Past development | introduction

In the last 3 years I have participated in lots of courses, basic courses as major Industrial Design courses and electives; finished 3 half-year-projects, 2 design projects and one design research project; done an internship of 4 months and was involved in extracurricular activities. This has all led to an overall growth as designer, development within specific areas of expertise and professional skills. This development was the perfect preparation for my final bachelor project.

User & Society | past development

This is the competency I developed in mostly due to the interest I have gained in it, specifically through my half-year-projects. Because of these projects (P1D,P2D and P3DR) I learned to empathize with the user and to involve the user through in the field research. From this I learned to research target group up front; making personas and empathy maps. Furthermore by doing so much in the field research I have gained skills into preparing participatory sessions; executing them; preparing back-up plans; creating empathy with the participants through tailored communication and got acquainted with various user study methods. Moreover, I followed the courses User Centered Design and Design Research. In the first one I learned to test my designs in collaboration with the user iteratively and to translate these insights into new design possibilities. In the latter one I learned how to do user studies in research through design projects and applying various methods as qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research. Within my internship at Studio Tast, Eindhoven, I had the opportunity to put my learned skills into practice during 2 user tests. From this I learned the importance of preparation, making firm protocols, informing the participants and setting goals for the intended outcomes.

Math, Data & Computing | past development

For me this competency is closely linked to user & society and therefore I created big interest into this one and thoroughly developed it mainly through analysis of user studies and user tests within my half-year-projects. From this I learned how to analyze big qualitative data sets obtained from user tests and studies; transcribing voice recordings; putting those into codes and themes to gain insights. Within my internship I mainly learned how to quickly turn these insights obtained from user tests into new design opportunities. Moreover, through the course Design Research and Project 3 - design research I learned how to take ethics into account when involving users and stakeholders into the process. This by means of consent forms and anonymously reporting study data into reports. Furthermore, I followed the course Making Sense of Sensors in which I learned to deal with huge quantitative data sets and turning these data into understandable graphs and conclusions, using Excel.

Additionally, for a course within the use learning line Marketing and New Product Development I learned how to process big quantitative data sets through programming with Rstudio. Finally, in the first year of my Bachelor’s I refreshed my maths skills during the base course Calculus.

Creativity & Aesthetics| past development

Creativity & aesthetics was one of the competencies I always enjoyed applying into projects. However when starting Industrial Design I knew I was creative but did not know how to get the best out of my creativity. Therefore I have chosen almost all my electives within this area of expertise. Through the major course From Idea To Design I learned to get acquainted with various idea generation methods as brainstorming, acting out, sketching and using the book Thinker Toys by Michael Michalko. To further explore techniques for idea generation I followed the course Exploratory Sketching where I learned to quickly sketch ideas and properly visualize them for communication. Furthermore I created huge interest into experience design by following the course Tactile Experience. Through this course I learned to design for a specific experience by material gathering, combining, evaluation and 3d printing which was a whole new dimension for me in design. This course opened my eyes and therefore I applied the focus on designing for experience in almost all my half-year-projects. Moreover, by means of the course Aesthetics of Interaction and my elective Tangible and Embodied Interaction I learned aesthetics is not only in form or idea generation but also in interaction. I have always had a preference for designing with tangibility, and therefore my choice for Tangible and Embodied Interaction. In this course I learned how to take the strenghts of tangible interaction into account when designing interactive products and discovered its importance in creating an experience.
When doing my internship at Studio Tast, I focused on the concept design of the redesign of one of their existing products. In this project and internship I learned to quickly iterate through experience prototyping (low-fidelity); improved my graphical skills by making a corporate identity and explored how to design for intuitive interaction through formgiving, coloring and materials. Moreover, I learned to do some product rendering with SolidWorks. 

Business & Entrepreneurship | past development

I have always had an interest within marketing, how to implement a product into the market and what is needed for that. Therefore I have followed the use learning line Marketing and New Product Development. In this way I developed this competency quite far. I learned about marketing strategies, defining value propositions, customer segments and targeting strategies. Furthermore in the last course of this learning line I even applied all knowledge through running a business with a specific product line with a team during a marketing game for the duration of a quartile. Since I believe marketing and strategy are important components when focusing on experience design I had set the development of these skills as one of the goals within my internship. Therefore I learned to make a customer experience journey to discover innovation points in the design when it came to implementation of the product (Goed Wijzer) into the market of primary schools. Moreover, I made financial models for the production and purchase of all needed materials of the new concept I made.

Technology & Realization | past development

Technology & realization feels for me as my least developed competency area. When starting at university I had a well developed base of maths (B&D) and physics from secondary school. In order to deepen this base of technology knowledge I have followed the basic course Applied Physics. In this course I learned to apply physics to everyday phenomena and a way of analyzing and solving complex problems. The courses I learned most about realizing technology were Creative Programming and Creative Electronics. From these I learned to program with Arduino, Processing and build, measure on and calculate on electronic circuits. However in projects I did not often apply this knowledge, only in project 1 design in which I took responsibility for programming the light and corresponding sensors for the Social Light concept. Furthermore in the course Engineering Design I was able to set a first base on the programming and wiring of electronic components of my team’s robot.
During my internship I finally learned to make lasercut drawings and therefore made lots of prototypes using lasercutting techniques. Moreover, I learned to make specific construction drawings for interior objects I had to make for the renovation of Studio Tast’s meeting room, improving my technical insight. Since I wanted to be able to communicate with team members about 3d printing as rapid prototyping option I gained a base knowledge during a 3d modelling workshop and through my internship. 

