Week 1: MS Strategic Design + Management @ Parsons

Just started my part-time MS of Strategic Design and Management at Parsons this week. It's been a bit hectic figuring my schedule because my Thursday section was cancelled, but I think I've landed on a final schedule!

Here are the classes I am taking for my Fall semester:

Managing Creative Teams
I'm really interested in this course because it's directly related to what I'm doing right now. Our Week 1-2 readings involve Lean UX and Getting to Yes. The projects seem to involve service design and I'm excited to form and meet my team because I'll be able to practice skills I will hopefully be able to take to working with project teams in the future.

Sustainable Business Models
This is a higher-level class that focuses on the firm-level. During my first class, we had a roundtable discussing the ideas of sustainability and how there is a tension between being able to last and adapting through changes. This is a toughie because older companies tend to have legacy systems that are resistant to change...so is the solution to work with younger companies or tech companies that embrace innovation?

SD + M New Economies
New Economies embraces strategic design at a macro level --the economy. During the first class, we looked at a nonprofit's business model and whether it would work in a corrupt country. We considered systems and how design might be able to play a role in effecting a change...whether a small change can make a big change. Or whether big changes can effect wide-scale behavioral changes.

There's been a lot of reading this week and I feel that I'm learning a lot of economics and theory. I was a women's studies major, so my background about econ basically involves friends who wanted to be econ professors. My program is a creative business Masters Degree, so I get the best of business chops in design school.


40 Girls Who Code: Facilitation Workshop

"There will be 40 girls. We'll split into 4 groups of 10."

Those words struck fear and excitement in me. Earlier this month, I'd volunteered to help run a design thinking workshop for Girls Who Code. In this workshop, I'd help facilitate a design activity with 3 other female designers. The high school girls were split into teams of 10 and we each had to help them solve a prompt.

Our prompt was: How can we create a mentoring app for Maria (our persona), a high school girl who wants to be a policewoman, to get advice?

The girls in the team I worked with came up with brainstormed ideas in paper sketches separately. They identified the strong sketchers, and combined their ideas into a master paper prototype.


Some ideas I found really interesting were links to Quora, Podcasts, and other resources to create a library for advice.

My best takeaway from this workshop was from my team themselves. One of the louder voices on the team stepped aside to give one of the quieter girls with many great ideas the chance to present. This was a great example of women supporting women, and a real example of true leadership!

Great Design Systems: Aalto University

In my SVA Continuing Education class, we talked a lot about Design Languages. How can we best create the look and feel of a brand?

We took a look at educational organizations and I found Aalto University's design system to be really unique.

Here are a few images from Google and Aalto University (which is in Finland):


Aalto 2.jpg
Aalto 3.png
Aalto 4.png

UX + Animation in Social Media

I've been thinking a lot about the UX of social media lately. Instagram is currently the most relevant platform and I am trying to think about how to create the best Instagram experience. In

1. Branding
Consistent visual language is essential. How do you show off your brand while reflecting your personal self? Everyone is a brand. I personally think there is a trade-off. You either focus more on your professional work, or you focus on your personal life. It's hard to balance either --so as a designer, you make the choice of what to focus.

2. Animation
People stay on animations/videos longer. In comparison to flat designs, Instagram users will linger on video content longer. This makes sense because users can easily scroll past flat design on a feed, whereas animation or video will keep a user's attention for maybe 6-7 seconds.

But how might we create an experience that allows users to ENGAGE with an animation/video?

3. IGTV - What is this?
Instagram is trying to come at Vine and Youtube with IGTV. Ideally, IGTV would have been within the Instagram platform, instead of requiring users to download another app. However, Instagram users can definitely

 So my question is: What's a good IGTV Experience? Is it a short minute long clip, similar to Instagram Stories or Instagram Live? Why would users choose to use IGTV over Stories or Live? Stories is the most commonly used and seamless experience --what makes IGTV better?