A retrospective into semester 2 of being at a design school

My classes were held online from February due to pandemic. Few international students had left for home. However, the online classes didn’t affect the studies. We were using the software provided by my college for lectures. For discussion, we had breakout rooms where we would collaborate. I haven’t worked remotely so it was really awesome to collaborate this way.

This was what happened when students in my class realized that they can make shapes in the software.

A screenshot showing students in the class playing tic-tac-toe
Students in my class when they realized they can make shapes

The module I was taught this semester was User Interaction Design, Social Media Application, and Design Principles & UX.

Key Takeaways:

1. For my Social Media Application module, we had to develop a hybrid mobile app using Ionic. I would have loved to work on React Native. React Native is used by 42% of the engineers working on hybrid apps. I have a background in Computer Science and it was really upsetting to me to work on Ionic.

One good thing is I brushed up my coding skills. It reminded me of days when I had to google a lot looking for solutions.

2. User Interaction Design module was a mix of both UX and UI. The lecture was nothing extraordinary than the stuff which you will find on the Internet. It was more about collaboration. Working in a team. I remember coming up with an over the top idea to a simple problem while my teammates had a very simple solution. I was always coming up with complex ideas. But that is the beauty of collaboration, you build on each other’s ideas and no ideas are wrong.

If you want to know what excited the whole class, it was paper prototyping. I remember students pouring their soul in paper prototyping. It was like who has the best looking paper prototype. It was really fundamentally upsetting to see this.

An image of Paper prototyping done in class
An image of Paper prototyping done in class
Paper prototyping done in class

3. Design Principle and UX module put emphasis on Research and Testing. I think it is really good where designers are explicitly told to put emphasis on these 2 phases rather than the visuals. The course was more practical compared to any module taught in the last 2 semesters.

One thing I found lacking was that there was not much emphasis put on outcomes. I found people working on an idea coming up with the best solution without taking into account other factors like risk, priority, budget, assumptions, constraints, business. As a result, there were no real outcomes for the design which they were producing.

In retrospect, there were good collaborations to generate ideas. Emphasis was put on Research and Testing. We are currently working on Major Project and the college will open again in September but the classes will be help online.

Product Designer with an experimental mindset

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