Hot New Things — Evandah Steadman, Unitec
Welcome to Hot New Things 2019 – an opportunity to profile a selection of the top design graduates coming out of our tertiary institutions. This week, we speak with Evandah Steadman from Unitec.
You completed your full-time studies at the end of 2018. Can you tell us what your final year’s project was about and what you focused on?
Well, being passionate about UI/UX design I have always been attracted to design as a problem-solving tool. So In August when I lead an 18 person team to design an app that helps prevent youth suicide during a weekend-long hackathon, then winning – I knew I had to take this further. Mental Health is a very intimate and personal challenge to face, so it made sense to come at this problem with a focus on human-centered design. This approach to my final project lead me to design a chatbot app called “Village” derived from the saying “it takes a village to look after a child”. The chatbot acts a mental therapist in your pocket and connects you to your wider support when you’re feeling low. Aswell as the user interface, I focused on a brand strategy that would overcome the mental health stigma.
How has what you’ve recently been working on influenced your design process, and what momentum does it bring to your practice?
This project emphasizes the importance of iterative design with user feedback throughout all stages of the design. This helped make different types of decisions across the project from brand strategy to user interface design.
What were some of your most exciting discoveries?
I think the user interface went through a process of filtering 30 different screens to only just 3. What I found was that these people were already under immense mental tension, so to combat this I simplified the user flow to reduce cognitive tension. This lead to a login screen, a dashboard screen with five options, then a chatbot screen which would communicate these five different options through text message — no eye-popping graphics – just functional design.
And also some of the challenges along the way?
During the discovery phase of the project, there were many different problems that were hard to understand how they relate to each-other. I created one large user journey with all the data on it to help identify the themes. However, this lead to many different outcomes the project could focus on and finding the direction was hard. After further analysis and talking with my tutors, I decided to focus heavily on the brand strategy aswell as the user interface would have the biggest impact.
What did you love doing the most?
I loved watching the progression of the design as I talked to the users. From designing the logo to the user interface – it all went through many iterations and to see it come out on the other side was an amazing feeling.
Where do you go to find inspiration?
I love looking at www.httpster.com, for when I’m looking for creative inspiration. I also just discovered https://www.lapa.ninja which is great for quick content inspiration.
Why did you choose to study at your design school, and what do you feel you can take away now that you’ve completed your course?
The thing I liked about Unitec was – Yes, there are smaller classes, but it means there are more real-world opportunities per person. I took hold of every opportunity, and with the mentorship of my tutors I came out with a solid understanding of design, my own process, and real-world experience that I wouldn’t of had anywhere else.
Where to next for you? What does 2019 hold?
I’ve just finished an intensive 15-week boot camp, learning how to code web applications from the backend to frontend. With my new superpower to code, design and understand business I am looking to work in the tech industry as a UX designer solving some of the worlds biggest problems. It’s not about the paycheck or the company for me, it’s just about doing awesome work that has an impact.