Final Project Experience
I am very happy how the final project turned out. For most of the semester it was really slow going, but in the last few weeks it really came together into something I am excited to put onto my portfolio. It was definitely hard to give the project the time it probably deserved while having a whole other studio project to balance.
I really enjoyed learning Adobe XD and putting an app together as well as really thinking about user journeys. I do wish I was able to learn some other skills/knowledge from the project such as basic coding concepts, or other UX specific prototyping tools. Also, I would have liked for our group to be slightly larger (we only had 3 people) in order to go more in depth in the CS side of the project. All in all I had a good experience and I’m glad to have done the project.
Thoughts on UX Class
This class definitely made me much more versed in the world of UX design. Before the class I had a pretty vague idea of all it entailed and its implications. I really enjoyed the different discussions we had throughout the semester about data sharing, AI, futuristic topics, etc. It opened my eyes to many other considerations to think about while designing.
The class structure (only having one class a week) made it a little hard to focus on the projects, so I wish it could have been split up throughout the week, or even a module-style class for part of the semester. I think the wallet project at the beginning of the semester was not super valuable for the ID students, but I do see how it could be for CS students with not as much exposure to design thinking. Maybe during that time the two disciplines could be split up and the ID students could be learning about basic coding or something—definitely something I wish I had learned a little of.
My interest in taking this class was to have an opportunity to explore user experience design. I haven’t previously been interested in UX so when the opportunity presented itself to explore further, I decided to sign up.
I’ve learned much about how design and computer science can blend together in ways to make data usable to a wide variety of people, and how digital experiences can become depended on how the physical presents them.
That being said, I don’t believe UX is a field that interests me moving forward, but I am grateful for the experience.
When I first signed up for this class, I was expecting a class on how to use various cs based design tools (such as bootstrap in css or creating fluid user interactions in an app) but I’m so happy this class was way more than that. I loved how the class was not a tradition lecture like the other HCI classes that I’m currently taking (Human Computer Interaction, Introduction to GUI, Mobile Software Design) and was a lot more conversational and interactive. I learned so much about basic design principles, human computer interaction, and working on a team where every member has a different background.
One of the biggest takeaways I got from the course was collaborating with students outside of cs. Working with design students opened up a whole new world for me. At first, it was difficult in explaining the limitations of the technology and trying to explain it without using technical terms, but as the project went on, it became really fun brainstorming and generating ideas from a whole new view point.
It would have been really interesting if the design students and the cs students switched roles for a class, where the cs students are put in charge of creating the wireframe and designing the front end while the design students create an outline for the program (basic classes, methods, doesn’t have to have be syntactically correct), so that both parties get a different point of view.
In conclusion, I can honestly say that this has been one of the most influential classes (in terms of influencing my career path) I have taken so far as a sophomore. I kind of wish I can take the class again to develop another project since the whole process of design, evaluate, re-design, etc. was so much fun.
My final project experience was overall pretty good. I really enjoyed working on the bee project. I found the topic interesting and I learned a lot about design. As for my CS experience, I used this class as a way to learn some new technologies that I hadn’t used before, so I spent a lot of time using AWS, specifically S3 and Lambda. Toward the end of the final project, however, I felt like I was spending more time working on learning than I did actually getting the job done. I also felt that toward the end of the project, that I was not actually very useful. We took a while to get started and then by the time that we actually needed to produce our results, we needed more from the design side than we did from the programming side. We needed to get more done, but I didn’t know how to help.
Overall, I think the class had a lot more design than I expected. Of course, looking back, this is dumb because clearly design is in the title of the course. But I didn’t feel equipped as a computer scientist to keep up with what the design students were doing. Part of this is my project choice because there wasn’t a lot of computing that needed to be done, or could be done to actually solve our problems with the time frame that we had. The wallet exercise at the beginning of the class seemed very drawn out to me. The computer science students seemed to be learning, but the design students seemed bored by the exercise. Furthermore, I think that the class could benefit from some more structure. On one hand it was nice that we could pick our topics, but on the other hand, we couldn’t get started until about 5-6 weeks in. And at that point, we had done so little work at the beginning of the course that we were not invested in our project when we needed to do more work later on.
