Rosie Pritchard, Author at Experience Haus

Meet the Startup: AzuKo

Prototype made by one of our Product Design students

In this series of startup profiles, we speak to the people behind the startups that provide real-life design challenges to our students. Today, we speak to Jo Ashbridge, founder of architecture charity AzuKo.

Jo, can you tell us a little about your charity and your current team?

Architecture charity AzuKo is working to end housing poverty in Bangladesh and the UK by co-designing housing and infrastructure, delivering construction training, and supporting communities to understand their housing rights.

AzuKo works with vulnerable communities – the homeless, landless, those in extreme poverty – to improve living conditions. The charity offers low-cost, low-tech building improvements that make a dramatic difference to people’s lives. Most importantly it is the communities themselves that lead the design and construction, from start to finish.

We’re a small team of 4 staff (2 in UK, 2 in Bangladesh), and a Board of 8 Trustees. We work with around 30-40 volunteers throughout the year.

What design challenges have you supplied to Experience Haus? 

We set three briefs. Looking for support to:

  1. Create a meaningful user experience for an event
  2. Better understand the market for a new course/income stream for the charity
  3. Review and provide recommendations to help shape our new website

What did the individual student/teams of students manage to produce for you?

  1. Ronnie helped us design the evening event, which was to celebrate AzuKo’s 4th birthday. His work looked at attendees’ experience from the invitation, to the moment they walked in the door, the flow of the evening, and followup. He highlighted potential pain points for us to address, and opportunities we could capitalise on. He also acted as a facilitator for group conversations on the night.
  2. Sylvie’s work helped us understand appetite for the course, and expectations from potential participants (through personas). The service blueprint was particularly helpful to understand all the touchpoints, and what we would need to prepare for each stage. It certainly gave us confidence that there was a real interest in attending our humanitarian architecture course.
  3. Maya and Adeola examined our current website, what worked well and what could be improved. The overall aim was to improve user flow, and ultimately encourage more online donations. Maya’s work brought together her graphic design and branding expertise to improve the way we tell our story. Adeola researched ‘the good, the bad, and the ugly’ from charity website’s generally to improve navigation.

How have you been able to implement the outputs?

  1. We held the event in 2018 off the back of Ronnie’s design help: https://azuko.org/news/celebrating-4-years
  2. We created the course ‘Designing with dignity’ and hosted our first cohort in Bangladesh in summer 2022. https://bit.ly/azuko-dwd-2022-brochure
  3. We are still developing our website. We plan to launch late 2023/early 2024.

What did you enjoy most about working on a project with Experience Haus?

We really believe in UX as a way to better understand our customers and communities, and design to meet their needs – whether this be how we operate, fundraise or deliver. We co-design; it aligns with our ethos.

It is a structured way for volunteers to contribute to AzuKo i.e. they have a specific brief, mentored throughout, and always meet their deadlines.

It is relatively light touch from our side, as volunteers are supported by Experience Haus. As a small charity we appreciate this.

Where do you see the company in 5 years?

AzuKo is a small but mighty charity. We’ll be celebrating our 10th birthday this year… and we’re looking forward to the next decade of impact. Ultimately we want to continue serving those in acute housing poverty, and to reach even more people in 2023 and beyond. We’re building a fairer world.

Find out more about AzuKo:

Website: https://azuko.org/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/azuKo_org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/azuko.org

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/azuko

Submit a Design Challenge for an Experience Haus student: https://experiencehaus.com/submit-a-project-brief/

An Experience Haus Design Day Like No Other

Experience Haus Design Day

Young people and the police often have a negative relationship. Reputations differ on both sides and it often harms this particular relationship – it’s a complex challenge to address.

On Saturday 24th September, Experience Haus invited 50 students (16 – 21) from across London to join an inspirational and challenging one day event in our Shoreditch studio.

The task? To work alongside Experience Haus design alumni, as well as the City of London Police and Metropolitan Police, to create a series of digital and service concepts that will determine this relationship between young people and the police. The ultimate goal for this event was to build young people’s trust and confidence in the police.

Experience Haus designers spent time asking both students and members of the police a range of questions to help them shape ideas around ways to improve relations between the two. The experts provided advice and guided the process to ensure the end solution was viable and technically possible.

