past

skills

empathizing with users

user testing and analyzation of this data

psychological theories and mechanisms of social behavior

intercultural sensitivity

courses

USE basis: ethics and history of technology

Aesthetics of Interaction

User-centered Design

Design for Debate

Behavioral research methods 1: Designing research

Intercultural Design

Socio-cultural Sensitivity

Human in Technology

Behavioral and social theories of human technology interaction

USE HIT Projects

Project 1, 2, 3

user & society

Soon into the bachelor I knew the expertise area I was most interested in was user & society. I was mostly interested in the user and how to give them the most pleasurable experience when using this in a design. In order to base my design decisions on science rather than just intuition, I followed a learning track about psychology and sociology. In this track I learned how to empathize with users in order to create the best user experience, psychological theories and mechanisms behind social behavior. With that my design decisions became more argued. What I found most interesting about this track was behavior. Learning about how people react and behave, I kept asking ‘but why?’.

Another course in this area was Aesthetics of Interaction. Because I considered creativity and aesthetics as my second best area I was enthusiastic when starting this course. Although I found it interesting to learn about interaction design, I realized I am not a hands-on person and might not even be interested in product design.

With these two learning moments I realized my curiosity was still not satisfied I explored further within this area. Both Design for Debate and Intercultural Design were incredibly insightful and nutritive for developing my identity. Design for Debate taught me how users can be triggered by conceptual design and how debate can lead to new perspectives and new explorations. Intercultural Design taught me that we can never completely understand others. But, by seeing and understanding these differences we can map out the needs of both parties and smoothen communication. Through these two courses I learned that my passion as a designer is not finding out why, but to use psychological and sociological mechanisms in order to trigger people, in order to find unexplored territories and innovative solutions.

The course User-centred Design has taught me the basics of user testing but now that I found my main design goal I wanted to develop myself. The course Behavioral research methods 1: Designing research has taught me interview techniques and how to analyze qualitative user data.

creativity & aesthetics

I started the bachelor with the assumption creativity & aesthetics would be something I’m great at. Aesthetically pleasing prototypes were and are still very valuable to me. Through the projects I soon realized I had quite some trouble with ideating. Because I believe different communication of a design and concept can result in different feedback, I put effort into learning more ideating methods and creating aesthetically pleasing designs.

The course Cardboard Modelling has taught me that you need to challenge yourself in ideation. By forcing yourself to work within a timeslot or restricting yourself from a certain solution, you make sure not to be too critical on yourself. This often results in weird concepts or designs that are not at all a serious solution, but do make for a gateway to a solution that works.

In order to develop myself in communication of concepts and ideas, I followed the course Exploratory Sketching. This course is meant for this goal, but also to use sketching as an ideation tool. In order for me to use it as an exploration tool I still need way more practice. I am a person who likes to work quickly and sketching is too time consuming for me to provide a lot of ideas within a certain time. However, I did become significantly better at sketching and do use it as a communication tool.

skills

cardboard modelling

sketching

brainstorming

rapid prototyping

aesthetics of interaction

designing the form of product

courses

From Idea to Design

Aesthetics of Interaction

Cardboard Modelling

Basic Formgiving Skills

Exploratory Sketching

Project 1, 2, 3

skills

Processing (simplified Java)

HTML

Java

Python

Arduino

C#

R

data analyzation of quantitative and qualitative data

statistical analysis

courses

Calculus

Creative Programming

Data analytics for engineers

Design <> Research

Making Sense of Sensors

Behavioral research methods 1: Designing research

Creative Apps

Software Development for Engineers

Behavioral and social theories of human technology interaction

USE HIT Projects

Cardboard Modelling

Aesthetics of Interaction

Project 1, 2, 3

math, data & computing

The expertise area math, data and computing seemed like something I would not be interesting in. But with my first encounter with Python and data analyzation was in the course Data analytics for engineers. I noticed that Python was relatively easy for me to learn and felt incredibly satisfied when my code works. Although data analyzation was on a basic level in this course, I immediately found interest in this topic. After learning I am quite analytical myself and can objectively look at data quite well, I was curious to get to know more.