I was very excited for this class as I know that interdisciplinary work is a vital part of any ID job and I especially was curious about UX design and what collaboration with CS means for a designer. I was very proud of our final product and really enjoyed my time solving problems in a way I have never done before. I definitely was happy to have the opportunity to practice design research and user testing with a product that wasn’t as focused on physical ergonomics but more on emotional perception. I don’t think it was this this class in particular, but I had a very overwhelming work load this semester and I definitely do not think that having two “studio projects” helped the situation which is what this class felt like. I really loved the discussions we had in class about UX design, I think the informal atmosphere really got me interested in the subject and it definitely inspired me to look into more UX focused projects in the future. I think the pace for the final project was good, it definitely started a little slow so that I felt like the steps at the end were a little to big and felt kind of stressful especially because they came at a time in the semester that everyone was dealing with a lot of work in their other classes as well.
While I really enjoyed the class and am glad I took it, there are definitely some things I wish were different. I learned a little about the work of CS students and what sort of things they need to consider when coding, but not quite as much as I had hoped. I wished that the class had taught me the basics of coding or at least just understanding what happens when someone sits down to make an app. Sure I was able to design the interface on illustrator but I know how to do that and I felt like this class had major potential to teach me something unique. I feel like each student just stuck with their individual strengths and weren’t given the opportunity to learn something new. I feel like I could have easily done what I did for this project as any other studio project and maybe I wouldn’t have a functional prototype at the end, but its not like I did that for this project anyways. I know its hard with the weird timing of the class meeting times, but I definitely think we could have had more “workshops” to at least build our understanding and of the subject so at the very least I could feel comfortable talking with a CS person about what needs to happen or what they are doing, even if I myself am unable to do it. The whole project I would come up with ideas but I wasn’t quite sure if it was actually feasible and I still wouldn’t know. As a designer I think I could come up with more successful designs if I know what can be done or what is the most efficient way to solve a problem. The last thing I think that should be improved for the class was communication. The blog was a good idea but definitely had a learning curve (maybe thats just me haha) I found myself missing announcements and wasn’t sure quite how to post or what exactly the professors wanted from my post. I also felt as if we received the specifications for due dates at a very short notice if at all. I would talk to other groups and everyone seemed to have a different idea of what we needed to do. Despite these few issues which is expected of a beta class, I believe my group maintained a good dynamic and handled the whole project very well and I am glad to have gained the experience.
Having one and a half studios this semester was definitely crazy at times, but I think it was worth it. This class gave us the opportunity to go behind the scenes in a way and see how much work really goes into programming. I wish that there had been opportunities for the design students to learn about coding and maybe gain a very basic ability by the end of the semester (which is kind of what I thought this class would be), but I understand how our time limitations made that pretty impossible. I think it would be awesome if this class developed into a twice-a-week course so that CS and ID students could learn basic skills in each others’ majors to make collaboration and splitting up work on the main project easier.
At first, I really can’t say I was too excited about our final project (Holler) because I was out of town on the day each group chose their topics. However, when I got back, I was glad to be in a group that had a solid problem and a promising idea on how to solve it. I think this was an important project to have since lots of industrial design jobs incorporate UX and UI design, and I personally appreciated it since I didn’t have any kind of UX work in my portfolio before this. I also definitely got a better understanding of app design by learning what was and wasn’t feasible from a coding perspective. Overall, I think that I’ve gained a solid base knowledge of app and UX/UI design that I’m excited to carry over into future projects.
The final project was the first time I was able to work with students who are not engineers. Rachel, Sarah, and Zach all thought very differently than I did and it was awesome seeing a different perspective. I really liked our idea so it allowed me to enjoy the project as a whole. Holler turned out to be an extremely viable product which has received a lot of good feedback from other CS students and students in general. I look forward to continuing to develop the app and adding it to my resume and potentially a portfolio. I do regret not exploring hybrid mobile app frameworks, such as Ionic or Apache Cordova. It would’ve been a good idea to learn something new. I also restricted myself by choosing to develop an iOS app in Xcode when I have a PC. Other than that, I really enjoyed working with my team and I learned a lot from them.
UX Design as a course was interesting. I didn’t know what to expect coming in, I was just hoping it wasn’t going to be a semester-long project where the CS majors did not get any input and just were coding the whole time. Thankfully, that was not the case and UX as a field has become an interest of mine. As I mentioned in class, I thought we spent too much time on the wallet design, but it taught me what to expect for the project. I had never gone through a design process (interview, sketching, prototype, and evaluation) before this semester, so it was good experience. I am currently in an HCI course, so I was able to compare the design process and content between the two courses. I was able to apply concepts I learned in HCI in UX and vice versa which was nice, but I wish I would’ve taken HCI before UX.