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My Failure or an Opportunity for Improvement?

As many of you know, my current capstone topic is about Discovering Local Music in a Digital Age. Upon glancing at the cover of today’s IDS (local student newspaper) I found this article, which covers a local music festival that was held just this weekend. However, I wasn’t in attendance. Why, because I didn’t freaking know about it!

image courtesy of amboo

My initial reaction is that I’m already failing at my capstone topic. If I was really interested and passionate about local music, wouldn’t I have know about and gone to the show? What does it say that I had no clue this was going on, and worse that I had no clue about the local music label Crossroads of America (XRA Records)? Does this mean that I’m really just not that into local music? Does it say that I’m not working hard on my capstone?

Or, does this show a really great design opportunity? What if more people (like me) had known about the ‘festival’? More importantly, why didn’t I hear about the show? What things could have helped me to learn about this event? Was this poor promotion on XRA’s side? Or am I really just out-of-tune with what’s going on in local music?

I don’t have the answers here, but this certainly frustrates me and stresses me out. It makes me re-think my feelings about my current capstone topic and question my commitment to it.

What do you think?

Reflection on Prototyping with Foam

Over the last week and a half in our prototyping class we learned about and started working with foam. We learned about the many different types of foam, their uses, and how people have used foam before. After conducting research on foam with my presenting partner Wes, I started thinking about what design I might want to prototype. I began by sketching out some basic ideas in a very rough format. I then decided that I would prototype an interactive iPad dock that would be used with Adobe software and could double as a tablet with a pressure sensitive pen. I selected this concept because it would force me to use foam in ways that I haven’t before, as well as integrate different materials into the foam.

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Firefox User Experience

Firefox IconWoo hoo!

This summer (actually I already started) I will be working with Mozilla on the Firefox User Experience team. I couldn’t be more excited or happy. Firefox is a great product that has around 370 million users worldwide. This is a huge audience for which to design and will come with many challenges. I look forward to tackling these challenges head on with all that I have learned about design. I also hope to learn more than ever about designing in the real world, working with real people, on  stuff that will actually be in the world and used by millions. It’s scary as hell and I love it!

Reflection Thus Far

In thinking about the past (almost) two weeks, I can already seen how things have changed for me a bit. I’ve started to understand how UX teams might work in real world companies, specifically companies that are developer centric. Furthermore, I’ve started to understand the unique challenges that come with designing open source software. There are so many people involved, so many opinions, and so very many valid use and edge cases. It’s superbly interesting and a little overwhelming. I’m starting to look through my toolset and understand what tools I have that can best be used within a community such as Firefox. My colleagues (wow, that’s awesome to say) have blogged about some of these things as well. I work with really smart and amazing people. I’m very grateful for their help and support thus far.

You might want to have a look at what Alex Faaborg, Jennifer Borris, Aza Raskin, and Alex Limi are saying. It’s awesome!

The first week here I was a sponge, running around trying to soak up as much information as possible. It also happened to be an intensive work week where we had all of our remote people in the office. It was a really great week where I learned quite a bit about how things work at Mozilla and the direction that Firefox was taking. I also got to participate in many quick design meetings where we discussed and ideated on designs. Furthermore, I was able to give my opinion on some Bike Sheding issues and I really felt welcomed.

This week (my second) I’ve started my first project and helped the team on some other stuff. Limi and I filled a bazillion bugs for the Firefox Papercuts issues (see his presentation on the topic). So now I have a great grasp on filling bugs within bugzilla. My new project involves doing a good amount of research on what the next generation “home tab” might look like for the web. I really like this project thus far as it really allows me to stretch my imagination and think about the future of the web and how it can be better designed for people.

Mozilla Foundation Logo

So far, I’m having a great time. The Bay Area is fantastic. Mozilla is really great, and I love the people on the UX team. Plus I’m working for an organization that has a dino head for a logo. How cool is that!

Life is good.