Similar to previous hackathons, this design day was conceived and hosted in our Experience Haus studios, and we were lucky enough to be supported by a fantastic host of companies. The entire event was led by Digital Skills Consulting and sponsored by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Other organisations taking part included Barking & Dagenham College, Activate Learning, Hackney Youth Parliament, The Crib, The Wickers, Women’s Inclusive Team and the Osmani Trust.  

The workshop gave these young people a fantastic opportunity for them to explore future careers in design, tech and the police force. They met with mentors, employers, business and government leaders, and other students, helping to develop their communication, teamwork, creativity and networking skills.

Following the success of this event, future workshops have been planned with the students to develop their concepts, and business and personal skills.

Commenting on the event, Experience Haus’ Creative Director, Amit Patel said:

“It’s important to us that every voice is heard during the design of important products and services, especially when we are talking about tackling challenges that have social impact.

Experience Haus is proud to play a pivotal role in this, and days like today bring together our growing design community, as well as inspiring the future creatives of tomorrow.

It’s been enjoyable watching the empathy, storytelling and collaboration unfold between everyone involved, throughout the day.”

Chief Inspector Ray Marskell from the City of London Police said: 

“This exciting event allowed us to engage with young adults from across London. We understand how important it is to maximise opportunities to meet and get to know the communities we serve better. We are grateful to AWS for their support, along with partners from the Metropolitan Police Service. It was an enlightening experience to hear the group’s ideas about how we can improve our relationship with younger people, and we are committed to building on their solutions and bringing them to life where possible.” 

Chief Inspector Lucky Singh from the Metropolitan Police said:

 “This was an amazing event that allowed the Metropolitan (Met) and City of London Police (CoLP) to focus and actively engage with young people, especially from underrepresented groups and females. 

We are extremely grateful to Experience Haus for hosting the event. There were many great ideas, suggestions and possible solutions put forward that we are confident will help build better relations between young people and the Police services. The Met and CoLP will continue working alongside AWS and Digital Skills Consulting to deliver these workshops” 

Amazon Web Services, Head of Justice and Public Safety, John Pittaway said: 

“This was an inspiring event that gave young people the opportunity to have their voices heard by City of London Police (CoLP) and Metropolitan Police (Met) and be involved in designing solutions that will help to improve relations between young people and police. We look forward to continuing the partnership with CoLP, Met and young people from London to address these important topics.” 

Digital Skills Consulting develops projects with the private sector, working with FE colleges, Institutes of Technology and charities to provide students with real-world challenges and experience. Director Julia Von Klonowski said: 

“It has been amazing to see these young people confronting real-world, social issues that affect them in their daily lives and working closely with representatives from law enforcement and the technology sector. “These students have shown tremendous courage, ingenuity and a sense of community. Some really interesting and exciting ideas were shared. We are extremely grateful to our sponsor AWS and all the stakeholders who gave their time to make the event such a success. We look forward to seeing how these ideas are developed.” 

Introducing our 5 Day User Experience Design Bootcamps…

User Experience Design Bootcamps

The Experience Haus 5 Day User Experience Design Bootcamp ‘at a glance’

  • An immersive course that covers the end-to-end process used for designing digital products
  • Specifically for 16-24 year olds (current secondary, college and university students)
  • Class will be held everyday in our Shoreditch design studio (from 9:30am-5:00pm)
  • Learn design thinking, product strategy, user experience (UX), and user interface design (UI)
  • with the industry leading tool, Figma.
  • Work on real-life design challenge set by a local business
  • Set in a leading design agency in the middle of London’s creative hub
  • Lunch and refreshments will be provided each day.

Founded in 2017, and in partnership with leading design consultancy Matter Of Form, Experience Haus has become a market leader in Design Education.

We believe that Design Education will be pivotal in changing the world. Design Education puts an emphasis on the real problems facing businesses – the need for a balanced focus between business strategy and customer experience.

What is User Experience Design?

User experience (UX) design is the process design teams use to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users. This involves the design of the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product, including aspects of branding, design, usability and function.

A User Experience Designer is the person who is responsible for conducting user research, defining who the customer is, figuring out the right features and flows a product should have, and designing the concepts that are ready for developers to go away and build. UX design is a fast-paced and growing skillset, and an exciting career path moving forward.

About the 5 Day User Experience Design Bootcamp.

