End of the Semester Reflection

As the semester comes to a close, I can say I explored topics I never really thought of exploring before taking this course. Although, this class was not exactly how I pictured it being, as I thought we would learn the in-depth skills necessary to develop user interfaces and user experience alongside computer science majors, but I do feel like did learn a lot from taking this course.

This was my first real interdisciplinary course with people from different backgrounds. I really enjoyed working with the computer science majors and learning how to communicate effectively and understand their world and terms. I do feel like I gained more confidence in how I am able to communicate with others of different educational backgrounds. Being able to work with computer science majors allowed me to understand a basic universal “language”. I do wish we had more opportunities to take part in these type of interdisciplinary courses, although I hope in the future these classes can be more fleshed out on the academic credit side.

I also quite enjoyed the brief discussions we had earlier on in the semester. Coming from mainly studio based courses, it was refreshing to have discussions on the same readings. However, I do feel like we spent too much time working on the wallet project, and as an ID major I understand why we did it. But I did not feel like I gained as much as the computer science people when doing the assignment, because the wallet project was a basic example of the ID ideation process; a process most CS people have not experienced. I wished we had a similar crash course into a process CS people do or maybe a lecture on how to “bridge the gap” when designing apps or coding websites, like a brief overview.

Working on the final project with my group, Holler, was actually awesome. It was one of the few group projects I feel like we were all on the same page for majority of the process. We got excited about agreeing and finalizing parts of our user experience and app, and were really able to encourage each other. I think our final presentation all came together extremely well mainly because we were all on our same page and weren’t afraid of clarifying things when we were confused.

I will say that I did not expect the amount of work we had to do for this course. I do feel it was hard to balance along side our studio work, since we were basically doing the same program and amount of work as a normal 6 credit course Studio lab. Since UX took away our Friday work times and added another project, it was hard to find a balance of either one and sometimes I felt I needed to choose one over the other with each week. I think we should offer UX as a course by itself, not apart of Studio. That way, it doesn’t detract from Studio.

Overall, I really enjoyed the class and the almost casual atmosphere we fostered when it came to learning. If it was offered again, but with tweaks and promise of learning more in-depth UX/UI design, I would definitely consider taking this course again, or maybe just sitting in on the lectures about UX/UI design!


Readings #2

Intelligence on Tap, by Lars Erik Holmquist

In this article, Holmquist clearly explains how artificial intelligence works while referencing how an AI beat the world’s best Go player. He explained how the AI learned from playing the game against others and ultimately himself, learning different tactics and such. I find that AI are able to learn from interacting with others the most interesting aspect of this subject. I remember in Freshman year, I researched and wrote an essay about the AI named Tay. Tay was an AI given an account Twitter and she was able to learn from interacting with other Twitter. What started off as an innocent and fun idea, turned sour really fast as Tay was turned into an AI that started tweeting racist and horrible slurs against others… all because she learned from the “trolls” of the internet. It is incredibly exciting to able to begin looking at AI as a design material and see what sort of advancements and new products/objects/systems can be developed, however it doesn’t hurt to be wary of how society can influence a machine that is trying to pick up some human behaviors.

UX Design Innovation

As I read through UX Design Innovation, I could completely relate to the research done with surveying UX designers, as some stated they felt that machine learning was near “black magic.” I personally have never done much digging about how machine learning could be utilized further as a design tool, or would require designers. Any research I have done as been on my free time and I never took the information I learned further than what was stated in any articles or videos. However, after reading this paper, there’s a lot more potential and need for designers to step in and design along side engineers machine learning objects. But there is much needed compromise on both parties to try and communicate findings and how even prototyping would function on this topic.

