UX Design Students Develop Real-World Solution for Caterpillar

Four teams of User Experience (UX) Design students have been working all semester to solve a UX issue for Caterpillar’s pre-registration service site for its SOS fluid analysis program. All their hard work came to a head on Nov. 10, at the UX Design Challenge at Caterpillar with the Cat Digital UX team.

Students worked for 10 weeks researching and testing ideas ahead of the competition. “This year we conducted all of the user testing through UserTesting before the onsite challenge day,” explained Heather Ford, assistant professor, UI/UX Interactive Media. “This was a great experience for the students as UserTesting is used throughout the UX industry and they were able to spend more time working with the designers on challenge day ideating and reviewing the user testing results.”

She said the students did a great job understanding the problem and working on potential solutions. Sophomore Rider Hagen who was on Team Chrysalis with junior Charlotte Tolly and senior Ellie Diggins acknowledged there were hurdles in the process. “The most challenging aspect of this project, at times, was the lack of clarity when it came to the product we were supposed to be creating. I'm used to the rubrics and specific requirements provided by a classroom environment, but when working with a client it’s a lot less specific and structured in a way that is difficult (but not impossible) to adapt to,” he said.

He and Diggins worked together during the 10-week timeframe, consulting with their team leads when problems arose. They presented their design solution along with the other teams on Nov. 10, and won the competition.

The Cat Digital UX team said they appreciated the level of detail Team Chrysalis provided relating to user pain points while addressing the solution. “The presentation showed a very clear and concise understanding of the problem AND the users behind the application.” They indicated this was the best solution because it’s feasible to implement with minimal UI updates.

Ford said, “Experiential Learning activities like this are crucial to a student's success. We place client projects into the UX classrooms starting sophomore year so that they can begin getting those experiences as much as possible.”

—Emily Potts