This comprehensive 5 day bootcamp is specifically designed for 16 – 24 year olds looking for a real-world learning experience. It covers everything you need to design digital products in the future – user research tactics, design thinking, how to manage clients, product and business strategy, user experience (UX) and user interface design (UI). All of which will come together to play an important role in making successful products.

Students will enjoy a mix of lectures, talks and collaborative workshop time, where they will get to practice learnings immediately and apply them to a real-life project set by a local business.

Who is it for?

This course is specifically designed for 16-24 year olds (including current secondary, college and university students). Our mission is to make our training fully accessible for everyone. So with Experience Haus there is no application process as such, no interview and no waiting to find out if you’ve ‘made the cut’.

There are no pre-requisites to take the course, but having a keen interest in design definitely helps. The course is perfect for anyone who is looking to add digital product design skills to their existing skillset and knowledge areas, and to gain valuable work, life and career experience. There is no need to have any knowledge of particular software as you will be taught everything along the way.

Dates and Costs.

We will be running this bootcamp 4 times this summer. 
Choose the week that works best for you.

  • August 1st, 2022 – August 5th, 2022
  • August 8th, 2022 – August 12th, 2022
  • August 15th, 2022 – August 19th, 2022
  • August 22nd, 2022 – August 26th, 2022

Classes will be held each day, Monday to Friday, from 9:30am to 5:00pm.

Each group will be capped at 8 students.

Costs:

The bootcamp cost is £995.00 per student.
 Discounts are available for group bookings.

To book your space:
Visit www.experiencehaus.com/ux-bootcamp, select the week that works best for you, choose your preferred payment option, receive your pre-course work, then wait for Day 1.

If you have any questions please email enrol@experiencehaus.com​​

Experience Haus x City Of London Alumni Hackathon

Hackathon

On Saturday 7th May, 40 of our Experience Haus alumni descended on our studio in London to take part in another of our popular full day design hackathon. These events are open to everyone across our Experience Haus community, so we had students coming in who had taken part in various different courses, from product design to service design. Our alumni started arriving from 9:30am and at 10:00am we revealed the most anticipated part of the day: the brief and client for the day. 

Who was the client?

For this hackathon, we were lucky enough to be given a brief from the City of London Education Strategy Unit (ESU). The ESU is a strategic team within the City Corporation that exists to extend and enrich education experiences in the City and beyond to help all learners realise their full potential. Their focus is on ‘additionality’ – the parts of the education experience that sit outside of their core, statutory requirements of a school.

The design challenge

All over the world, there’s a growing belief that traditional models for schools and curriculums are broken. Employees have made it clear that increasingly, entry level employees aren’t equipped with the most sought after skills. At the same time, young people increasingly feel like what they learn, and how they learn it, is completely detached from the people they are and the world they live in. 

For the first time in decades, the global education landscape is in a state of radical change. Efforts to explore the future of schooling are underway all over the world – but often without the involvement of the most important stakeholders – the learners. 

The ESU wants to ensure they deeply understand the learner perspective on this topic, and they believe technology can really help this. Therefore, the challenge the ESU proposed to our community was to come up with a digital solution that helps secondary-age learners show the world how they would re-invent school or the education system, if they were given the chance to do so. What would they want to learn about and why?

Tackling the challenge

With a wide, and incredibly exciting challenge to get to grips with, we split our students into seven groups of 5 and from 11am – 6pm, they worked through the entire end-to-end design process, from research to ideation to prototyping, and finally pulled together a presentation at the end of the day that met the design challenge. It was amazing to see how much work they all managed to achieve in seven hours and has given the ESU lots of food for thought! 

Reflecting on the day, Torri from the ESU commented that ‘the whole exercise will help [the ESU] to be super focussed and effective with our next steps on this project.

A huge thank you to Experience Haus. It has been a real privilege to be involved in the project and for so much work to have gone into this, on behalf of trying to crack one of our challenges.”

Amit Patel, Creative Director & Founder of Experience Haus said: “This was the fifth time we’ve run this event and we look forward to running them even more frequently in the future. We have a fantastic studio for our students to enjoy, so we look forward to hosting them again in the future.”

How to find a suitable training partner for your team.

