The end of July marks the half way point of my year at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction design. The pace has been intense and relentless. In a very short amount of time, we have completed at least fifteen different design projects with more than a dozen instructors. We barely have a moment to digest before marching on to the next challenging problem. This is why we have midterm reviews to reflect on the successes and the failures.

Here is a summary of four learnings from the last six months taken from my midterm presentation.

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01 — I am learning to work in a team

One of the most valuable skills that I am learning at CIID is working in teams. I believe that the quality of a project is determined by the quality of the teamwork and not the quality of the idea. In order to contribute effectively to team collaboration, I’ve learned that teams need to set the quality bar at the beginning of the project and to make retrospectives a habit. …

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How I felt in week 1 dealing with the ambiguity of deciding on a topic

CIID Final Project Week 1

So it begins. This week we kicked off the 10-week individual final projects at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. The sudden switch from group work to individual work is daunting and exciting. Here I am, the captain of my own project, steering myself into the foggy unknown.

My project criteria

First, I spent time this week to identify criteria to guide the shape of my final project. I am interested in:

  • making playful enchanted objects
  • making a working prototype
  • small human interactions rather than large system

I am also thinking about these technologies:

  • Amazon Mechanical Turk
  • AR/VR
  • Generative Design
  • RFID

What am I interested in?

In some ways, the final project is a project in introspection. I wrote down some topic areas that are personally interesting and align with my learning goals. I let my mind wander and researched these three areas of interest. …

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How I iterated the interactions of a grid-based journaling app

During the Rapid Prototyping course at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, I used Origami Studio by Facebook Design to prototype high fidelity microinteractions of a grid-based journaling app.

Prototyping a Journaling App

My inspiration came from the 100 Blocks Day post on the blog Wait But Why. An average 16 hour day can be divided into one hundred ten minute blocks. A day’s activities can be visualize spatially by filling out the blocks. For example, an one hour at lunch is equal to six blocks.

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A day represented in 100 ten minute blocks

Rather than building the entire flow of the app, I was drawn to the potential interactions that I could create with the grid. …


James Zhou

Interaction Designer at IDEO | www.jamesxzhou.com

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