INFO 2070 Reflection:

An exploration in tools for an Information Designer

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Introduction

This semester INFO 2070 was a required course and I wasn’t sure what to expect as I had heard rumblings that a new professor would be teaching this course from previous years. On the first (online) day I met our professor, Kris Hans and from the get-go we had the opportunity to ease into the course with a few hands-on lab activities. The lab activities worked out well for me because I am a hands-on learner and I thought it was a useful to introduce some of the concepts of the course. Next, we were required to complete an individual research project which personally I really enjoyed both researching and seeing what classmates had done. Finally, we tackled a challenging group project which tied the whole course together in a month-long project culminating in a final presentation.

Which assignment did you most enjoy completing?

The assignment I enjoyed the most was the lab activities specifically the personal branding lab (Hans, 2022). I really enjoyed this lab because it was something I had been meaning to do anyway and having the support of a course finally pushed me to complete it. I also really enjoyed using squarespace to build a personal website. I had been hearing about squarespace for years and this assignment finally gave me the opportunity to try it out. I was blown away by how fun and easy the drag and drop templates are and will definitely be looking to use the tool in future projects.

What skills, abilities, and concepts will you take away from this course?

One of the main skills I learned from this course was the ability to execute an idea beyond just the design aspect (like we normally would in INFO design) but start to finish with a plan and logic to back it up. The first time we did this in this course was in lab 2 and 3 where we created an idea and setup the infrastructure to execute the idea (Hans, 2022). At this stage we were also introduced to the entrepreneur tools homepage which is chalked full of tools for executing on ideas something I will come back to for reference (Keyhani). These tools were vital in building an idea into a brand and the skills and tools built and discovered in these labs would come into play much later in the course with the most challenging but also best work I completed in the course: the group project.

Which parts did you find most challenging?

The group project proved to be a challenging project for a few main reasons. The first was how out of our comfort zone much of the project was. I had some programming experience going into the project but quickly realized that on my own I could not code our vision within the month given so it forced us to dig deep and find and find no-code solutions to our problem. This is where we leveraged the tools on the “entrepreneur tools” mainly Glide to build a solution using sheets as our backend (Keyhani). The other part of this project that was very challenging was the business analysis just because going into it we had no idea what things like stakeholder analysis or minimum viable product. Finally, the other challenge came from the scale of the project which at the beginning was very overwhelming but as we moved through the process it got more manageable. Despite being a challenge initially, when we did some research and got started, we were able to complete the project by the deadline. In the end I think it turned into the project I was most proud of by the end of semester.

Which assignment, in your opinion represents your best work?

The group project was the most challenging/most work, but it is also what I would consider my best work. During the group project I took on the role of developing the actual application and figuring out what we could do in the time we had allotted. Originally, we had dreamed big with this project trying to incorporate auto sort through AI and the ability to access a user’s camera role and automatically import all the screenshots from their phone. For the first few weeks we dove deep trying to research all the different ways we could make the screenshot sorting app of our dreams. Unfortunately, this did not work out and we were forced to scale back the app to the basics and build it up from there. At first having all that research go to waste was very frustrating but in hindsight that research was a part of the process and opened my eyes to how far AI has come with the technology existing, but we just did not have the budget to implement it. In the end we had a week to build our app so I got to work spending many late nights ironing out bugs we were experiencing and seeing how much of our dream app we could build. I was happy with how much we were able to get done, in 3 days I had a first iteration and then by the end of the week we had a final prototype which we sent out to users for testing. The users had a positive reception too it is making a few suggestions that I was able to implement in one night due to Glide being so effective for iteration. In the end this project was my best work of the because my group and I fully engaged in the process and ended up with a detailed and well researched project that we were proud to show.

References

Hans, K. (2022). Courseware.mymru.ca. Blackboard. Retrieved April 8, 2022, from https://courseware.mymru.ca/bbcswebdav/pid-3916024-dt-content-rid-14018232_1/xid-14018232_1

Keyhani, M. (n.d.). Entrepreneur tools. Entrepreneur Tools. Retrieved April 8, 2022, from https://entrepreneur-tools.zeef.com/keyhanimo#block_84768_trends

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