Training Partner for your Team

One of the challenges that the corporate training market brings is the enormous selection of suitable partners. This is an area that is extremely important to Experience Haus as we continue to seek out new training opportunities, but more importantly build lasting partnerships with our clients. There is so much to consider in that the person or team that is responsible for making the training happen from the client side may actually be confused about which offer will best suit the company’s needs.

Training for all levels of your business.

There is a cultural shift needed – training is often looked at as something that the younger parts of the workforce need to do in order to gain experience, but truthfully, there is a mindset shift needed. Training is required at all levels from intern level to C-suite/executive level. Continuous learning is a must as it will help deal with the ever shifting global economy and growing demands.

Getting the best value from your training partner

The people purchasing the training will no doubt want to extract the best value and return on their investment – and the training needs to suit the way of working for the teams involved. In most cases (certainly what we have seen at Experience Haus) is that the company (or client as we would refer to them as) will want to see an overview of the content, how it will be delivered, and quality assurance that is so important to them.

Most teams will now look to hire in training partners as there is no suitable internal alternative. Most companies will have access to the same delivery tools, but it’s important to choose the right partner with a mix of well-delivered content, industry insight and desire to compliment the training with post training support. This is easier said than done however.

The amount of industry experience and quality of instructors is also key – if not perhaps the most important component of selecting the right training provider. What is the amount of experience they have? Who else have they worked with? Do they have any relevant case studies?

Blended learning continues to be a very popular way of delivering content – a mix between online, on-demand training supplemented by live virtual sessions or in-house workshops. This is certainly the way Experience Haus intends to build out its future learning platform.

Customising the training to fit your business needs

Another factor you should consider when looking for a training delivery partner is whether they have the ability to create customisable training. Selecting an ‘off-the-shelf’ product is no longer enough, and that can be a limiting factor for some of the training platforms that exist today. They are quickly lacking updates and relevance, and cannot keep up quick enough.

Personalisation and customisation will always be in demand, and this will allow for custom journeys that will tie in stronger with the employees specific goals, and help appeal to the different levels of experience within the cohort.

Bringing in a partner that can help align with strategic goals is key – both from the employee perspective and how they should benefit, but also from a business perspective too.

Overall, it is important that a chosen training partner has the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to help develop the most effective training delivery and implementation.

Exploring Design Thinking – What is it and how does it help?

Explore Design Thinking

Defining Design Thinking

Before we get started on exploring Design Thinking, it is important to discuss the challenge of actually defining ‘Design Thinking’.

There are two key words that make this up: design and thinking. It’s hard enough to define these concepts, let alone the two of them combined as design thinking as an approach (Rylander, 2009).

If you ask anyone who has discussed, used or regularly applies design thinking inside their business to help with problem solving, it is not surprising that many of them cannot exactly explain what design thinking is, the origins and how it was shaped.

Even the articulation of why it should be used is often difficult to arrive at – who needs to be involved? How long does it take? Why should non-designers inside organisations take notice? Sometimes teams and companies are actually applying design thinking without knowing it.

If you were to ask those that are around the design industry what design thinking actually means, it’s almost certain you will get different answers each and every time. The reality is that design thinking is quite complex and involves many strategic and creative approaches. It is more holistic than one can imagine. But done well, the output from the framework can be powerful.

At a high-level, design thinking is an iterative process that can be used to solve problems. Design thinking can be applied into any type of design work, regardless of discipline. It remains true that whole approach is what is good (and fun!) about the design practice. The divergent and convergent thinking, the iteration, the people that need to be involved, the ideating and testing of ideas – it’s all creative problem solving. And this problem solving has been a large part of the designers role almost forever. 

The term design thinking has grown in prominence over the last 10-15 years largely due it’s commercial use and social awareness. This approach takes the design process and methods and brings them to the limelight – in many cases however there is work done behind the scenes that no one sees (especially clients) that are truly powerful and help with decision making (Dorst, 2011)

The global design agency, IDEO, is often the company that is often credited with coming up with the approach of “design thinking” and it’s practical application. But the whole approach around design thinking is actually something that has been around for a lot longer (going back to the 1970s as a foundation) in fact, and has been slowly been applied with formal identification only just recently.

At Experience Haus, we truly believe it requires a shift in mindset, and if done well, it’s value moving forward is immense. If you compare it to more scientific approaches, that have been around for centuries, design thinking as a more practical (and perhaps applicable) approach has been around for 10-15 years, so it is essentially in it’s infancy. It is still far from global widespread adoption – in many cases teams look at the individual stages and use them to guide the development of products and services, but we will look at the why the mindset shift is actually more important.

