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I Love Rapid Prototyping
This fall I had to wake up at 6:20 AM every Tuesday and Thursday for HCDE 451, and I was perfectly okay with it. Here’s my reflection on one of my favorite classes ever :)
Going into this class, I was expecting to learn prototyping techniques for web and mobile design. I was stunned when I learned that we were exploring laser cutting, 3D printing, sewing, and other mainly physical mediums. Initially, I was a little disappointed since I wanted to refine my digital design skills further. But looking back on the class now, I’m really glad for all the new topics and fields that I was introduced to.
The main joy of the class for me was all the new design fields I learned about. I’ve never considered careers in industrial design, video production, fashion design, or interior design until I experienced how fun it was in this class. The different problem spaces of each design field are really enjoyable and challenging to me.
A huge thanks to Andy for formatting the class structure so nicely. I really enjoyed how we focused on a new subject each week, really allowing for rapid prototyping. The short timeline made me feel like there was less pressure for polished designs and allowed me to explore and problem solve innovative and wacky ideas. Going through a lecture and mini-design tutorial in class was extremely helpful for grasping the basics of the new concepts I was learning. I also appreciated having in-class time to work on the project and get feedback and advice from peers along with Andy and Michael.
Reflecting on all my projects in this class. I’m really proud of each one, especially the ones in new fields with techniques that I had to learn and try for the first time. For each of my projects, I consider them to be strongest in how functional they were. Every project was designed for a purpose and were able to fulfill that purpose really well. For example, my final project is a complete pair of pants that could be improved a little bit for comfort and fit but are ready and easy to wear.
But all of my projects could definitely be improved. Because of the short timeline, my projects were not necessarily single-minded but were pretty simple in terms of design. I felt limited in my exploration for each project because of my inexperience with techniques in each new field like sewing. With my final project, I had to do a lot of googling but was still unable to apply some of the advanced sewing techniques. Balancing actually creating the project with learning new techniques in a week was pretty difficult.
The process of rapid prototyping was really fun to me. I always started with research and sketching out ideas before moving to smaller-sized or worse-material prototypes then iterating towards a final design to be used with a higher quality prototype. For future projects, I would give myself more time to iterate. Although the time span of each project was great for exploration of ideas, extra time is needed to refine and polish the prototype in my opinion.
With my final project, I definitely need to iterate more on my pair of pants. I only had time to do a simple word logo on my pants instead of my intended half pant leg geometric design. I plan to improve the pair of pants next quarter in preparation for me to wear them in the spring.
In the two group projects I did, I made sure to do as much as I could to make sure everyone had an equal and substantial role in the project. There were some obstacles in contributing to team efforts for one project though because of the project happening over an extended weekend. We had difficulty planning around each of our schedules, but we were still able to finish the project.
For the overall class, I showed up as much as I could and would interact with others to give and receive feedback daily. I enjoyed the practice of giving and receiving feedback. It was beneficial to my projects and helped me learn about others’ perspectives and ideas.
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