Before this semester, I set myself goals concerning my personal development. These goals included visuals, photography, web design, meeting skills, and business. When it comes to visuals and photography, I have achieved my goals (see Creativity & Aesthetics) and I’m very satisfied with my development. For web design as well, I have made great progress. In my PDP, I mention that I want to create a website from scratch using html. I discovered the program Adobe Muse, which is a great tool. It basically gives you control over everything, from designing your own loading symbol to adding scroll effects. I spent a lot of time on this portfolio to create my own perfect website.
Project 1 was a great opportunity to improve my meeting skills (see section Professional skills). The competency Business & Entrepreneurship however, was more difficult to develop. Therefore, I have planned new activities in the future, to pay more attention to this expertise area.
Creativity & Aesthetics is about the look and feel of a product. Subjects that are related to this expertise area are layout, graphic design, visuals, but also idea generation and originality. When it comes to the expertise area Creativity & Aesthetics, I have undertaken quite some activities to improve this competency. At the beginning of the year, I attended the workshop “Adobe kickstarter”. I also went to a workshop Illustrator as part of the “Wervingsdagen” and I followed online courses on Adobe programs on the website “Easy123”. All of these activities gave me a huge boost in the development of my Adobe skills. In September 2016 I had never worked with Adobe programs before, and now I am quite an advanced user, especially in Illustrator.
My project has contributed to the development of this expertise area as well. I took care of the visuals of the logo, posters and business cards. Furthermore, I paid attention to the aesthetics of the prototype and I was responsible for the layout of this report. I noticed that I’m competent at taking care of the visuals. I’m quite fast already in working with Illustrator and I believe I’m talented at finding a good balanced composition and creating recognizable logos.
I attended a workshop “Photography”, which introduced the basic settings of a camera, such as exposure, aperture and shutter speed. I further developed my photography skills by watching tutorials and practicing. In project 1, I helped with creating the composition, light setting and I edited the photos afterwards.
Technology & Realization focuses more on the practical part of the product. How can an idea be realized and made into an actual working prototype or product. This expertise area is about programming and implementing electronics, sensors or other mechanisms.
During the first quartile, I followed the course “Creative Programming”. In this course, I was taught the basics of coding. I had never written a code or used a programming language before and the whole world of programming was completely new to me. I learned how to work with Processing and Arduino and this gave me the basics for creating interactive prototypes. The course Design for the Here and the Now in quartile 2 also included a lot of prototyping. This time more focused on wood/mdf. During this course, I learned how to use all the machines at Vertigo.
One of the courses that I followed in quartile 3 was Creative Electronics, which introduces the basics of electrical engineering, sensors, actuators and Arduino. Besides understanding the theoretical knowledge of electronics, this course also taught me practical skills for building circuits. This is essential for creating working prototypes or products. Nowadays, electronics are present in countless products and this has a huge impact on people’s everyday life and on our society. For me, especially doing the mini project (part of the Creative Electronics course) was an opportunity to implement electronics in an actual product. It taught me the benefit of electronics and the close relationship between electronics and the study Industrial Design. The freshly gained knowledge and skills that I learned, will be a huge advantage in my future courses and projects.
In project 1, our final prototype presents an end result where aesthetics and technology come together in the way we envisioned it. For this prototype, I did the programming and learned how to work with a proximity sensor and LED strip.
The expertise area User & Society is about the user experience, the societal context and involving users throughout the design process. During quartile 2 I followed a course that taught me a lot about this competency: User-Centered Design. The course is about designing a product or system while keeping in mind the user’s point of view. I learned that it’s very important to first get a clear image of your user, before actually starting on your design. There are several ways to gather information about the user: by doing a context of use analysis, conducting interviews and creating personas for example. Also, I’m now able to design for ease of use, by looking at things like efficiency, learnability and effectiveness. During this course, it was the first time for me to perform a user test. I found out a great deal about it. Not only did I learn about the set-up, performance and evaluation of a user test, I also learned about the practicalities, like giving a consent form.
The project contributed to the development of this expertise area as well. I learned that it’s very important to set a clear target group, which in our case were people with ADD, ADHD or autism. We conducted interviews, contacted experts, and did user tests.
This competency is about business models, market trends, competition analysis, economic and financial models and sales. Up to this point I have not had the chance to extensively develop this expertise area. In project 1, there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to improve this competency unfortunately. However, I was able to develop myself by looking at informative videos and filling in a business canvas for our concept (see report). This was the goal, which I set to myself in my PDP at the beginning of the semester. So, in the end I was still be able to achieve my goal.
When looking at the bar chart at the top of the page, it can be seen that this expertise area is falling behind. Therefore, I have activities planned to develop this competency further in the future.
Math, Data & Computing is about mathematics, data analytics, algorithms and computing. Calculus was one of the courses in my first quartile. This was a continuation and deepening of the secondary school mathematics. The course Creative Programming didn’t only allow me to build interactive prototypes, it also enabled me to analyse data or do mathematical operations in very short amount of time. I have already put this into practice in a project for the course From Idea to Design. We designed a product which detects your sitting posture and teaches users to sit in a healthy way. We implemented six pressure sensors in a chair and used Arduino programming to analyse the data for different sitting posture. In this way, we could set up the requirements for a good sitting posture and give feedback to the user accordingly. The modelling course in quartile 3 also contributed to the development of this expertise area. It was about identifying entities and defining the relations between these entities. I learned how to write correct mathematical equations for these relations. The course taught me how to deal with complex realities, transform them in a conceptual and formal model, do computations in “ACCEL”, and then translate the result back to the initial problem.
DESIGN RESEARCH PROCESS
The main contribution to the development of my design research process was Project 1. When I started this project, I already had some experience in completing the design cycle, but I had never worked on a single project for a full semester.
Looking back at our design and research process, I think there are some points of improvement. Firstly, in the beginning we got sort of stuck with our first idea. I learned that it’s important to keep an open mind, look beyond your initial design and explore varied possibilities. Luckily we managed to divert from the concept and we transformed it into a more abstract form. Secondly, I think we could have involved our users more throughout the entire design cycle. Right now, we only did some user testing at a very early stage of prototyping, to see and evaluate what structures and shapes are preferred. In the future, I would also like to do some user testing after the final prototype is finished. In this way, the user will experience the full experience as we intended it. Through this type of user testing we can get very useful feedback and solve flaws that might still be present.
When it comes to professional skills, I especially paid attention to meeting skills. In our project 1 group, A clear positive development can be seen during the semester. We started assigning minute makers and we set a specific goal and desired outcome before the meeting began.
My role within our design team was keeping the focus. As soon as we tended to deviate from the subject, I helped keeping us on track. Also, often I was the one who was the minute maker and took notes.
Furthermore, during the workshop “Pitching your Project”, I learned the importance of for example body language, the tone and the content of a pitch. I got to practice my pitch in front of a small audience and received some useful tips and tops.
Creativity & Aesthetics
Technology & Realization
User & Society
Business & Entrepreneurship
Math, Data & Computing