The Framework

The design thinking framework aims to help inspire creative problem solving and strategic thinking that will help designers (of all kinds) create value-driven products and services, across various industries and sectors. (Kolko, 2015)

It is not, however, as it may seem, a linear path. Working through the stages in one defined path can often lead to failure. Iteration is key, and the willingness/need to step back as required. As you progress through the stages new ideas may come up and progress you forward, but new findings/gaps may come up that cause a need to step backwards to action further work.

Let’s take a look at each stage in further detail.

Empathy

This stage is where everything starts – in many way the foundational stage. It involves understanding the viewpoints of current and potential customers/users to see their views on current products and services, their behaviours and desires, the competitive landscape, and all done without bias.

If empathy is not something that designers have, there is a monumental task in place in order to design user-centred solutions. Empathy helps build a crucial understanding between the target audience and the product or service that is being potentially designed for them (Brower, 2021).

Other aspects that are often used at the stage include:

  • Bringing in experts (often referred to subject matter experts, “SMEs” to ask about their views, experience and design insights.
  • Contextual inquiry in order gain a more point of view perspective, essentially stepping into their shoes. Service safaris are where designers immersive themselves in a physical setting where a service, or product, is being current delivered.
  • In-depth conversation and research with designers who have tackled this challenge in other industries, sectors or disciplines

This is a crucial stage as the motivations, behaviours, perspective, pain points and past experiences of the target audience will all help towards understanding how to solve the users problem.

Define

At this stage, after gathering useful data points through empathy, discussions with experts, and stakeholders, the design team brings together the design challenge that needs to be focused on. Identifying the customer segment, the problem areas and opportunities as well as a refreshed problem statement are all key here.

A lot of what happens in this stage can be referred to as data synthesis. The problem statement that comes together at the end is an expression of the design challenge that includes who will be targeted and why. This can take the angle of either a business-centred problem, or a human-centred problem.

Some of the questions here could include

  • Who is our target user?
  • What does their journey look like and where are the opportunities to improve it?
  • What business objectives are we trying to meet?
  • What does success look like?
  • Who else do need to involve along the way?

Ideation

This stage is really where creativity gets to come into play. So much of what has been done so far is heavily based on empathy and data that sets up the ability to generate ideas that solve the design problem with creativity and innovation.

Initial ideation sessions may revolve around thinking “big”, and removing any kind of constraint, and then narrowing down to focus on an idea or two that are feasible and viable. It’s important to note that no idea is a bad idea, and that “bad” ideas can easily become good ideas with a slight twist. These ideations sessions are a must for designers as it builds up confidence around creative problem solving and the sharing of ideas.

The more ideas the better, as this provides more ideas for the team to discuss, investigate and potentially test to see how they solve the users problem.

It’s important to note that by now you should have a very good idea of your user base, so that you can focus on creativity and generating ideas for discussion.

Prototype

The previous stage brought us lots of ideas that we ultimately narrowed down through focusing on viability, feasibility and desirability (remember, design thinking is all about perspective, more on this later) – it is important to take an idea or two and see through testing if they actually solve the problem well. This is where a prototype (or early version) of the idea is needed. This should be done as quickly as possible, like paper sketches, or physical models using easy to access resources are needed. 

At this stage it is all about building potential initial solutions rather inexpensively and at small-scale. They should include the features that will act as gain creators or pain solvers, which are decided through the process after understanding what pain points and motivations the user base has. When testing, there needs to be open discussion about works well and what doesn’t work well, and the open willingness to move backwards in the process if an idea doesn’t land well.

As we move forward into the testing stage, it is important to start to discuss what is needed to bring the product to reality – address any outstanding user experience issues, and testing to bring out further behaviours and expectations for the future.

Test

The final stage of the design thinking framework requires getting real, prospective and current users to review the product in order to gain real data that can be used to measure success and to learn from. 

But calling this a “final” stage is not necessarily correct, as this framework, and designers in general, should be prepared to iterate and move backwards if needed. Iteration is what will bring a product closer to solving the problem well. Testing should be done thoroughly and comprehensively, as without this it is difficult for solutions to scale to a larger user base.

