Final Reflection

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.

End of Semester Reflection

Final Project thoughts:

I actually really enjoyed working on the final project for the most part.  Considering the amount of time that we had to work on it and the amount of things that we wanted to get done, it got a little stressful toward the end, but I believe everything worked out in the end.  I believe that my group worked very well together, as well.  We had disagreements like any other group, but I think we were able to work through those well.  I mentioned this in class, but I feel like this project would have gone over even better if the CS people had access to the software that ID students have.  I know this varies by project, but our personal project was definitely more ID heavy than CS heavy, which put a lot of weight onto the ID students.  Of course the CS students did their parts, but I feel like a lot of the pressure would have been taken off of the ID students if we had, had the option to use their software.


UX Class Experience:

To be completely honest, I did not know what to expect from this class.  I didn’t even know what it was when I signed up.  My adviser told me that I need a 3xxx class and suggested this one since she had good things about both professors.  Since I didn’t come in with any expectations, I can’t say that it did or didn’t meet my expectations.  I can say, however, that I thoroughly enjoyed this class.  I liked being able to actually work and do things with my hands, instead of coding all day long.   As I said in my above paragraph, my project was definitely more ID heavy, so I was able to do a bit more on the ID side than what some other students did.  This was also my first integrated course, and I found that I liked it a lot better than what I thought.  I was a little concerned about working with students from a different major.  I know that CS students have a particular way of working, and I was concerned that CS students’ way of working and ID students’ way of working would clash and cause problems, but I am very glad to say it didn’t turn out that way.

As other students said in class, I kind of wish that we had, had more time to work on the big project longer.  Other than that, I don’t really have any kind of constructive criticism.  I personally liked having the class one day week.  It did make travelling for weekends difficult, but that’s more of personal problem.  I really enjoyed this class and have recommended it to all students who are looking for a 3xxx class.

Class Reflection

The CS class has been an introduction into a new world of innovation. The part I feel I took away from the most was the amount of ways design has delved into new industries I haven’t even thought of. When people told me User Interface I was completely ignorant to what that actually meant. I know understand that it is ore than just designing screens for a phone or tablet. It truly means the whole experience of interacting with a product or service. When I apply that ideology with my design thinking it completes the whole journey of a product. Before I would think of products or services in fragments and I would try to piece together the experience which often made my user journeys feel cohesive or at times un-resolved.

Walking away from this class it has certainly sparked an interest in how we share information with each other and third parties. I was always aware that my information was never truly private which is why I was always careful what I put out on the internet. What I wasn’t aware of was how my information was being used and that I actually have more power to distribute the information i put out there than I think.

Overall I would say the class was very informative and insightful. It laid a foundation for successful steps to collaborate with people outside my industry.

Reflections–Andrew Walraven

1) Final Project Experience:  Our project certainly got off to a slow start, and we were probably a bit behind for most of the semester, but once we got on top of it, the results came out all right.  For me personally, working on this project really felt like working on a separate studio-level workload alongside my regular studio work.  It was a constant challenge to make sure deadlines were being met for both classes.  In the end, it was satisfying to see our project reach the point of a solid concept pitch, and now I have some new elements to add to my portfolio.

2) UX Class Experience:  Overall, it did not turn out the way I had anticipated.  My expectation was that this was going to be more of an instructional, skill-building course, where we learned how to work on the CS side of design (making apps, websites, programming, etc.)  Rather, it was a more abstract, concept-building course, focused on the “why?” not the “how?.”  It certainly was an interesting subject, and I enjoyed our discussions about AI, robotics, ethics of computer science and engineering, social science, etc.  After dipping my feet in a bit, I think that I don’t want to pursue UX design as a career path (instead, focus on product design), but I consider it valuable experience nonetheless.

Semester Final Reflection

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.

As for the final project itself, I had not expected the breadth of experiences I would gain. Again, I thought I would just be implementing designs alongside the ID students. Probably one of the most daunting aspects about our final project for me was collecting user feedback. Finding parents to talk to and initiating the interviews did always incite some nervousness, but every parent I talked expressed extreme interest in Grocery Hop, and even shared that they thought it might be worthwhile to see it further after the class is done. That feedback really invigorated me and made me want to seek out what other parents thought. An unexpectedly difficult part about the project was trying providing the ID students the information they needed to help me implement the app. Since I was unfamiliar with both the programming language JavaScript and the framework React Native prior to this class, I was learning everything on the fly. Thus, I needed to learn how to implement components (or at least approximations of them) rather quickly, or otherwise spend a long time figuring out how to get exactly what I wanted. For example, it took me about 6 hours to understand how animations worked within React… just for a 5-second loading screen. In addition to that, I would sometimes have to contradict what I previously said to the ID people, as I was learning the technology more intimately. For example, separating the clickable and interactive components of a screen from the background, rather than having a single screen with everything already on it. So, I was able to become more knowledgeable about UIs and mobile app development along the way.

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.