Today is the last day of exams, but that doesn’t mean it’s the last day of work. Katie and I attended AIGA of Raleigh’s Lunch and Learn Program, Homegrown – A Web Toolkit. It was a great experience accompanied by some great food at Sitti, a Mediterranean restaurant in Raleigh. Mindy Wagner a designer at Viget in Durham talked about web design process. Once again, I was reminded how important it is to have a process and a way to develop your ideas.
Mindy took us through Viget’s step-by-step design process. They first start with a kickoff meeting/presentation that includes the client and all of the different departments at Viget, including project managers, UX people, designers and developers. During this kickoff meeting, the client is given a survey or opposites spectrum quiz which helps Viget determine their brand personality.
With this information, the Viget design team can then develop mood boards to show the client. Mood boards lay out color palettes, typography choices, basically the overall feel to the website. They create at least three for their next presentation. Mood boards are a good way to start because they are informal and non-threatening to clients. Clients are usually able to pinpoint a style they like right away, or pick and choose from the three boards.
These first initial meetings and mood boards are a great way to get clients involved. They feel that they’re able to get their ideas heard and play a role in the design. It was helpful to hear about the preparations that come before the actual designing. Instead of just pulling something from thin air, this process allows the designer to get feedback as they are working so they can provide the best possible work and prevent a client from throwing design out.
To be continued…
While working hard in the classroom is super important and necessary, I think spending time outside of the classroom networking is equally as important. This semester, I have tried to make an effort to get out of my comfort zone and attend events networking-based. There were many nights I had a lot of school work and Raleigh seemed very far away, but after leaving the event with business cards in my pocket and new connections made, I was grateful I made the trek.
This past week, after the launch of Twin Stripe, the online magazine Katie and I worked on this semester, we attended the Merry Mingle, a Christmas-themed charity and networking event held at Spy in Raleigh. This networking event was really fun, just in the fact that we caught up with some folks that we met at the last networking event we attended in Raleigh. It was fun to already know some people there. We talked with a couple of past iMedia students that now work in Raleigh as well as a couple higher ups in design firms around the area. Talking with the people at these events has been extremely valuable. Next semester I hope to continue going to events and hopefully do some informational meetings with the people I’ve already met.
After learning how to create a basic website using HTML, CSS and jquery, the time had come to delve into PHP and CMS. I have to say my first experience with Drupal left a little to be desired. While it is a powerful tool, the interface is hard to understand.
For an assignment, I had to create a Drupal site, employ a new theme, change the theme using the CSS, add three modules, add more navigation items and setup at contact form. Doing all these tasks proved to be a challenge because the system is not intuitive. Adding modules and the contact form were the most difficult tasks. The contact form errors I got seemed to be some fluke and I only was able to make it work by uninstalling a theme I was using and then reinstalling it. The modules are the least intuitive. To make some of the modules work, other modules needed to be downloaded. If other modules are needed, then they should download with the original module. You can see how this easily becomes a mess!
While the exercise was frustrating, I am glad to have some experience with Drupal. CMS is the easiest way to set up a site for someone else that is in charge of the content later. I am looking forward to using WordPress on the fly-in to see how the systems compare.
Last week I went to Motorco in Durham to see Miss Representation, a documentary on women and girls in the media. It was really great time, including delicious food truck tacos and duck fat tater tots. The documentary, by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, is a powerful film that brings light to the issue that young girls are being taught that their value lies in their youth, beauty and sexuality. As a woman that’s grown up in this culture, it really struck me and made the think about how the media has affected my self worth. In addition to addressing a topical issue, I thought the documentary was really well done stylistically. There were many jaw-dropping statistics that were displayed through eye catching motion graphics and title screens. The whole documentary felt cohesive, which allowed the viewer to stay engaged in the storytelling. The Miss Representation campaign also has an informative and well designed website. They also employ the use of social media to spread the word.
The documentary and the large number of people that showed up gave me great inspiration for my capstone project. I hope to form a more concrete idea and talk with some local agencies over the Christmas break.
Here is the link to my interactive research paper, Professional Networking on Twitter. I hope to reflect on my project in another post a little later, but for now, iMedia finals week wins and it’s on to the next assignment.
Today in Professor Xu’s class we skyped with Sampada Marathe Joshi from GE Healthcare IT. She is a user experience researcher and gave us some insight on her role at GE and her day-to-day activities. She also gave us some insight on her the roles of designers at her company, which I was particularly interested in.
There are two different designer positions at GE – visual designer and interaction designer. Visual designers work on making things pretty but also, more importantly, ways to interpret data through design. Talked about GE’s healthcare software as an example. Doctors and nurses have to look at a lot of information at once. Visual designers’ challenge is to figure out a way to display that data that makes the most sense and is the most concise.
Interaction designers’ job is to design how to do the job. They focus on what icons to click on, how to navigate the system and how to do the job with the least amount of steps. Their job is to design the interface for the software GE creates.
The discussion with Sampada was really helpful and will definitely help me in my job search in the Spring.
Since we were talking about augmented reality this week, we were asked to either write a blog post about an augmented reality project or create our own demo. While writing is fun and everything, I chose to try the demo. I do have to admit I had a little help from JTR, but here’s a screen shot of my demo in action. Here’s a link to JTR’s site for the tutorial we used.