Moving Forward: A Spring 2022 Reflection

I am finishing the Spring 2022 semester along with my classmates who have gone through the same classes and projects. And yet we all have had different experiences and takeaways. What I may have found challenging may have been simple to another and vice versa. Still, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the semester.

As with any semester, it was full of its unique challenges. I worked with a group of my classmates to explore how AI can be used to personalize interfaces for government analysts. Through the project, I continue to learn how to parse what clients think they want versus what they need. I was unprepared for how difficult it would be to create a persona whose occupation is relatively confidential: a government analyst. It is surprisingly hard to parse out pain points and personalized interfaces when the sources backing these points are vague. More importantly, I learned the value of moving forward: a seemingly simple and obvious concept but let me give more context. Because it was hard to pinpoint designs and personalization features for the project, often myself and my group would nix ideas and work to find better ones. This was fine in the beginning when one is brainstorming. But if ideas keep getting nixed, sometimes a good idea will also get thrown out instead of being adapted and adjusted. Until this project, I hadn’t realized I would start over with designs instead of moving forward with the original. I am glad I am now aware of this tendency and will continue to take each challenge as a learning experience and an opportunity to grow as a designer.