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UX Notebook Project

The Design UX Notebook project required a look at a custom order process, with a subscription add-on option. The notebook is unique in that it uses a binding system that allows the user to arrange, add and remove pages at will. Which means there’s one notebook can be brought with you for several different things including work and personal content. If some template types are preferable over others, the user can simply omit what they don’t use and re-order the most important templates.

Project NameUX Notebook Project
TaglineA physical notebook for designers and UX professionals
Project SummaryProduce a notebook that is dedicated to the disciplines of graphic design and user experience. Develop and manufacture notebook.
ClientPersonal Project
Date or TimeframeJuly 2020
Tasks & ResponsibilitiesDevelop notebook product geared towards designers and UX professionals based on research of personal use / current product shortfalls, expand or narrow product features based on user experience surveys and interviews. Manufacture to meet requirements of a mass audience of designers. Create eCommerce site to facilitate customization and purchase of notebook.
PlatformsWordPress, Physical, eCommerce web
Design Tools / UX MethodsyED, Site Architecture, Surveys, Journey Maps
KPIs / AnalyticsCompleted surveys, partial surveys, completed orders, re-orders, subscriptions
Team / CollaboratorsMike Smick, Chad C.

Research and Prototype Development

Let’s start from the beginning. I wanted this notebook to exist. And I felt like I was not the only one. And one of the best ways to find out was to make something and ask others to use it, and get feedback. My first iteration was a prototype myself and one colleague used. We discussed over several meetings the good and the weak points. Next phase was to get a proper prototype in a small group of professionals that would make up the target market. Graphic designers, artists, UX professionals. We gathered six users to pilot the prototypes and they were given the first professionally printed books. Their demo notebooks, contained 5 templates to preview and test and the books had durable translucent covers with ‘prototype’ printed with the early product logo idea.

Impressions Survey

I knew the kind of information I wanted from the survey. I wanted to know how people felt about any current notebooks and I wanted to get a sense for their level of organization, their thoughts on quality and price and other ways they might work with a notebook.

A couple weeks after the notebooks were distributed, we sent out the survey to get their impressions of what they had in their hands. Answers indicated people were happy with size and quality but didn’t need elaborate templates. One interesting response was everyone liked the thicker paper, even at the sacrifice of page count. Durability also meant less marker bleed.

After the survey we had a group discussion via video conference. There people discussed other nuances of the book, praising some aspects but also communicating that some aspects of the product were too elaborate.

A challenge with a small group is you can get feedback that is spoiled. When you’ve made the effort to conduct a meeting and given something free to someone they may feel obligated to give too favorable responses or be less objective about the bad. While a pleasant human quality you’d normally celebrate, unfortunately it doesn’t help get you to knowing whether the product will have real demand or if there are nuanced usability problems.

Journey Map

The journey mapped here focuses on how the user perceives a customization of a notebook. Being able to decide what templates are favored and the quantity of those sheets / pages is something not encountered anywhere else. If the user purchases this system, while it does differ from simply finding and buying a few dedicated notebooks at an office supply store, the user will find benefits in always being able to the book that best suits him / her at a consistent price AND in some cases, will only need to bring one notebook with them wherever it’s in use.

UX Notebook Order Process Wireframe

This early wireframe shown below (not screen accurate) shows how a user will make a selection from a number of templates, narrowing down what to actually include. From there, the user is brought to a unique set of quantity sliders. The total of pages for a notebook is constrained, but a slider is introduced for each template the customer included earlier. And as the customer narrows down quantity, they can decide to lock a quantity in. The sliders are dependent to one another, and will slide up or down depending on locked or unlocked setting. The user can see while they slide, the page quantity AND percentage of the notebook used by that particular template. In order to maintain the total quantity, if one unlocked slider is moved to increase page count, the other unlocked sliders will move down accordingly scaling based on percentage.

Once the custom notebook configuration is complete, the user can then decide to add any extra page packets that will help them further customize their own notebook later on, and keep their notebook filled as they use up and discard pages. From there the user can opt-in to a subscription for automatic delivery at certain time intervals such as 2 weeks or 6 weeks, the idea being that the user will get resupplied with paper before they run out and need it.