UX project spotlight: Mohammad and Miranda

Our first immersive UX & Product Design bootcamp has wrapped up! Each student builds impressive portfolio projects and we wanted to share some of their work with you. We strongly believe in learning by doing with the support of top-notch mentors.

You'll learn how Mohammad Owainati and Miranda Gagnon created their amazing final projects and just how much they learned in the process to get their work across the finish line.


The projects

Mohammad Owainati – CNNCT.

Mohammad realized that there was something missing for him while working in marketing. After some reflection and research, his conclusion was that he didn’t want to simply advise on a project’s direction, he wanted to create them himself. Finding UX provided the language and tools to effectively communicate and carry out his creative concepts.

His project CNNCT. assists self-identified introverts with networking. Users see who crosses their path at an event from the app, with the option to reach out digitally if desired.

Element from Mohammad's CNNCT. model

Miranda Gagnon – Barback

Shifting from academia, Miranda took on Bitmaker’s Web Development bootcamp right before jumping into UX & Product Design. She’s always been passionate about good design – when she started to learn to code, she found out about UX and things clicked.

Miranda created Barback, a cocktail recipe app curated by Toronto bartenders and updated weekly. Users can search by alcohol, categorize saved recipes, and learn the backstory behind a certain mix.


The process

Getting inspired

With 5 weeks left in the course, students are tasked with picking their portfolio project. Miranda initially considered redesigning her Web Dev project, GitHug, from a UX perspective. Instead, she went a new direction. She designed a cocktail app that offers the context of how and why a recipe came to exist, beyond simply the ingredients involved.

Miranda's wireframe sketches

Once this was settled, Miranda got to channel her love of researching and looking for artwork in the search of design inspiration.

“I really enjoy walking around the streets, thinking about how things look, and pulling ideas from that. I analyzed the flow of other apps as well,” she said. “Having over half of the course duration allotted to focusing on one project allowed me to explore animations and research and have an opportunity to dive deep.”

Mentorship through roadblocks

Effective mentorship is as critical in the classroom as it is when you start a new job. You don't have years of experience or established processes at your disposal. That's why every student gets one of our instructors to act as their project mentor.

Mohammad worked with Matt Hryhorsky, who pushed him to consider beyond the “how” of creating to find the “why” behind design choices.

“Matt’s guidance anchored me to the principle that if someone’s not going to use your product, you’re wasting your time,” said Mohammad. “Having someone with you that is comfortable with the cycle of developing, launching, and going back to enhance a project offered me insight on the nitty gritty of design philosophy. That’s not something you can get from passively studying.”

Planning out how users can go from "A" to "B" in your app can be hard huge challenge for new designers. Miranda’s mentor, Dakoda, helped provide her with a perspective.

“Something I had to work hard on was separating my vision from actual usability while assessing my app's overall flow. I was getting caught up in the data I collected. Dakoda was able to highlight what was making navigation non-intuitive.”

Showing off the prototype

The sooner your put your design in front of prospective users, the better. That's why prototyping is a core UX design skill.

Both Mohammad and Miranda received important 'look and feel' feedback when user-testing their prototypes. Miranda’s app ended up having a nightlife feel to it after some iterations, while Mohammad rebalanced his quiet colour palette to improve usability.

One of the slick interactions Miranda prototyped

It's not just informative to put your design in front of users, it's also exciting. “When I showed the app to attendees of a local meetup people kept saying, ‘You made this?’” said Mohammad. “Seeing people react to something I created was really satisfying.”

“Bringing the Barback app back to earlier user testers and recipe contributors was great – it was enjoyable to have them see the new iteration that incorporated their feedback, and love it.”


More great projects

Congratulations to all of our latest UXPD students for your amazing work! You can see it all by visiting their alumni profiles here:

Alex Wong Davin Henson
Fiona Cheung Franz Ombico
Giorgio Ceciarelli Jenna Treftlin
Matt Miller Richard Lam
Shamar Robinson Urvashi Sharma
Isaac Kim