Design teams should be expecting to receive feedback that will require changes and refinements – this may cause a whole sequence of restarting the process especially moving back to the ideation or prototyping stage. New ideas will generated will require a refreshed approach, and teams should not be afraid to seek out tangents in discussion and thinking – which is where innovation may lie.

Alumni Hackathon: May 7th, 2022

Alumni Hackathon

This event is an all-day meeting of like-minded people, hosted in our Shoreditch studio, where our Experience Haus community (experience designers, service designers, product managers, marketers and startup enthusiasts) will come together to share ideas, form teams, build products and hopefully launch some innovative ideas that meet our challenging design brief.

We give you the space, mentors and expert entrepreneurs to help you build a portfolio-ready project.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a startup enthusiast, or just want to meet like-minded people, meet us this Saturday to create something beautiful and solve real problems!

Why attend?

This event offers you the chance to:

  • Pitch your idea and have the chance to see it move forward
  • Receive coaching and mentoring from amazing entrepreneurs and advisors
  • Learn about validating your idea, product and customer development, learn startup methods, Minimum Viable Products (MVP) and so much more!
  • Make your CV stand out and increase your design skills

Sign up via the community Slack channel.

Student Success Story: Sydney Schaefer

Sydney

Looking back before you joined the course at Experience Haus, can you tell us a little bit about what you were up to and what led you to consider a course in Product Design?

I studied general design practices at university and as soon as I graduated, I got a job as a designer at an advertising agency, but it wasn’t really for me. I’m not necessarily a graphic or visual person, but it was a good steady job to have when I first left university. Over time, I felt it wasn’t the right place, it wasn’t the right fit, so I did end up leaving and searching for other jobs as I wanted to do something that was more Service Design/UX orientated. I pulled together my portfolio, but it wasn’t really suitable for those disciplines. I applied for lots of jobs and had lots of odd, small jobs and freelance gigs here and there that were closer to what I was looking for, but still not quite right for me. There were a lot of instances where I’d meet up with someone, they’d give me a bit of work but things didn’t always pan out. I think I got luckier than a lot of people in those situations, because I went out and talked to a lot of people which helps, but there’s only so much you can do! 

Then the pandemic hit and any kind of traction I had immediately stopped. I knew I was interested in UX. I knew I wanted to do some form of digital products. I thought this was a good transition for my skills and where I wanted to be in the future, so I started doing some independent projects. That worked out well for the time, but I kept hearing over and over again ‘you don’t have enough experience. Your portfolio isn’t quite right.’ It was always the same message of hearing I was good, but that I needed a bit more. Around that time I thought I had been doing this for a while, and it was time to figure out how to get that experience and get that certification under my belt.

How did you come across Experience Haus? What made you decide to pick our course?

It was actually my partner that found Experience Haus. He sent it to me because we were talking about doing courses and I didn’t want something big or long-term because I already had a design background. I just needed a top-up really! I already knew how to go through a lot of the procedures, I just needed someone there to critique my work, so that was what was really important to me. I had a chat with one of the team about it and he was the one who really sold me on it! It was a really good conversation and I actually felt like he cared about it. He was honest about where I’d learn things and where I’d potentially be repeating but I would still get something out of it.

Thinking about your time on the course… What did you want to achieve from your Experience Haus course?

The main things I wanted to achieve were getting my portfolio and just refreshing my skills. It was also a bit of a stress test to make sure this was the next direction I wanted to move in. I had committed a lot of time but actually going through a project from end to end was really important as well.

What did you enjoy most about the course?

The course was great! I think I was able to commit a lot of time to it. It’s definitely one of those courses where you get out what you put in. 

I enjoyed being able to have 1:1 sessions with people on a regular basis – I really appreciated that. That’s one thing a lot of people don’t realise about design: it is a team sport and not something you can just do by yourself. We all have our own assumptions and come from different places, so having someone to sit there and be like ‘you’re actually wrong here but it’s alright that you’re wrong as you’ve built up assumptions. Let’s talk about this’ or ‘Let’s test this to see if you are right’. It helps make my work better.

I liked the fact it was in-person. Everyone on the course was really lovely. Having that interconnected critique of everyone’s work was really useful and fun!

