Adam Perron

1 The Overview.

About

I worked on Hackbot, an interactive bot client, during my Microsoft garage internship in summer 2016. I designed a bot that would assist new and existing users navigate a complex event website and, using natural language, complete tasks that would otherwise be tedious.

The objective of this project was to make the website as intuitive as possible, to encourage and increase participation for the event. We took on the project with an established set of criteria, but it was up to me and my team to determine the extent of Hackbot’s functionality.

The Team

Adam Perron

Anthony Garant

Brandon Mabey

John Slevinsky

Ke Er Xiong

Samuel Lavoie-Marchildon

My Role

Being the only designer on the team, my primary role was to design an interface, determine functionalities and flow of the application.

Objectives

The overall goals were to increase user participation for a Hackathon, and ensure overall event satisfaction. This was accomplished by creating a system that would address the following aspects:

Before event. Hackbot helped users set up their profiles, find team members and projects based on profile data, and answer logistical questions about the event.

During the event. Hackbot helped users stay on track with their project by sending notifications of important deadlines. It also enhanced user’s overall event experience by notifying them of other attractions going on, where the nearest lunch spot was based on their location, and other user-specific information.

After the event. Hackbot provided users with information on winner statistics, and was able to answer any post-event questions users may have had.

2 The Research.

Since bots are still an emerging technology, there isn’t a standard approach for how it should be implemented. I compared other bot technologies on the market, and determined what would work best for this project. Among all the research I did to prepare, I looked at the following areas of interest:

Bot interaction. I decided the main method of communication would be through text input. However, in some cases, just being able to type responses created too much back and forth and lacked efficiency, so we implemented interface components that let users pick options based on certain questions and responses. The point and click interaction made Hackbot easier to use.

Personality. Research shows that people are more inclined to use bot technology if it has a unique personality. As part of Hackbot’s design, we determined what kind of personality it would have to best cater to our specific user base.

User Testing

Prior to launching Hackbot, we performed user testing with various demographics that would be attending the event. The objective was to see how people interacted with the bot. We implemented analytics to track the most popular questions asked, and allowed users to submit feedback directly via the bot client. We used the data to determine pain points and prioritize core features.

Challenges

The main challenge that my team and I faced was the limited amount of time we had to complete the project. Additionally, since bot technology is a relatively new technology, there wasn’t a lot of existing content to base it on. Another point of difficulty was predicting how responsive users were going to be to the new system.

3 Identity

Logo

Initial logo concepts.

Sketches

Sample of sketches used to determine application’s wireframes.

4 Prototyping

Flow

Wireframes

Some wireframes demonstrating the application’s flow.

5 The Final Design.

Sample of sketches used to determine application’s wireframes.

7 Final Thoughts.

Being able to experience a full developmental cycle of a project allowed me to strengthen my design and UX abilities. I learned how to develop a project from ground up, and by going through many iteration phases and getting feedback from real users, I was able to determine the best approaches to bot technology. Receiving feedback from real users also allowed us to determine areas of weakness that we later improved upon. I learned how to work in an agile development environment, where we were constantly adapting and evolving the system.

Engage

Open source web application

UX
DEVELOPMENT
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Life Log

Goal tracking app concept

CASE STUDY
UX
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Design to Win

Waterloo UX design competition finale

UX
COMPETITION
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Qhacks

Branding for Queen’s University hackathon

BRANDING
GRAPHICS