do you go get sushi?
- How often do you order sushi to go?
- Tell us about your favorite sushi place.
- What is important to you in sushi?
- Do you prefer traditional vs. avant-garde atmosphere?


As I said, I enjoyed the workshop but I think my biggest takeaway was the realization that I (mostly) know this stuff.  At my job I’ve been able to observe and collaborate on projects and therefore learn most of what was taught at the workshop. I know I’m not ready or qualified to be a UX Researcher but I am excited that I’m already developing the foundation of the knowledge and skills needed to be a UX Designer. I know there is much more to learn. I’m looking forward to future classes/workshops at General Assembly as a part of my UX training.

I know I also need to start doing hands-on work where I can practice what I’ve learned.