Aaron Finnegan

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My name is Aaron, and I am a 23-year-old UX designer. Having an IT background, and starting a career as a UX designer has been both challenging and exciting. Discovering my passion for reliable, enjoyable and beneficial application design has allowed me to combine the best of both worlds and establish empathy for the end-user throughout my work.

Kickstarting my career in UX design, I gained over a year of experience with a start-up health and fitness company in Belfast called gofyt. I also have one year of experience in print reproduction and brand management for clients such as Keogh's, Linwoods, Magners and MJM Group with Reprographic Systems.

I have a great willingness to learn from others, striving to retain and apply knowledge in my contributions to every project I am a part of, and I enjoy testing my creative ability.

Outside of work and university, I have an avid interest in astronomy, movies and film production, and of course, Lego.

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Astronomy can be a fascinating and rewarding pastime, whether you have a substantial telescope and accessories such as a CCD camera, or are a beginner observing with the naked eye.

Betelgeuse is a platform with the ability to offer a unique learning experience for beginner astronomers and young star-gazers. Its goal to inform users about the fundamental basics of star-gazing provides a healthy balance between physical and digital activities, encouraging a kinesthetic approach to learning.

My project scope was to create an interactive tool for those interested in celestial observation, providing a platform that teaches the fundamentals of telescopic use, finding the correct magnification for sightings and the basics of astronomy. Yielding its name with the infamous red supergiant, Betelgeuse is the tenth brightest star in the night sky and situated in the constellation of Orion.

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The Process

The process of creating Betelgeuse has been both challenging and rewarding. It was essential to survey the existing marketplace and assess what is currently available for developing a new product that can stand alone. Understanding what specific apps do help to inform my design process and the outcome of my prototype. I created a series of user personas based on the research and conclusions made. These user journeys created to embody fictional user archetypes in which Betelgeuse could target helped me to produce empathy maps and user journeys.

Even though there are many astronomy-themed apps, the conclusion was that there was ample room for improvement and reiteration. The process began with rough paper sketches which laid the foundations for the app's core features, followed by wire-framing and user testing. Finally, iterations were produced, passing through further renditions.

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The Outcome

I created an Adobe XD prototype to capture the look and feel of Betelgeuse. Readability and clutter a significant issue within existing apps. Betelgeuse aims to address this, emphasising clarity with a minimalistic approach. The UI has been designed to ensure legibility even in tight areas of dense data. Shades of blue and black are used to evoke the depth of space.

The prototype successfully portrays various elements of the app and my vision. I believe Betelgeuse can motivate, inform and entertain a target audience of beginner star-gazers. I hope to continue with my research and design of Betelgeuse, developing it further beyond this stage in the future.

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