Student Success Story: Valerie Liuim

Varlie

Looking back before you joined the course at Experience Haus, can you tell us a little bit about what you were up to and what led you to consider a course in UX/UI design?

I studied Graphic Design and Art Direction in Milan and my first two jobs were in that field, but then somehow I started doing something completely different and was working as a data analyst and taxonomist. While working in that industry I realised I wanted to go back to something related to design, but I was trying to understand what I really liked to do because working as a graphic designer wasn’t what I wanted to do in life. So then I researched a bit, realised UX and UI design could be the right career path for me and I came across Experience Haus, and it seemed like a really good opportunity.

How did you come across Experience Haus? What made you choose to study with us?

I think the first time I saw Experience Haus was through an Instagram ad so I clicked the link and went through to the website. I got in touch with the team and compared this option to others like General Assembly and Career Foundry and found it to be the most reasonable in terms of price and the fact the classes were live. I wanted to be sure I was going to start and finish something, rather than sign up for a course that was ‘do it at your own pace’ which I never would have completed!

Thinking about your time on the course… What did you want to achieve from your Experience Haus course?

I wanted to have a portfolio and at least one case study from this course. I also wanted to meet people who were in the same field that could help me and I could collaborate with.

What did you enjoy most about the course?

I really liked the fact we were divided into smaller groups. This meant you could get involved in lots of parts of the project and be really hands-on, which you wouldn’t get if you were part of a big group. You could also really get to know the other members of your team and that was helpful.

You also felt like you were part of something by taking part in a live class, rather than a recorded session. With lockdown and people still working from home, this was a nice reason to meet new people and see other people’s faces, even if it was on camera!

What was your one big takeaway from the course?

Something that helped me was the fact our teacher pushed us to follow up with the client, and that led to something really useful because our group started collaborating with the client even after the course finished. It helped us portfolio-wise, skills-wise and mentor-wise. We were also pushed to do things we hadn’t even learned on the course! 

Student Success Story: Francesca Tiley

Francesca

Looking back before you joined the course at Experience Haus, can you tell us a little bit about what you were up to and what led you to consider a course in UX/UI design?

I come from an illustration design background and for the last 4 or so years I’ve been working as a commercial illustrator, a freelance illustrator and also did a bit of art tutoring and teaching. So I’ve always loved design and had ended up in illustration, which I really love and still do on the side, but I was getting to the stage where I was falling out of love with it. I felt like I wasn’t using all of the skills I have within that role and wasn’t being pushed enough. I also missed working with people as it’s quite a solitary career. There were a lot of things that made me think this wasn’t complete enough and I could do more. So I had been looking into other areas of design and looking at graphic design, branding and other areas that interested me. I spent a long time looking into things and then the pandemic hit so all of that was put on hold. Then it was last year that a friend of mind recommended UX design. He told me it’s still design and is a growing area and seems like something he thought I would be interested in. So I did more research into it and then eventually led me to find Experience Haus. I also really loved the course I did – the Online UX/UI course – as it’s really great that it’s got both UX and UI rather than just one or the other, as a lot of other courses seem to just focus on one.

How did you come across Experience Haus? What made you choose to study with us?

I came across Experience Haus through a contact. I’m part of the Prince’s Trust charity and they’ve helped me out a lot with illustration stuff and I have a mentor through that. He then put me in touch with Matter of Form, who put me in touch with Amit, so there’s a link of people connecting me to the course! It naturally happened but it was through contacts that I heard about the course.

I’d been looking at the other courses on your website but the fact that this was both UX and UI together stood out to me. It eases you in, it’s not too much of a jump into something completely new and felt like it was right for the stage that I was at as a beginner but with some design experience. The fact that it was online was ideal.

Thinking about your time on the course… What did you want to achieve from your Experience Haus course?

The main goal was getting a job! But also strengthening my understanding of what UX Design and what UI is. I had been teaching myself before the course, but this was really nice to work with other people on a project as this gives you first hand experience of the role you would be stepping into.

What did you enjoy most about the course?

Definitely working with other people and getting a real client brief, but also I was interested to see how it would work online, but it totally did! I looked forward to each session so much and everyone was really lovely. It always felt like a really nice environment, even though it was on Zoom! It was a mixture of both having first hand experience on a live project, but also working with other people, learning new software as well.  

What was your one big takeaway from the course?

