I think there are two necessary components to properly develop an idea. One component is building the legitimacy of an idea by adhering to the scientific method and proper research practices, and the other component is expressing and presenting the idea in a manner that others can understand. As a CS major used to the rigor of algorithms, efficiency, and heavy mathematics, I came into UX with a strong background in building the legitimacy of an idea; however, my skills in expressing and presenting an idea were quite underdeveloped.

By participating in this UX course, I was able to improve my ability to express and present an idea. What fascinates me the most is how seamlessly the entire learning experience was orchestrated. By providing a semester long, team project, I was provided the opportunity to learn by doing. Not only did I learn new ways of thinking (user journey, storyboarding, card sorting), but I was also introduced to new digital design tools such as Adobe Indesign and AutoDesk Fusion to help my ideas really pop. Overall, participating in this course was invaluable, and I leave with an expanded awareness and imagination.


A comment on “Artificial Intelligence as a New Design Material”

After reading Holmquist’s cover story, here is what I envisioned for AI as a new design material:

Imagine a graphic designer opening his or her virtual workspace (some suite of software tools). When picking a particular color for a design, (s)he immediately sees real-time statistics from a backend AI solution. This AI solution is parsing data from all over the world to provide information such as the popularity of this color amongst customers, examples of how this color has been used by other designers, and even suggestions for making the overall design better. When the designer is fatigued or hits a “designer’s block,” the AI solution can even provide a versatile set of building blocks (designs and colors) to get the designer started. When the designer is inspired and doesn’t need any help, the AI solution can be de-activated quickly without hassle. In its entirety, using this AI solution would be as natural as visit a website on the internet today.

Overall, this reading covers a lot of important points in a few short pages. The first important point is that Tech giants have accumulated tremendous amounts of digital data, and these data repositories continue to grow. The second important point is that in the near future AI will transform into a digital service that is commonplace, easy to understand, and ingrained in our daily lives. The third important point which I interpret more as a warning is that the decisions made by AI are difficult to understand because it is a “black box” technology that evolves in real-time.

In terms of Design Thinking, how do these three important points connect? Simply put, AI will completely transform how designers work. Whether this transformation is good or bad depends entirely on the rules we create as a society for the use of AI.

Milan Bhatia

Thoughts on “The Engineering of Experience”

I found it interesting how “The Engineering of Experience” reflects on the adoption of Taylorism in Western culture. As a Computer Scientist, I have always focused on the benefits of efficiency and optimization, but never did I take a moment to consider its negative influence and impact on human experience. Fundamentally, I think it all comes down to the fact that as a society, there is a complex cycle of supply and demand that needs to be fulfilled. Noting this, I believe Taylorism emerged with good intentions as an approach to solve a problem; however, at the time of its invention, as a society, we did not have enough insight to predict its future implications.

From a Systems and HCI point of view, I think The Engineering of Experience touches on something absolutely spectacular: “Instead of representing complexity, bootstrap off it. Humans will naturally respond to stimulus with a complex behavior (from the perspective of a computer); therefore, if a system can feed off the complexity of human behavior, then the internal model of the system itself doesn’t have to be that complicated to create an immersive experience.

-Milan Bhatia

Maya & Milan’s Wallet Project

On January 19th, we interviewed two of our classmates’ to learn about the features and designs they wished to see in their wallets. Here are some of the key points from the interview:

  • Often, we only need to carry the essentials (Driver’s License, Credit cards, Hokie Passport). Noting this, it would be convenient to have a wallet that is minimal, compact, and quickly accessible, but secure.
  • Phone-case wallets already exist, but it would be convenient to have a wallet that can quickly attach and detach from the phone. We aren’t talking about those crappy, rubbery things to stick to the back of your phone. We are talking about something more elegant, versatile, and multifaceted.
  • It would be nice to see a wallet that has a Find My Wallet feature. This feature would be beneficial in finding a lost wallet in close proximity (such as losing one’s wallet at home), or somewhere more remote (dropping one’s wallet at a bar).

The key points described above initiated our design and prototyping process. We began this process on January 21st.

Here are some details about Design 1:

We wanted to design something that serves as a wallet and phone case. Rather than having a phone case that has the ability to hold a few essentials, we wanted to design a multi-faceted wallet that has the ability to serve as a phone case.

  • To quickly access essentials (Driver’s license, Hokie Passport, Credit cards), a compact attachment with a few slots is provided. This unit can either be carried alone, or attached to the dorsal or interior part of the wallet.
  • The interior of the wallet contains two regions.
    • On one side, the attachment described in the first bullet point can be attached. A slot has also been built into this side to store bills.
    • On the other side, a magnetic base is provided to hold a cell phone. Behind the magnetic base, between the interior and dorsal part of the wallet, a zipper has been provided to store coins and other small items.
  • Overall, this design provides the user with an opportunity to customize the wallet as they desire. The customizations allow the wallet to be very compact (serving the need of carrying just a few items), but can also be made to serve the needs of a traditional wallet with the added feature of carrying a phone.


Here are some details about Design 2:

  • Design 1 tries to embrace the idea of a minimal, compact, quickly accessible, and secure wallet. The wallet’s size is comparable to a standard credit card with just enough space to slide in 3-4 cards. It is not built to hold cash.
  • In order to keep the items within the wallet safe, a button on the wallet must be firmly pressed. This will eject the key items in the wallet. To reset the button, the cards are simply slid back in.

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 11.23.15 PM

  • Have you ever heard of tile? Tile is a handy little attachment that helps keep track of keys, bags, and other important items using your phone, bluetooth, and the Internet. In this wallet design, we extend a similar technology, so you can find your lost wallet.

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 11.23.32 PM


Here are some details about Design 3:

  • Often, when several items are being carried in one’s pockets, it is inconvenient pulling items out and putting them back in. Constantly reaching into pockets also introduces the risk of accidentally removing/dropping an arbitrary item that was not being reached for by the user. This design attempts to make the wallet more convenient and accessible, but harder to lose.
  • This wallet wraps around one’s wrist. It provides a convenient way of accessing essential items (Driver’s license, Hokie Passport, Credit cards) while also providing a slot for storing cash.
  • To prevent the cards from bending, cards are stored in the center of the wallet aligning with the top of the wrist.


Prototype for Design 3: