Personal Honours Project - Critical Reflection

If you had asked me at the start of the year what I’d be thinking about submitting as my final submission for my Honours project, I would never have expected it to be a mobile app on how to teach beginners how to code. Especially considering my starting point was looking at communities and given that a number of times through out the year, I felt my research didn't fit with what I would go on to create in the end. In hindsight however, everything was relevant and without it, I wouldn't have gotten to my final iteration; it just wasn't the output I was expecting to create.

I think that’s one of the main things I’ve learnt during this year; don’t go into things complete dead set on an idea or doing things a specific way and that the best results can happen naturally. Overall, I’m proud with what I’ve created and I’ve definitely flagged up an area of interest I would like to continue exploring in the future.

I think this year I’ve really tested my limits as a designer and I’ve certainly pushed myself much more in comparison to other years. I think working on a project I am passionate about has been a huge factor in keeping me dedicated to working hard and because of this commitment to work, I feel proud to stand by my project knowing I’ve worked hard and to the best of my ability. In tangent to this, I’ve learnt how to organise myself - physically and mentally - to make sure I can deal with the stress and pressure of this year, while still managing to stay on top of everything.

Given more time I would loved to have explored the possibilities of using two devices for the learning experience. Originally I’d had an idea about creating applications for a tablet and another on a mobile device with the former acting as the output and latter as the editor. As the project progressed my interests lay more in working with smartphones and so the idea was scrapped but I think this would be an interesting area to explore, especially when introducing beginners to coding languages.

This project has definitely helped me find the areas of design I want to get involved with - specifically user experience design and designing digital products. The latter is something I’ve known for years but this project has reinforced that desire to work in this area. This year has allowed me to further develop my graphic design skills but it has also highlighted that my interests lie less in user interface design, which I thought they did at the beginning of this project, and that I was much happier using my graphic design skills to create strong user experiences. I think this project will allow me to show that I have what it takes to work successfully in these fields.

However I do partially regret staying in my comfort zone this year and not taking the opportunity to take the plunge and work physically or do something completely different than working on applications. Creating my Mk. 1 project, as basic as it was, piqued my interest in working physically and I think this is something I would certainly like to explore more in the future. This is why next year I’ve seriously considered undertaking my Masters in Product Design to begin exploring these areas of interest properly.

I do feel like I underestimated the technology aspect of this project. Ironic given the topic of my project but I would have liked to have experimented more with coding languages during my time studying as my coding skills are not as strong as I would have liked at the end of my four years studying. However, I understand that I am not a developer and I am more interested in design than technology. This is why I opted to create my prototypes with Proto.IO and given the steep learning curve of this software, I feel like I have produced a convincing, high quality prototype.

Finally, I would have also loved to explore the possibilities of working with Arduinos and Raspberry Pi’s to create more solutions which blend the physical and digital and this is something I hope to say. Mastering these skills I feel would make me an overall more multidisciplinary designer.