After devoting so much time, energy, and effort to the LanguageBug project, I am sure that reflections will continue to emerge for years. The thesis blog (or reflection journal) has contained sincere, formative thoughts since the beginning of the thesis course. Here I present my current insights and impressions on my design process.
Research & Development
As a thesis student working on a Design & Development of Media for Learning, I was responsible for managing both
- the research on the problem I was addressing, and
- the development of a product that would address this problem.
I experienced a lot of difficulty and anxiety balancing these two tasks.
Most of that difficulty in managing my time resulted from my difficulty in making decisions and complying with deadlines.
During the first semester, I had already a clear notion of what I wanted to develop. However, I tried to focus on validating my ideas from a scientific perspective. As a result, I did too much research and advanced too little.
In the second semester, I began to develop my thesis project website and my first prototypes. I spent most of my time dealing with codes and prototyping software, having meetings with developers, and sketching visual illustrations.
As a result, finishing my final paper on time was especially challenging.
In addition to research and development, I had course-related responsibilities such as:
- Updating my reflection journal from time to time;
- Setting up and meeting with a committee of contributors;
- Conducting class presentations and class activities;
- Maintaining a routine of accountability for advisors and peers;
- Preparing a final presentation for the ECT Design Expo; etc.
Each one of these tasks helped me develop valuable skills. However, I might have set up wrong priorities at different points. As a result, I experienced a lot of difficulties balancing between these course-related responsibilities and my core goals (research and development of my thesis project).
As a consequence, I have learned some remarkable lessons, such as:
- early prototyping may be a better first step than doing research;
- dialogue with other individuals from different areas is necessary;
- user tests are more valuable than prototyping development; and
- when possible, speaking directly to your target audience is enlightening.
These and other lessons I have learned during the development of my thesis project are part of most design manuals. But, only through my own experience and struggle, I was able to validate them.