Machine Learning Culture

I have never really thought about it, but I have experienced machines learning culture in relation to art quite a few times in the past few years. Being from northern Virginia, I have always made numerous trips to Washington D.C. to explore the city and the museums it has to offer. As I read through the Body Tracking and Provocative Art Installations portion of this paper, I realized that I have constantly experienced machine learning in the D.C. museums I explored in these past years, and never made the connection. I can think of two museums that would display collections that would contain some form or aspects of machine learning: ARTechouse and the Hirshhorn. Both museums brings in modern and contemporary collections from all over the place,  and although I cannot specifically remember a display (I’m sure it’ll come to me soon enough), it’s amazing I have never thought about how machine learning is even integrated into museums I love exploring.

Wallet Prototypes – Sarah Tram

Last Friday, after interviewing two classmates about their ideal wallets, a few key points stuck out to me. I kept these important key points listed below when prototyping a mesh of my interviewees’ ideal wallets.

  • Must have a clear pocket for easy access to photo ID and/or Hokie passport (mainly for riding the bus)
  • Needs to be as compact as possible, and not too big.
  • Needs around 3 to 5 slots for cards, a maybe a small space for a few bills, as cash is sometimes carried around.

With these main focal points in mind, I began designing and exploring options.


Option #1:

Both interviewees spoke about how they always have their phone and wallet on them all the time, whether it be placed in their jean pockets or purse. However, one interviewee said they generally like their phones to be as slim as possible, and because of that, doesn’t necessarily like phone wallets.

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The idea behind prototype #1 is to have both the phone and wallet connected, in a more elegant manner than just having an adhesive back to hold cards. The wallet is magnetically attached to the back of the phone/phone case and can be removed easily, and flips open to reveal 5 card slots and a small back pocket to reveal a slot of folded up bills. The flap wallet is held together with a small magnetic latch in on the side. The front of the wallet offers a protective plastic to display Hokie passports and/or ID’s. The front plastic wallet is able to store two cards, specifically meant to store both important ID’s.

Option #2

Here in this prototype, I explored the option of combing just the wallet and keys, as one interviewee spoke about how important it was to have her keys and have it be detachable.











This prototype has slots for 5 different cards and on the front features another clear plastic slot for two ID’s (hokie passport and ID). On the right side of the card holder/wallet is a spring loaded switch, which when pressed displays a certain card placed in that slot (similar to how it is show in the first photo). Right below the switch is a detachable key chain holder piece, where keys can be attached to and easily reached. On the back is a small pocket for any small bills the user may have.

Option #3

This option explores having the most versatility as a wallet by itself, while out having a phone or key attached.

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In this prototype, the Hokie P and ID is displayed on the front of the wallet with a plastic covering for clear and easy view. The wallet itself folds out to display a three tri-fold wallet layout. The first layers are inserted with 4 card slots. The last layer is a slot folded small bills. The last layer/fold can be detattached to provide a more customizable experience for the users, in case they just need certain parts of their wallet but do not want to carry around such a large wallet. The size and an easily compact wallet was the main focus of this last prototype.

Week #1 Readings

The Engineering Experience

In Phobe Sengers’ “The Engineering Experience,” she made the argument that designing a system extended further than the typical “engineering model” but combines an interdisciplinary approach to technology with design, philosophy, and culture. She spoke a lot about how “fun” and “work” are such separate things that work. That we, as humans, have done so well at maximizing our actions that we come “mindless” while working, branding it as “taylorism”. I do agree that sometimes work can become mindless that you could do it in your sleep. I feel it is our responsibility as creators to consider the human aspect/touch to the systems, experience, and physical items we create. I agree with Sengers’ final thought about how systems should focus on the users’ ability to “engage in complex interpretation using a vast amount of cultural background knowledge” and their reactions, as it would create a more cohesive experience for the product created and more successful system overall.

Making Sense of Experience

The 2nd article went about trying to break down what creates an experience and what an experience is. However, the framework and threads of experience makes the topic quite confusing overall to read and try and understand. The method of dissecting what creates an experience leads to the conclusion that designers are unable to create an experience but we are able to design for an experience. I definitely do agree that we could never create an experience for our users, as users are the missing piece to every experience we design, and there the users are able to interact and explore the potential the in the scenario. It is important to understand some of the framework presented by the authors, however it is always a more free flowing and fluctuating variables.