Developing Visual Haikus
Good morning to you all, readers! A particularly reassuring hello to those who have taken up the Interactive Multimedia banner, and who are in their senior year at TCNJ, searching for advice. I know what makes up an IMM student, and they can do anything, so I know you’ve got this.
My name is Lindsay Fenwick, and I’ve loved every moment of this project and every moment spent in this major, from the first welcoming meetings to the last bittersweet goodbyes, and each coffee-fueled late night / early morning between.
When I started my final year at TCNJ, and I would be developing a project that was innovative enough to be worthy of the greatly respectable Senior Showcase, I knew what I wanted to accomplish — at least in broad strokes. I wanted to make something new to the world, and also learn platforms and coding languages that were new to me. If you’re reading about my development process, it might be because you’re stuck somewhere along your own. I hope I can lend a hand.
If you’re trying to figure out where to start creating and cultivating an idea, then start with your goals. List out the ways that you can challenge yourself, along with what your passions are in development. Let what you want to learn shape the direction of your idea, and then let your idea inspire you and shape your toolset in turn. For me, I knew I wanted to learn app development, and use databases and PHP. When I brainstormed ways that those things could be leveragable, I could envision a posting system where visual artists and writers could collaborate to form works of art together, I then knew what other tools I would be working with.
If, in development, you’ve found yourself at the base of a mountain that is insurmountable, with nothing to tackle but the big issues that you aren’t seeing how to fix, try to think of different ways to pass through. Maybe it’s scaling the walls, laying train tracks piece by piece, or maybe the answer is a big stick of dynamite. Speaking plainly, try finding solutions to problems that are much more or much less specific than you have tried asking before, searching for the top common problems with your situation, exact error messages, or look at tutorials that cover ground much greater than your problem, and see how those developers fit it in. Also, don’t be afraid to pester your friends and teachers into walking through the problem with you. Even if they don’t have the answers, explaining your situation step by step can sometimes help you discover where your uncertainties are.
A final piece of advice: You should never regret your learning process. What I know now could have saved me time in the beginning, but this entire project, in the grand scheme of things, will have saved me time later in my life. Would I do anything differently, given the chance to go back? Maybe, but what’s more important is that I’ll know what will work best and save me frustrations in the future.