Last week when we discussed crunch mode as a team and strategies, a few things came up. Collectively we all felt capable and in control of delivering our project work. However, I raised a concern about the blog posts as I have fallen behind. We decided as a team to split into two groups to peer review each other’s blog posts and to commit to posting additional posts for review. I have been revisiting my posts, but I am still struggling to finalise and publish them. I am finding it challenging to bring together the course content with teamwork. I might start to split the reflections to make them more manageable.
Interestingly Lundstrom and Baker conducted a study of students. Half the group gave feedback on anonymous written work from their cohort, the other half received feedback but did not give feedback. The study results showed that givers of the feedback made more gains in written proficiency than the receivers. (Lundstrom and Baker, 2009). I think this illustrates there is a benefit to our peer reviewing approach.
Another strategy we employed was to have paired working on tasks. Holmes conducted a study of paired working for university students teaching English as a second language and found that the students working together produced better work and had a more positive attitude than those working alone (Holmes, 2003). This approach has been great as we are working collaboratively, and it helps promote a supportive environment. However, I think sometimes it blurs boundaries regarding who is accountable for the delivery. Some of the tasks I am working on I do not feel a sense of ownership over.
I am concerned that we may be getting caught up in small details or trying to make artefacts perfect and placing these elements above the completion of the prototype. We may need to switch to a mentality of minimum lovable/viable product for some of our artefacts.
As part of the course content this week, I watched two videos. The first by the lecturer Phoebe Herring was reflecting on her time as a freelancer and the lessons she learnt. The second by Warwick New, a Falmouth Games Academy alumni, on the lessons he learnt during his time working on a start-up venture.
I found it very interesting that Herring argued that you should always value your work and talent and not work pro bono as you devalue yourself and your fellow designers. (Herring, n.d.). As someone new to the industry, I have thought about interning or working for free on projects to build my portfolio. Reflecting on what Herring said, when I am ready to seek new employment, I will adapt my approach to looking for paid opportunities.
I can relate to New’s experience. Our team is made up solely of UX Designers, so we do not have the skills and breadth of expertise to develop our prototype further without additional support. New talks about the high focus on features. I think initially, we may have spent too long thinking about the VR components of the platform and the associate products rather than core functionality.
When it comes to my future as a UX Practitioner, I had not considered working as a freelancer; however, in my career, I have worked as a contractor through my limited company, which has some similarities with freelancing. I think the benefit of freelancing for me would be flexible working hours; as the parent of a young child, I must get the work-life balance right. However, the lack of stability is more problematic when you have a dependant. I think it would be a great way to build my portfolio and have varied work and clients appeals to me. Working in a start-up appeals to me, but it would have to be a venture that I felt passionate about to keep me motivated.
The Logo came back to bite me.
Although the Brand Guidelines Matt and I created were relatively well-received, the Logo was something the team felt required further development. Gordon shared his industry experience in creating Branding and Logo. He taught me that it is not merely a visual representation (stage lights = live music), but it should embody the brand. I derived the name Transcendence through the research I conducted for the platform where individuals talked about feeling liberated and transcending themselves when listening to or reliving live music. We settled on a form that was not as constrained using metaballs as our reference point with a Mesh gradient that also reflected metamorphosis and fluidity.
It is not easy to hear that people do not like your design ideas, but the process of working on the final Logo as a team ultimately meant we had an improved Logo that is more on brand and unique in form.
My passionate reaction to the criticism has made me think about whether there is a better way to respond objectively to criticism. Hornsey states that there are three considerations when it comes to criticism. The firstly is what is motivate and agenda of the critic. Secondly was the timing of the critic pertinent, and thirdly does the critic support the long-term interests of the group. (Hornsey, 2005). When I next face criticism in a team or group context, I will refer back to these questions and respond positively and non-defensive way.
Lundstrom, K. and Baker, W., 2009. To give is better than to receive: The benefits of peer review to the reviewer’s own writing. Journal of second language writing, 18(1), pp.30-43.
Holmes, R., 2003. Collaborative projects: A study of paired work in a Malaysian university. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 40(3), pp.254-259.
Hornsey, M.J., 2005. Why being right is not enough: Predicting defensiveness in the face of group criticism. European review of social psychology, 16(1), pp.301-334.