Design Research Processes | past development

The design (research) process has always captivated me, starting with the first learnings about iterative processes during the course From Idea To Design, involving users during the User Centered Design course and applying research through design during the Design Research course. During my half-year-projects I learned to apply the idea of iterating, learning processes differ so much from project to project depending on scope, target group, aim etcetera. Within these team projects I learned to collaboratively set goals, project focus and participatory approaches. However within my internship I learned most about dealing with a design process, while going through it on my own for the first time. This internship learned me the importance of switching continuously between helicopter view (overview of process, deliverables and goals) to first person perspective (in-depth, detailed, task focused work). Moreover, I learned to set clear goals and deliverables for myself and in collaboration with a client (internship company) and the power of reflecting upon the design (research) process. What really helped me to define the process of my projects within my internship was the tool, Groow, they had developed at Studio Tast to make all process steps tangible.

Professional skills | past development

Communication & Cooperating

Within communication and cooperating I have learned a lot through being Commissioner of External Affairs within the ID Career Committee in my second year. I have organized an Internship dinner, studio visits and even had to cancel events through firm communication and collaboration between committee members. I learned to convince companies to participate and to inform them about events through different communication channels. Furthermore through all the group projects within courses, multi-disciplinary projects and major projects I learned to deal with strengths and weaknesses of different group members and apply them within tasks. Moreover, during client work, expert feedback sessions and my internship project I learned to professionally communicate. To have responsibility, share clear expectations and informing the team. 

Organizing & Planning

Within this professional skill I learned most during my internship while planning and organizing three individual projects next to each other, all with strict deadlines. I learned how to balance solving problems on my own and when to ask for help. Furthermore I learned to reflect continuously upon my processes, communicate tasks to the team and adapting planning when needed. Moreover, I learned a lot about organizing & planning during my committee work within ID Career. As mentioned above I have arranged all the companies participating within these activities, planned the communication with them and managed deadline stress. Through what I also really developed within this professional skill is planning user evaluations for half-year-projects, planning expert meetings and dividing teamwork in tasks according to learning goals and capabilities.

Reflecting

As already mentioned a couple of times above is that during my internships I really learned to reflect upon my process. Before this I already had lots of experience with reflecting due to course and project reflections. In previous team projects I always reflected only in the end on what I had achieved and what I had learned but not so much on the process we had gone through. However I know believe when being a proactive, confident and responsible designer this is a very important skill to have. I learned to reflect upon process steps, overall process and focus within, deliverables, my professional attitude and my role within teamwork. Out of that I learned the value of reflecting for defining further professional and personal development.

Presenting

Within presenting I mostly learned about verbal convincing styles; how to use different media to present and get your story across; how to make my presentations visually attractive and how to tailor my story to specific audiences. This all through pitching workshops (one for professional skills, one at the studio silver squad), demo days / midterm demo days, client visits (Bartiméus, Pleyade), courses (exhibitions, midterm evaluations), coach meetings and expert meetings.

Professional identity & Vision | past development

In the last 3 years my vision and identity have changed a lot. When starting at the faculty of Industrial Design my dream was to become a designer for Ikea, designing interior products with simplicity, for every-day-use and practical comfort. To reach this I wanted to become a product and interaction designer and therefore identified myself through skills mostly within the competency of creativity & aesthetics. However over the course of three years I gained more societal interest, interest into designing for special need groups, into experience design and for doing in the field research (staying close to the target group and creating empathy) while quickly iterating and prototyping. 
During Project 1 Design and Project 2 Design I discovered the importance of social interaction and my interest in designing for that. Within my first project about designing a new restaurant lighting experience my natural instinct was to focus on social interaction. Later in my second design project I designed for visually impaired children having difficulties in the bonding with their parents and so explored designing for social interaction again by expanding it to social inclusion. Then in my third design research project I shifted my focus to social engagement by researching the effect of guiding cooking tools on the social engagement of elderly with mild dementia. Through my internship project about making the learning experience with Goed Wijzer more personal I found my interest in the possibilities for empowerment by design. Because I had to do a user test with a blind woman in the course Tactile Experience in my first year I immediately saw how much value I could deliver as a designer for special need groups. In this way I focused all my follow-up projects on designing for that specific target group and involving users by in the field research which I really liked. Furthermore, starting from that course together with my internship I created huge affection with designing for experience. What changed my identity a lot through these years was that I got in touch with design research in the course Design Research and Project 3. Within my internship I noticed I did not like the process of merely designing and doing some user tests in between for validation since I missed working in-depth. Therefore after 2,5 years I defined myself as a user-centered designer passionate about creating and researching user experiences in an iterative process characterized by conceptualization and high user involvement (research focused). All in all, In this way my vision shifted from becoming a product & interaction designer for Ikea, towards an experience designer creating daily life experiences for special need groups that enhance their feeling of empowerment and fulfills their needs of social belonging which allows them to add value to others in society on a daily basis.

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User test Project 2 Design