Module 1: Week 12: Personal Case Study Transcript

Introduction

Hello, I am Claire I am studying for a Masters in User Experience Design at Falmouth University. In this video I will be reflecting on my experiences studying the first module Development Practice.

I am here fundamentally, I enjoy being creative. I have a BA in art, and a career in project management working within technology.  The course it appealed to me because UX is an expansive subject and it combined creativity with technology and a route to industry. My goal is to enhance my technical and research skills and develop my portfolio to transition to a creative role in UX.

Critical Reflection

Each week I have aimed to create a blog post to reflect on my learnings. As an Agile practitioner, I knew that reflective practice was vital for learning and continuous improvement. As Belinda Waldock stated reflection “is an opportunity to celebrate success and review the impact of positive outcomes in bringing you closer to reaching your goals”. (Waldock, 2015)

It has taken me a while to get used to reflection in the academic context. I found reviewing Kolb’s model of experiential learning helped to provide me with a structure. The model ­­­­illustrated the process of reflection at an individual level, comprising of a cycle with 4 stages. (Kolb, 1984). Which simplified is experience, reflect, conceptualise, and apply.

I have found academic writing initially challenging. However, making the journal entries helped me to enga­­­­­ge with and absorbed the course content. Employing the reflective domains taxonomy further enhanced my reflections. Reviewing the Cognitive Domain highlighted how I learnt most successfully, as a dyslexic learner I found shorter articles and video content easier to consume. I enjoyed the research element of the writing and I have started to incorporate more academic literature by using the reading list and exploiting Google Scholar. 

I found the subject matter in Week 2, User Experience and Artificial Intelligence particularly engaging, learning about the different types of AI and how they are applied to enhance the user experience and understanding the limitations. Andrew Ng asserted “If a typical person can do a mental task with less than one second of thought, we can probably automate it using AI either now or in the near future.” (Ng, 2016)

I found week 8 Research captivating concerning the ethical implications of Facebook’s large scale Emotional Contagion study where participants were unaware of their participation. I was opposed to the study and I found evidence to support my position, but I challenged myself to read Tal Yarkoni’s post in Defence of Facebook for the opposing view and to find balance.

Rapid Ideation 

My favourite component of the course was participating in 2 rapid ideation sessions. This was a completely new experience for me. I was presented with words, and images to help inspire the creative process. I used the Mind mapping to capture ideas and then translated them into prototypes.

For the first rapid ideation, I created a prototype for an educational time management application. It would help users improve estimation and understand what factors influenced their time management.  I started out with low fidelity hand-drawn wireframes and then converted them to high fidelity in Figma.

For the second Rapid Ideation, I develop a prototype for an application that would calculate a user’s carbon footprint. I commenced the development independently, but I collaborated with a fellow student in the second week. The benefits of collaboration was that my colleague helped me to adjust my focus from functionality to Human-Centred design. I re-evaluated the app from the user’s perspective and simplified some of the interfaces. Mustafa Kurtuldu a Senior UX designer for Google highlighted that the User Interface should be simplified, and you should avoid passing on complexity to the user.

B Camburn et al. identified the most frequently cited prototyping objectives in other literature as Refinement, Communication, Exploration and Active Learning. I continually refined throughout the prototyping process and initially thought this was because my design was flawed. In retrospect, I realised that it was just not fully coherent at the early stage and prototyping is a crucial part of the design process. What I had envisioned would work in the abstract did not always work once translated to a physical design. I used exploration by trying new concepts or features. I engaged in active learning through both ideations and hope to take forward the techniques and technical skills I have developed into the next module.

One of my achievements was learning how to use Figma and Procreate. I accomplished this by following training courses, application tutorials and experimentation.

Future Goals

When considering my goals, I reflected on my reason for joining the course which was to become a User Experience Designer. I researched UX jobs online and look at publications to see what skills are required and I identified 3 categories, Technical skills, Analysis and critical thinking, and communication.

To improve my technical skills, I intend to learn the basics of CSS and HTML by completing training courses on LinkedIn Learning and GITHub.

To improve communication, planning to present to the cohort at least once per module.

I hope to learn more about analysis and critical thinking through the Research Module.

References:

Waldock, B., 2015. Being agile in business : discover faster, smarter, leaner ways to succeed at work. Harlow, England: Pearson.

Dennison, P., 2010. Reflective practice: The enduring influence of Kolb’s experiential learning theory. Compass: The Journal of Learning and Teaching at the University of Greenwich9(1), pp.23-28.

[Online]. Available at: study.cardiffmet.ac.uk/AcSkills/Documents/Guides/AS_Guide_Reflective_writing_Kolb.pdf (Accessed: 01 May 2021).

A. Ng, (2016). Andrew Ng: What AI Can and Cant Do [Online]. Available at: hbr.org/2016/11/what-artificial-intelligence-can-and-cant-do-right-now (Accessed: 01 May 2021).

A. T. Yarkoni, (2014). In defence of Facebook [Online]. [Citation Needed]. Available at: http://www.talyarkoni.org/blog/2014/06/28/in-defense-of-facebook/ (Accessed: 01 May 2021).

Talk: How Google Designs for Speed, with Senior UX Designer Mustafa Kurtuldu, at Awwwards Conference Amsterdam [Online]. Available at: http://www.awwwards.com/talk-how-google-designs-for-speed-with-senior-ux-designer-mustafa-kurtuldu-at-awwwards-conference-amsterdam.html (Accessed: 01 May 2021).

Camburn, B., Viswanathan, V., Linsey, J., Anderson, D., Jensen, D., Crawford, R., Otto, K. and Wood, K., 2017. Design prototyping methods: state of the art in strategies, techniques, and guidelines. Design Science3.

D. Nicastro, (2020). 14 Must-Have User Experience (UX) Design Skills [Online]. Available at: http://www.cmswire.com/customer-experience/13-must-have-user-experience-ux-design-skills/ (Accessed: 12 May 2021).

Andwers, A., 2021. [image] Available at: <https://www.pexels.com/photo/assorted-black-and-gray-cameras-1983038/&gt; [Accessed 10 May 2021].

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