Image credit: Marc-Olivier Jodoin
Sunday 18th October.
Today I started the digital wireframe for my concept. To add another tier of challenge I decided not to use my usual platforms of Adobe XD or Marvel. Instead I tried Axure.
Despite the keybindings being different at times and the menus being structured differently, I was able to find my way around. With that being said, the app did crash a few times and, frustratingly, I lost some work.
That unreliability made me abondon Axure for Sketch. Again, I had to fumble around with unfamiliar menus. But other than that, I could still work relatively unrestricted. It’s nice to know that my conceptual model of UX design tools translates across products.
Wednesday 21st October.
Over the last few days I’ve been slogging away at the prototype. The phased approach at the ideation phase of my project seems to have blurred into ‘now just make the prototype’. I lost a few hours on monday evening to playing around with a design that was too high-fidelity for a wireframe – I was focused on form rather than function.
I can put that derailment down to a lack of organisation. I could have kept my work time more directed (losing fewer hours) by breaking my process into timeboxed phases.
In future, I’ll need to be mindful of inadvertant procrastination. At the time, it felt like I was being productive. I was using my intended software, and I was creating a design for my concept. In reality, I was trying to create a polished design for a piece of software before I had considered the user journey. Working out of order.
Thursday 22nd October.
After last night’s reflection, I broke my outstanding work down into subtasks and added them to my post-it kanban.
Most immediately, I’m going to focus on the artboards for the app’s core user journey. Following that, I’ll add in artboards for supplementary functionality, so the prototype is more than just a linear walkthrough. After that, I’ll worry about connecting the artboards – and figure out how to do that in Sketch.
If there’s any time in the jam after that, I’ll consider colour schemes to make my wireframe aesthetically pleasing.
These new tasks on my kanban have given my a renewed sense of motivation. Taking the time to set some milestones has made the project seem more possible within the time constraint.
Saturday 24th October.
Progress over the last few days has been steady.
I’ve started to connect the artboards – Sketch answers XD’s ‘Prototype’ tab with ‘hotspots’. In the grand scheme, the two approaches don’t differ all that much. In this project, where the points of interaction for the wireframe are GPS pins on a map (instead of a specific button or ui component) hotspots seem to be more convenient.
With that being said, this is my first Sketch project. It’s probably too soon to pass any real judgement on software.
Weekly content reflection
This week’s content introduced me to three new perspectives for when reflection can be applied. To quote directly from the content: “Reflection can be employed on-action for past experiences, in-action for the present and for-action in the future“.
Reflect on-action – What critical incidents led you to enroll on the course?
One of my biggest motivations for enrolling at Falmouth was being unsatisfied with the creative opportunities I had at work.
Most of my design jobs came in the form of revamps to single web pages, or social media posts. I would knock out a design task by myself in a few hours, then move onto something else. Nothing to get my teeth into.
In the role before that, I was heavily involved with a long-term project as a support advisor and QA tester. That was a more meaty job, but it didn’t allow me any creative freedom.
My end-goal for this course is to secure a career combining the perks of the two roles. Creative work where I can immerse myself in evolving problems, and deliver bleeding-edge solutions alongside a development team.
Reflect in-action – What critical incidents, if any, are you experiencing?
Right now, I’m unemployed. On one hand, that does give me more time to commit to the course. On the other, it comes with a few sleepless nights – I can’t support my family on my savings forever.
Now, more than ever, I need to apply every learning I take away from the course. If I want to be employable for a design position, I need to demonstrate every skill that I have, and I need to regularly evaluate my job hunt strategy. My portfolio needs to continously expand, my CV needs to be iterated on, and I need to ruthlessly chase feedback.
Reflect for-action – How are the first two points shaping your outlook for the future?
My on-action reflection has helped me understand where my career path should lead for me to be satisfied in my day-to-day.
My in-action reflection pushes me away from complacency. I need to be proactive in my studies and I need to be proactive professionally if I want to move forward.
I was also introduced to the concept of SMART goals as a means of effectively setting personalised and specific objectives. (Bovend’Eerdt, Botell, & Wade, 2009). In a separate article Wade, 2009, put forward that writing SMART goals is time consuming and difficult, and suggested that more research is needed on the cost-effectiveness on the activity.
In Wade’s context of clinical and occupational therapy, I subscribe to the notion that the SMART goal evaluation method may consume too much time to be a valuable exercise. I also question whether the method is valuable in the context of a creative workplace.
With that being said, while I am studying I don’t consider the exercise to be excessively time-consuming. I think any time spent writing SMART goals whilst in education, is time spent capitalising on one’s placement on the course. So, as an exercise in reflection, here are my pledges from my week 1 post:
- I will have started to compile a more varied portfolio, with work of all fidelities. Accompanying the portfolio, I’ll offer commentary on my own approach to wireframing, and deep-dives on polished UX concepts.
- I will have worked collaboratively with other designers and developers. I’ll deliver my share of a team project, with focus on communication and whole-team agility.
- I will harness my creativity to consistently produce new and appropriate ideas. I’ll have the confidence to unlatch from my own ideas and avoid tunnel vision.
- I will enhance my industry work with academia. I will be critical of literature, and reflective of my own production. I’ll have acquired new research skills and become more academic in my writing.
And here are those pledges, reframed as SMART Goals:
- I will compile a portfolio of built products, high-fidelity designs, and wireframes. This portfolio will consist of design work from my previous roles and from the exercises within this module. This will make my applications to creative roles more attractive to employers and help me move into a career in UX/UI. To be reviewed at the end of this module.
- I will collaborate with a coursemate on one rapid ideation exercise. I will do this by reaching out to my coursemates directly before the second rapid ideation activity, via email, LinkedIn or Discord. This will give me an opportunity to practise communication around a project and contribute to a team effort. To be reviewed after RI2.
- I will apply at least one ideation method before each RI activity to help process the challenges’ themes into workable software concepts. This will vary my perspectives whilst ideating so I do not become reliant on a single perspective for a valuable concept or solution. To be reviewed after RI2.
- I will enage with, and be critical of, at least one piece of scholarly literature every week. The literature I engage with will be in addition to any readings or bibliographies included in that week’s content. This will help me be more insightful in my reflections and engage in deliberate practice. To be reviewed at the end of this module.
BOVEND’EERDT, T. J., BOTELL, R. E. and WADE, D. 2009. ‘Writing SMART rehabilitation goals and achieving goal attainment scaling: A practical guide’. Clinical Rehabilitation, 23, 352– 361.
WADE, D. 2009. ‘Goal setting in rehabilitation: An overview of what, why, how?’. Clinical Rehabilitation, 23, 291– 295.