Just a student with a passion for products that blow your mind.
During my first year at the TU/e, I completed Project 1 under the squad Play & Learn. While I consider the project and final product a success considering my experience, the Play & Learn squad did not resonate with me. The design challenge was to design an elegant solution for new students and visitors to find their way around the TU/e campus.
Our solution was a handheld device which would vibrate depending on how far away you are from your destination. If you were relatively far away, it would only hum slightly, if you were close by it would vibrate intensely. At the time, I preferred coding the prototype over the actual design content. We ended with a semi-working prototype which did not look very good.
From that project, I learned that I prefer using the Arduino and coding to achieve a functional prototype over spending more time on the physical aspects to create a less functional look-and-feel prototype. I also felt like our design challenge wasn’t “grand” enough. From the beginning, I have wanted to design products that make a difference.
To act on this, I picked Studio Silver for Project 2. During this project, I got to design for people suffering from dementia. It felt invigorating and empowering to come up with ways to help our client. We went through many iterations and eventually developed a product that really would change their lives for the better. The product was a modified television which could play TV-shows from when the client was younger. Also, family members and friends could upload their own media to the TV to be shown as well.
From that project, I reconfirmed that I feel most comfortable designing and coding interactions. It was my job to program the buttons and knobs on the screen. Looking back, the code I created was quite inefficient and not high quality, even if it did not matter for the prototype. I’m happy to see that I have developed and learned a lot since. I also reconfirmed that I do want to create impactful products. It was important for me to work on design challenges which are impactful and can make a difference.
For Project 3 I got placed in Smart Mobility. The squad was out of my comfort zone as I do not have a lot of experience with vehicles besides my bike. My goal for that project was to learn more about sustainable solutions and to design a product which encourages people to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, our design challenge did not have a lot to do with that. We had to develop a product which assists the driver in making the transition from manual driving to automatic.
The product we designed was aesthetically pleasing and provided a lot of design opportunities. However, even though it was a research project we did not do a lot of research. Similar to Project 1, I also did not feel like the product would be very impactful.
During the 3rd year of my bachelor, I followed the coherent course package Design for Games and Play. After not getting to do a lot of coding in Project 3, I developed an interest is coding games. The course package tied into that, therefore I decided to pursue that over an internship. This decision was mostly fueled by a project I saw during the demo day in Summer 2018. The project features a demo for a VR game designed to teach French to students and children.
During Design for Games and Play I developed a love for game design. I believed that game design would provide the perfect platform to develop elegant products which users are inherently drawn towards. On top of that, serious games can be impactful.
Fresh out of high school, I would not have considered myself a designer. It took me a year of university, a year of Software Science, to realize I would rather make products, not software. As a result, however, I felt like I had less prior experience than many other students.
After year one, I learned a lot about how to talk to users, what a business model is, and how to shape and dress up products. The courses User-centered Design, Project 1, Basic Form giving Skills, and From Idea to Design helped me grow into the designer role. In year one I build the foundations I relied upon in later years.
During year two, I build prototypes for my projects and followed courses which helped me further develop in the area’s Business & Entrepreneurship and User & Society. The USE learning line I followed, “Designing for a Connected Society”, helped me crawl into the skin of users. Introduction to Business Design introduced me to topics such as patents and further familiarized me with business models such as the Business Model Canvas.
During year three, I found a passion for game design, more specifically serious games. I put great focus on the areas Math, Data, & Computing and Technology & Realization. The coherent course package Design for Games and Play, the software science course Programming, and the design elective Interactive Intelligent Products all had me struggle with technology. I started using Unity and got more familiar with the Java coding language. The third year was by far the most impactful year as me a designer. I found a field I am truly interested in which fit my skillset. Naturally, I chose Play & Learn as my squad of choice for my Final Bachelor Project.
During my Final Bachelor Project, I got to put all my Areas of Expertise to test, save for Business and Entrepreneurship. While market viability was at the back of my mind, I wanted to design an idealistic product for the future without it being constrained by the current economic landscape. My improvements in Creativity and Aesthetics got put to the test while making the world of the game and while presenting it during Demo Day. Technology and Realization while struggling to get AR to work and while visualizing the game. The result only has few physical components, however, using the appropriate technologies resulted in a convincing prototype. My growth in Math, Data, & Computing was utilized while coding the game. The game uses artificial intelligence pathing for the Mickey character, math to calculate arc’s and directions for objects, and computing to program the rules of the game. Finally, I used my expertise in User & Society to create a game that young students would play, while also providing value for the teachers.
My growth over my bachelors is visualized in the graph below.