This is a design podcast. Our goal is to bridge the gap between the academic and professional worlds in Human-Computer Interaction Design (HCID). Our topics cover a wide variety of subjects including, but not limited to, subjects such as interactivity, business strategy, pedagogy, ethnography, methodology. We hope this is a medium practitioners and researchers may use to better understand their own selves.
We are a group of graduate students studying HCID at Indiana University: Jenn Hughes, Alex Clayton, Subhrajit Das, Nathan Bilancio, Tarun Gangwani, and Michael Hardy. We hope you enjoy our podcast as much as we enjoy making it. If you have any feedback or would like to collaborate with us on our show, please send us an email using the contact form below.
What have we learned so far?
The post mortem is an exercise that we complete after every project’s completion which allows us to take time to reflect on our progress. It’s an opportunity to look inward and think back to the experiences had during a project in an effort to be more successful on the next one. This podcast a post mortem for our team’s progress on completing our Master’s degrees. It’s a free-form, uncensored dialogue amongst the people who have brought you the views and perspectives you’ve heard so far. We believe that providing these insights would give a sense of the struggles and successes that we’ve had as a team.
As a production note, this podcast also signifies a transition with the Connect project, and you can expect to see a few changes with our productions moving forward. First, we are happy to report that a new batch of students from the Master’s program will continue this journey in our stead. Expect to see new voices and topics with each additional publication. In addition to a new podcasting team, we are also expanding the vision to include updates from alumni and industry professionals. These updates are on a purely volunteer basis and will vary in frequency. Like the podcast, the blogs are an experiment in reflection and synthesis that hope to provide an extension to the venue that already exists here.
Practice makes perfect.
Process, like design, is an iteratively understood term. Companies employ various design processes in order to meet the needs of their businesses, and some are more successful than others. Staying competitive while growing talent remains a challenge for companies, and many startups lean on experienced designers to help grow their vision. This results in selective entry level positions that expect new hires to sink or swim in a set process. What makes a student more successful being a great team player in a new environment?
To answer this question, we invited senior designers Ryan Devenish and David Royer from OPOWER to tell us about their process and how they use an intern program to help with projects, as well as mentor them in the company’s process. We also invited our own graphic designer and cohort member, Nathan Bilancio, to give his perspective as an UX intern with the company. He tell us about how the HCI program helped his ability to get a footing within the company and, in turn, how the company helped him become a better designer.
Connect is a podcast about finding our rope.
Completing a few design courses has provided us a basis of understanding design in practice, yet we still feel unprepared. Projects completed at school are often based on self-sufficient learning and lack actual collaboration across different groups of people, like developers or graphic artists. These project specifications are vague and ill-defined. This type of setup benefits the designer who wishes to join a creative agency, but not one who wants to work in a startup or larger professional environment.
From internship experiences and communicating with other professional designers, we have found that industry projects are well defined and constrained based on the needs of the business. They involve collaboration with many people, from project managers to business analysts. So, while school work provides the basis for work within an agency environment, it doesn’t seem to line up with the kinds of experiences that occur at other types of businesses.
Our first podcast is staged as a dialogue between two perspectives, professional and academic, on design. Christian Beck is a senior interaction designer at Aprimo, Inc. Colin Gray is a third year doctoral student at Indiana University. We discuss their day-to-day activities, what students should take away from a design program, what professionals seek from junior designers, and how prior experience speaks to both perspectives.
We’re just getting started with this discussion, and we hope that you enjoy following our journey.