Project one, aka the personification of “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” was not too tough, but it was time consuming. I intended to learn a bit of Sketch for the prototype, conduct some legit market research, and create a real logo from photoshop, which I, of course, was going to teach myself in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. <chortle, snicker, guffaw>

Who knew that driving three or four hours a day would leave me with almost no time to get anything done? What on earth made me believe that my kids would immediately adjust to my absence after nine years? Why didn’t I prepare for the guilt? Ohhh, the guilt.

After the initial shock and “holy crap” phase of the first few days, I learned to shave time off of other things. Still, I didn’t spend nearly as much time on this project as I would’ve liked. I ended up finishing everything the day before it was due, getting almost no sleep, and feeling embarrassed about the product I presented. I didn’t pay attention to details and misnamed a user flow (seriously?!), and I should’ve had more iterations. My drawings were blah.

But Jessica, you ask, didn’t anything positive come from this experience? Indeed it did! I. Learned. So. Much. When I described how I could make a clickable prototype, conduct contextual inquiries, user flows, concept maps, etc. with confidence, my friends and family were blown away. It was four days of learning, and somehow the crazy sink-or-swim philosophy of GA had worked. I was confident in my product. I had even figured out a few ways that the app could make money, and how the background processes might work. I told pretty much everyone who would listen about it. I was excited, and that hasn’t happened to me academically in a long time. (If I had a visual of my fifteen-year-old pretending to be interested while she clicked through my prototype then it would go here, and it would be quite amusing.) My husband was so impressed by how much I was happily putting in to my project that he brought me flowers. He never does that. Like never ever.

I learned that if I had a job interview then I could comfortably discuss the basic UX design process, at least within in the realm of what we have learned so far. The GA method is intense, but it works. I also learned that if I don’t manage my time then I’m screwed. Totally screwed. I’m still working on learning the part about asking questions about software or processes. My pride gets in the way of those questions because I feel like I should know it already, but I’ll get there.

Overall, it was a good enough experience. Having more time wouldn’t have made it any better. I simply would’ve allotted more time to other things. Was it the app of the decade? Not so much. Was I the star student? Nope, not anymore, but that’s okay. I’m learning.

I’ve missed it.

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