Les grandes pensées viennent du coeur.
I had a love-hate relationship taking IAT 333 aka Interactive Design Methods last term but I’m glad I ended the course on a good note. Things started out kind of rocky as I was immediately pressured into picking a suitable participant group to work with for thirteen consecutive weeks. How were we supposed to determine what was appropriate or not without a sense of direction towards where we were heading? If that wasn’t stressful enough, no doubt the biggest struggle for my teammate & I was deciding on a design focus – it would be too broad for one, then too specific the next – all our passion put into imagining a sensible design focus soon became ‘what design focus would our prof & TA approve of?’ Four weeks in – still clueless, still unable to solidify a satisfactory focus for our participant group, still stuck in the learning process. Our prof constantly reminded us to just go along with the methods and our workflow will come together during the early stages of this course, but I honestly had no idea what he was on about and often felt myself losing direction.
One aspect that especially helped my organizational skills was the structure and strict deadlines that really trained our time management skills. Each week demanded a fresh presentation weighing 10%, practicing different interactive design methods that were unfamiliar to most of us – such as cultural probes, informances, personas, and participatory workshops. It was enjoyable in the sense that I was challenged with graphic related exercises to stimulate my creativity flow again, but often felt discouraged when the marks I obtained did not reflect all the time and effort I spent on the assignments. I was criticized for my lacking sense of finish – which I agree, but I completed each assignment to the best of my ability considering my other commitments. Both the prof & TA paid (extra) attention to detail and were straight forward about their criticism so make sure you hand in something you’re proud of after proofing it a gazillion times (no, seriously ….. CHECK your work and you better be able to explain your design choices).
The main difference between this course and the IAT courses I have taken in the past (and the element that I enjoyed the most) was that we actually got to work and communicate with a local participant group. In this case, we were involved with the Real Basketball League (RBL) of Vancouver. We followed several design processes to gain a sense of their dynamic environment. After receiving input from the commissioner, coaches, and players, it was then our job to filter out unnecessary information and translate our knowledge into an innovative concept that would solve previously discovered issues.
In the end, we were down to two notions. First, we assessed creating a digital application that would be compatible with the typical technological gadgets of this generation. Second, we wanted to create a real hands-on workbook for the young basketball participants to further engage their membership in RBL. Although my partner & I felt pressured into developing the app just for the marks and for the sake of being a SIAT student, we took a risk and ended up physically creating a prototype of our manual workbook because we knew that it would be a more suitable solution for RBL in terms of their context (and they liked this one more!)
Though the course was challenging, given an opportunity to show off our final concept was actually pretty cool. On top of that, the prof & TA came by to praised us for our finished product and recognized that we’ve come a long way ….. so all our effort was worth it in the end