I do feel using your network is super important and being open and flexible. Even if you have a certain direction of where you want to go in mind, just be open to other options. The role that I’ve started a few months ago isn’t just UX, it’s graphic design as well and UI, like a classic Junior role and that’s ended up being really ideal as I’m using skills that I had before the course and also skills I learned on the course. When I was applying for jobs I was open to anything that was out there, which ended up being a really good thing to do!  

Student Success Story: Alexandra Nurse

Alexandra Nurse

Looking back before you joined the course at Experience Haus, can you tell us a little bit about what you were up to and what led you to consider a course in Product Design?

I have a background in product design, but more industrial design, so I studied that at university but I struggled trying to apply for jobs in physical product design. I did get a grad job at a company where they designed retail display units for make-up and cosmetic companies like Selfridges, Dior, Mac, places like that! I worked there for just over a year but then due to a lot of circumstances it just didn’t work out. I also realised the company just wasn’t for me! They were also going through a redundancy stage as well, so I decided to learn and after that I was working part-time as a casual worker at the Design Museum in retail. During that time, when the pandemic was just starting, I started researching into UX/UI design because whenever I was applying jobs searching for product designer, all I could see were UX Designer jobs, or it was say ‘product design’ but kept talking about wireframes and I didn’t know what wireframes were and didn’t know if I could do the job! So that was why I really decided to go into UX design.

How did you come across Experience Haus? What made you decide to pick our course?

During Covid I was doing a lot of research into courses and stuff. At first I was on Skillshare and doing lots of little courses for free just to make sure my understanding was there, but then I decided I wanted to do a proper course and I had seen your name pop up before. I started looking at courses but then my friend saw you come up on Instagram and sent it to me.

Doing it in-person was also an important thing for me. With the way I learn, I feel if I go physically somewhere there’s more understanding, whereas I feel it’s easier to switch off when you’re doing it online! I had done a lot of video learning already through YouTube and Skillshare so on this occasion I felt like I needed someone there explaining it. I also need that accountability to make sure I finish doing what I need to do! It’s one of those things that if someone’s watching you, you just feel you need to get everything done!

Thinking about your time on the course… What did you want to achieve from your Experience Haus course?

Definitely a portfolio piece. The fact that Experience Haus offered live briefs and you could work with a client was really good. My client was happy to meet with me twice a week so it felt more like a working relationship going through all my processes with them and showing what I had been working on. I felt that was a really good experience as it felt like I was working for them. I wanted that experience of working for someone but not like a freelancer so I found that really beneficial.

What did you enjoy most about the course?

Being able to come into the studio! To be able to come into the office and see people was great as I wasn’t seeing people that much.

What was your one big takeaway from the course?

The real life experience and having a full rounded understanding of UX and UI.

Instructor Profile: Joe Morgan

male-instructor-with-black-cap-and-tshirt

Tell us a little about yourself and your current work outside of Experience Haus? 

I’ve been in and around creative industries for about 18 years, initially working up the ladder in strategy and then more recently crossing over to a more ‘hybrid strategic experience’ role. Now I work as a freelance consultant on projects that require a mix of strategy, service design, product design and customer experience.  Example clients include 02, HSBC, PlayStation, Ford, Saga, Microsoft, Samsung, Tate, Belmond…the list goes on!

Did you have a specific goal you wanted to achieve before you started teaching at Experience Haus? Do you think your time here so far has kept you on the right track?

When surgeons are trained they are forced to ‘see one, do one, teach one’; this is because teaching someone else to do something requires a real mastery of concepts and material. I guess this is what I personally want to achieve through my teaching with Experience Haus, beyond the more obvious answers like ‘sharing with others and building the community’. I hope by coaching others I test and improve my own knowledge and skills.

What is your teaching philosophy?

I’m a big fan of Bloom’s taxonomy and Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyse, Evaluate, Create framework. I also like giving each student the responsibility of being a design leader, making them responsible for ensuring that the class delivers their homework for the week.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at Experience Haus?

The live, hands-on nature of the sessions means that you’re constantly kept on your toes. Whether it’s fielding unexpected questions, facilitating an interesting debate, running impromptu workshops or navigating tricky project briefs that even a seasoned pro would find hard to solve – the largely unscripted format means that it really is as close to doing the job in real-life as you can get. There are no predefined answers or multiple choice questions in the real world.