Overall Technology progression

Overall Technology progression

Being honest, when I applied for the MA Interaction Design Communication one year ago, I didn’t know exactly what it was about. My original intention was to study Communication Design, however I was intrigued by the Interaction Design program mostly because there were many things which I didn’t know at all. Furthermore, just six months before applying I started to learn (and enjoy) coding, and when, in the same period, I discovered what UI and UX design were about, I definitely thought that was the direction I wanted to take in my career.

At the beginning of the course, from a coding point of view I only knew a bit of self-thought HTML and CSS, but during the following months I learned a lot more of these two coding languages, partly because of the course, partly because of my job.
I found the first term classes with Oliver Smith pretty useful for a better theoretical explanation of these two markup languages and for all the part on WordPress and its theme editor.

Still in the first semester I worked MaxMSP a visual programming language which doesn’t require coding knowledge. With its patches it has a great potential for interaction designer and personally I don’t mind working with it, even if its interface can definitely be improved and be made more intuitive. However, it has a big limit, not many people use it or know it at all.
The work I’ve done with it was quite complex after all, I spent weeks on it which were surely useful to learn using the software, but what I didn’t really like of it, it’s probably due to its main problem, there are little or no information on the internet about that. Most of the times that I had an issue, I had to ask Nicolas (the master of Max) for help. Here is the whole patch I used for my project.

Still with Oliver in the first term we had an introduction to processing, which was then deepen by the wise David in the last weeks. I like its immediacy of visual response to the code, you can literally see whatever you write almost in real time. However, even though I like coding, programming is not my favourite sport. As things got a bit too logic and mathematics I lost a bit the track.

Same thing happens with JavaScript, I’m fascinated by its potential and I like to see the outcomes of what is done with it, however even though I’m getting familiar with it, I still find it quite difficult. As well as for processing I’d like this language for some project in order to finally learn it properly.

Just this morning Tom had a class on Node.js, besides understanding what can be done with this platform and how to use it, I learned how to use a terminal, how to get APIs and what json are about. With node.js we created a photobooth function which allowed us to post pictures on Twitter. This function is actually exactly the same I used for my project in the first term Glass-Mill, but then Tom did most of it and I didn’t understand how things were actually happening.

Here is a picture of Tom trying the photobooth app yesterday night and posting by mistake on my account of Glass-Mill (of which he doesn’t have the password to remove the picture obviously 😀 ).

Then comes Arduino. Starting from the point that I prefer softwares than hardwares and I don’t really like to make my hands dirty with cables and solderers, I quite enjoyed making my project with it, continuously annoying Tom and David with my help requests. Many times problems were solved just by moving a cable, which distractedly I put in a wrong place. Indeed, I must say that all I have done with Arduino has been pretty simple and straightforward, but at the same time seldom I had problems with the code, I always found solutions and help online for it.
Here is the code I used for my social object project:

Finally, I enjoyed for the first time to 3d print an object right away. During my BA I spent days creating models with wood sticks, poliplat and glue, so as I discovered that I could print anything I wanted just sending a .dtl file to Tom or David I really wanted to try that. The occasion arrived with the super secret project for NASA and Channel 4 during the first term. It was really nice to send the file at 1am to Tom and find it printed in the morning.  And again, with an object for my first term major UCD project.


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