Through several courses I have learned how to deal with both quantitative as qualitative data. In Design <> Research I did a research where we mostly had qualitative data. I learned techniques on how to analyze both types of data as well as mixed-method approaches. Because I like clarity I found it hard to see the value in qualitative data, but the courses from the Psychology and Technology department of the TU/e has showed me otherwise. By combining my passion for psychology and sociology with data, I was able to see how qualitative data says more about the perception of users and while that not always is what is actually happening in reality it provides information on how to approach the users. I also saw that quantitative data is occurring in social studies more often than I thought and have learned how to analyze this, work with statistics and the program SPSS.

Since coding was relatively easy for me to learn, I took on more coding tasks in projects and at the same time wanted to get better and learn more coding languages. Through several courses and personal projects I have now learned the languages Processing (simplified R), Java, Python, Arduino, R, C# and HTML. Having followed three courses about Python, I have developed this language the most.

technology & realization

Building prototypes and electronic circuits might be one of my least developed expertise areas. However, I knew this from the start and have put in effort to develop this skill.

I took the course Cardboard Modelling to be able to create lo-fi prototypes that still seem high quality, so that the concept gets communicated in the best way possible. In this course it is taught how to create and ideate with foamboard, along with electronics. This course was my first encounter with Arduino. I had a lot of trouble with the electronics and had to ask for help regularly. By being pulled out of my comfort zone I learned that this was an expertise where there is still a lot to learn. I decided to take on more prototype-building tasks in project 2 and project 3. Because I was still insecure about this skill I often did this together with team members who were more skilled. Because I wanted to be able to take on these tasks and take my responsibility in a team I took another elective where building was a main learning goal.

The course Basic Formgiving Skills was a challenge for me. By having to build a prototype every week with different materials and shapes, I was taken out of my comfort zone incredibly. I was unsure of the quality of my work but noticed that after the course ended I felt significantly more sure about the machines and materials in the workshop. Although my building skills were still not at the level I would have liked them to be, I gained insight in how to go from an idea to a real life prototype. Where I first did not know where to start, I now realized that I should just explore and start building. Things will definitely go wrong, but you can only find that out by starting.

skills

building electronical circuits with Teensy and Arduino

building working prototypes

cardboard modelling

courses

Applied natural sciences conceptual

Creative Electronics

Engineering Design

Basic Formgiving Skills

Cardboard Modelling

Aesthetics of Interaction

Project 1, 2, 3

skills

understanding and applying the business model canvas

making validation plans for the business model

SWOT analysis

courses

USE basis: ethics and history of technology

Design Innovation Methods

Introduction to business design

Project 1, 2 

business & entrepreneurship

My first experience with business was in Project 1, where another teammate took on the responsibility of making the business model. Since I wanted to learn the basics, I discussed what she had made. Not having any knowledge or skills in business, the business model seemed okay and I learned the basics of the business model canvas blocks. In Project 2 I was somewhat more involved with the making of the business model but since I still had not theoretical knowledge it remained basic knowledge.

I have little interest in business, so the next theoretical encounter within this area was in the course Design Innovation Methods. By discussing business models of several real life business I learned about technology push and market pull, and the different methods of business strategies. I had to revise the business model of Project 1 and realized it was not as thought-through as I thought. The course helped me in finding realistic ways to test the business model. Although you are supposed to follow the course Introduction to Business Design before Design Innovation Methods, I followed the course afterwards. Still this was useful. Introduction to Business Design went way more into detail about the business model canvas, which gave me much more understanding to what the building blocks mean and what their use is.

Another course related to business that I followed USE basis. Although this course’s main goal is to teach about ethics, it taught me to view a project from a business point of view. I realized how, from a business perspective, the product can have a totally different purpose and different goals need to be reached. Every expertise area needs to reach (part of) their goals, which makes the design process more of a puzzle where tradeoffs need to be made.