Following a busy start to 2021, UX Designer, Amber Davies, talks through how the start of a busy year in a design consultancy looks.

Design Development Consultant, John, and I also took some time in December to understand and discuss ethical procedures for gathering user research in line with NHS guidelines for patient research. We used the online tool, Is my study research?, by the Medical Research Council, to determine where we sat within these guidelines in relation to a current project. With some experience of working under similar guidelines, I was able to discuss and implement this method as a way of overcoming some questions we were facing. Through doing so, I worked to and learned about HDs revision history and quality processes. These learnings will be incredibly useful to apply and build upon moving forward with other projects also.

This month consisted of a variety of content creation. I recognised that a sticking point for the team was that when content was allocated out, often it would not be completed due to them being understandably busy with design work.

Instead, I decided to experiment with implementing a new method that allows us to utilise the knowledge of the team but, save them taking the time out to write it.

I planned some topic ideas around a given subject and then sat with a chosen engineer to discuss the topic. By recording the conversation, I could then write it up in content form.

It was a slight experiment, but it went well and was nice to see the idea coming into fruition. I look forward to continuing and building upon this in 2021.

I recognised that not only is it useful for the Engineer, but, also incredibly useful for myself as I learned a great deal from both relatively short conversations.

I was also able to sit in on a range of workshops and meetings. Firstly, I joined a concept review following an internal design sprint. This was really useful in developing an understanding for the concept evaluation process. In addition, I participated in a virtual IP generation workshop which was interesting to see how such workshop was undertaken and managed remotely with members of the team and, the client. As well as this, I participated in my first user journey mapping session at HD. The session was very insightful and was great to gather some user feedback on an internal project. This was also a good opportunity to understand HDs process of gathering those important user insights. I was also able to feed in some of my own insights and methods developed from previous experiences. To add to the list, I sat in on a client meeting where some of my research and recommendations were being discussed. With a couple of tweaks to be made, the client agreed and chose to move forward with my recommendations which I was pleased with. Ahead of Christmas, I was even able to visit some of our prototype manufacturers to see some of our current prototypes being made.

In addition, this month, I undertook my first explorative call with a prospect client, took plenty of notes, did a lot of reflecting and gathered various insights to present back and make suggestions for moving forward. I look forward to a continuation of this research, building upon my methods and working with clinicians to gather valuable insight.

The month concluded by meeting with MD, David Mills to discuss upcoming marketing activity as well as review my work so far. Regular insight from the entire team at HD continues to be incredibly useful for understanding the necessary procedures to ensure relevant standard compliance and importantly, high quality work outputs – from design for manufacture and overcoming design hurdles, my awareness is ever expanding. I look forward to what 2021 will bring!

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