Bootcamp Week 1: A New Lifestyle
A month ago I couldn’t even begin to grasp what being an MFADT student would mean. The pace, the city, the work, the community. It has all been such a different experience from anything I have ever experienced. Here is a documentation of some of the things that I have done and learned this week.
Being a part of the MFADT community
I tend to organize a lot of groups when I see that a lot of people I know all intersecting in some form. In the DT program I have begun doing the same over the summer when I started the Slack. However, it doesn’t feel like I am doing much to bring people together, they do it on their own and it is really nice. Every day I sit down at a table and meet someone new. The great thing about it is that everyone is always thinking of ideas, bringing new concepts to the table, and staying open to hearing others out. It’s a completely cooperative and friendly environment. I think I will enjoy it here.
We learned about all different kinds of mapping the first day of design. However, I had a lot of trouble at first understanding the concepts about how to domain map and why it was valuable as a ideation tool. After going to the workshop and receiving help from Milan it all clicked in my brain. Domain mapping is a form of ideation that allows the designer to come up with concepts that are remote and outside of the original idea.
Low Level Programming in Processing
Before the MFADT program I had programmed in Unity and done some web work. However, I have never programmed without much abstractions layered on top of the code, doing some calculations for me. Using Processing was a familiar yet different experience to what I was used to. Every day I have to rethink the way that I understand programming and logic through this framework.
Every second is valuable, choose how to use time wisely
After the first day of attempting to be absorbent as possible I felt like the topics we were going over the second day were many subjects that I already knew. I already knew how to structure an HTML document, I learned many research techniques during my humanities studies in undergrad, and conditionals were a very familiar concept to me. I realized from this point that I already had a goal for my final and I would begin conceptualizing and wireframing in Figma what I would be working on. I knew that with the amount of homework I would have to utilize every moment that I could spare. This does not mean ignoring valuable lessons about subjects I may not know, but using times where I am already knowledgeable in the area towards something productive.
You can find my presentation from this day about good and bad design here.
How to present a narrative
From watching assigned TED talks and my classmates’ presentations I learned how valuable it is to make a presentation almost like a stage production in terms of engagement. When I watch people present I found it more engaging when the presenter spoke to me, presented a narrative or a problem, and sounded thoughtful about what they are saying instead of mindlessly reading off of a screen. Now when I present I try to get into a mindset, create slides that are enjoyable to look at, and engage my audience.
You can see my presentation on problem and solution here.
One of my biggest problems with my old creation process is I would sit down for so long and try to think of the single, perfect idea. I would feel like my concepts were being blocked. Once I learned about how ideation was a non-linear process though, I began to rethink the way that I come up with my ideas. It is a process of iteration and inspiration. This was especially true after going through a brainstorming process twice.
Most web pages I made before bootcamp were a mess. They were positioned only using position css and not responsive at all. After sitting in Miguel’s class during this day I learned the value of utilizing CSS properties like Grid and used them on my current website. Now I feel much more organized in my web coding.
Think about the minor steps in the user’s experience
When we worked on storyboards in design class I struggled to think about the little actions that happen during a user’s experience with a designed object. After some help from Carla and my classmate Allison I felt a lot more confident in my abilities to think through this process.
Nonlinear State machines
During this day I started working towards what would be my final project in processing by creating a grid that would create tetrominos. However, I found this to be a fairly difficult process as I was still trying to grasp Java and not programming in medium level abstraction programming. It took me a bit of thinking to figure out how to create a grid, then permanently draw onto that grid, and keep those drawings as separate objects. AFter some help from Jackie and a lot of drawing on the board I worked through it and figured out how the grid would work. Now I am utilizing this grid system as a sort of state machine where the direction that the user takes in the grid will determine which state the program should be in.
Follow through until the end
On day 5 we presented three times, once in every class. It was a lot to get through but it taught me about what I need to improve on in my presentations. One of my strengths according to the people that critiqued me was that I tell a story with my presentation and engage the audience. However, one of my cons was that I can let the audience down towards the end by not following through with the narrative that I was building up. This is something I will be working on more with each presentation.
You can find my midterm design presentation here.
Know your limitations
When I finished my flow chart for my text adventure I knew that I had gone way over my head for what I could achieve. Every box and line just created a mess that ended up looking like a jagged plate of spaghetti. Once everyone presented their flow charts I realized that I was reaching too far for the beginning of the week and I knew I could section out each part of the work so it was more manageable.
You can find my web presentation from this day here.