Sunday, October 30, 2016

Introduction and Statement of Purpose

Welcome to my new blog.

The purpose of this blog is to serve as an opportunity to delve deeper into my studies in UI/UX Research and Design. I've used blogging as an educational tool before and have found it to be quite helpful.

I'm embarking on a field specialization certification offered through Coursera, via UC San Diego. While I've audited many MOOC's through Coursera, EdX etc., I have never actually paid for the certifications and therefore never fully participated in completing and providing feedback for other peoples homework or projects. It's my intention to be fully absorbed in the material, research, message boards and lectures in order to get the most out of the material presented. While the courses are not worth transferable college credit, they can be displayed on my Linkedin - and the projects can be added to my portfolio.

My hope is that this 8 course specialization, costing just $39 a course (for a total of $312 for full certification) is a cheap, quality alternative to formal credited coursework that will lay the a strong base for me to apply to grad school for Human-Computer Interaction and Social Computing at UofM. This specialization starts tomorrow and lasts 9 months until the end of July.

While Wayne State has a perfectly fine, completely online, masters program, it's always been my goal to officially be a wolverine, and I think a masters from UofM would fetch more money in my initial job search.

So what is UI/UX Design? We're going to be exploring this together. My undergraduate background is broad based, hard-nosed, 4-field anthropology. I wasn't sure what I wanted to specialize in so I tried to get a basic grasp on everything. What anthropology helps someone like me do is bring to bear other knowledge and skills to specific problems.

Anthropology is uniquely suited to UI/UX Design, because anthropology is charged with being at the forefront of studying human beings at every layer and angle throughout all time an space. UI stands for user-interface, and UX stands for user-experience.

A man using a cane to assist in walking is interfacing with a piece of technology. The handle where he holds it is the user-interface. If it was a poorly designed cane, uncomfortable to hold, too heavy, slippery on the bottom, these reflect poorly on the overall user-experience.

Similarly, when using a computer, you interface with the computer via the monitor, keyboard, mouse and whatever other peripherals or devices you use (printer/scanner). These are hardware interfaces. In addition to hardware interfaces, there are software interfaces. What kind of operating system do you use? What kind of browser, programs, apps etc.? All of these come with their own interfaces, and the goal of the UI/UX researcher, is to study people using these things and develop analysis that enables the designer (often the same person or team) or refine the interface and improve the experience.

So that's what I'll be doing for my career. I think it sounds really cool. Whether I'm working with engineers to innovate more spacious interiors to automobiles or airplanes, designing more intuitive apps and websites, or helping to crack the cultural algorithm that I believe is necessary to create a truly anthropomorphic A.I., this is bound to be an exciting journey!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Matt! Want a free site on The Grid? Let me know. I'll hook you up