When I first signed up for the class, I thought that I would be working on creating UIs and conducting A/B tests. Needless to say, I was far off. What I had not expected was that we would be creating entire user experiences, and alongside ID students. Being a part of this UX class has broadened my perspective about what is necessary to collaborate and build a successful, user-centric product, not simply an interface or app. It has incited me to question every decision made, and to make user-informed decisions whenever possible. Further, it has pressed me to research and figure out whether a technological feat is possible, and to communicate the reasons to someone from a non-CS background. Our class discussions about using machine learning (ML) as a design material remains one of the most interesting discussions I had in the first half of the semester. I had always seen ML as an additional feature to a product rather than an integral functionality in creating user-adaptive devices and software. I wonder how that discussion might have changed in light of recent Facebook privacy issues. Overall, this class has ripened my entrepreneurial spirit due to its focus on entire products, and cross-disciplinary interactions, not just focusing on the software implementation side.
While in the end I never fully designed UIs, or conducted A/B tests on interfaces, I have witnessed myself grow in two valuable skills. First, working with new technologies has forced me to learn how to learn unfamiliar tech and concepts (and an estimation on how long it will take me), as well as troubleshooting my code which will inevitably never work the first time. Second, I have learned (more or less) how to go about building a concept into a product or future business, and who to recruit along the way. I definitely plan on putting these skills and knowledge to use in my future endeavors.