#LifeManagementIsProjectManagement

It’s the end of the year. And though it was stressful, it’s over.

It took a lot to get through four fairly hard classes, and two part time jobs, a lot of time management. Kinda a bit like project management. There’s so many things going on at once and you do your best to make everything work. You work on a schedule and make sure that everything gets done on time and under budget (or in the case of school, in a time that gets you enough sleep). Personally, I think if you’re great at life management, you’d be pretty dang good at project management.

Basically, you need a few things for both life management and project management.

1. You need to know how to handle time. Basically know how much time it takes for you to do a certain activity, and how much effort you put into that.

2. Know how to handle money, or precious resources (aka sleep). You need to know how much of what it will take you to accomplish a goal. How much money you have to spend on resources or how much energy it takes to complete an assignment.

3. Know your people, or know yourself. You need to know the strengths and weaknesses of the people that you’re managing, just like in life you need to know yourself.

I think that’s basically it…good luck managing life, and good luck managing projects!

#LastMinuteProjects

Final projects. We’ve all had them. We all know how frustrating and terrible it is towards the very end of the project, and how hard we manage to work in an extremely short amount of time. It’s pretty impressive, actually. I mean, if we worked half this well the majority of the time, we’d have so much free time and so much less stress.

But, sometimes it comes down to the wire and you have to get things done in an insanely short amount of time. Here are some tips (that you might already know), but they truly help when doing a bunch of different things at once!

1) Always save. I don’t care who you are or how great you think your Alienware computer is, you better be saving that Solidworks file before it crashes. Because it will. And you will lose everything you’ve been working on for the past 5 hours, meaning you get to work another 5 hours before even being caught up to where you just were! Save your work, always!

2) Use images that are rasterized and editable via Adobe Illustrator. It helps when putting them into other documents and still lets you do so without having any nonsense white space around the image, plus it’s super easy to fix if you do! Experience has taught me these things…especially about being able to just take away the white space surrounding an image.

3) Layers. That’s all that needs to be said. Rather than having 14,000+ documents for different images or items that you’re working with, put them on different layers in the same document. It saves time and computer RAM. Thus, your whole project gets finished sooner. Also, don’t forget to label these layers or you’ll just make things worse for yourself.

Those are my three biggest tips for getting through projects at a fast pace, and doing it well. If you want to add another in there, go ahead and have some sort of app/software that allows you to see and respond to emails/texts/GroupMe messages/etc. from you laptop so you don’t have to waste precious seconds picking up your phone and responding to things through that. It might only be a few seconds, but add that up over a few hours and you just gained yourself 15 mins back!

#MyFavoriteThingNumberOne

I keep saying how much I hate water. I do. With a passion. But, for some odd reason I’ll drink it out of my Contigo Autospout water bottle. I told my mom if she ever buys me a water bottle and it’s not Contigo, I won’t use it. And that’s true, but here’s why.

I want to take my water bottle everywhere. That means it needs to go in a book bag, I have to be able to carry it easily and comfortably, and it could get dirty. The giant perks of this water bottle is that it does all of those! This water bottle is 24 oz, which is a bit larger than a typical recyclable water bottle, but it still easily fits inside a book bag (and won’t spill!) or in the mesh water bottle holder on the http://images.hepsiburada.net/assets/Outdoor/200/Outdoor_4082036.jpgoutside of a typical bag. The Contigo Autospout bottle is also very comfortable to carry, as it features a carrying loop wide enough for two or three fingers lined with rubber. This can be used to carry with your hand, or you can easily attach a carabiner to it to attach to a bag or bike. Continuing on this idea of a bike, this bike is extremely well designed for any outdoor activity. It requires no touching of the mouthpiece to open or close the bottle, but still http://www.gocontigo.com/skin/frontend/contigo/contigo/images/Addison_AUTOSPOUT_Care_And_UsePos1.pngprovides a great way to drink through a straw, plus the mouthpiece is covered and protected from dirt while closed. Overall, I have loved this water bottle for years and haven’t found another that I would ever replace it with.

#IBMVisitsTech

So, last week Seth Johnson came to Tech from the IBM Design Group to help a group of us learn more about design thinking. It was definitely a bit different from some of the others “brainstorming” sessions that I had ever done here at Tech. The think that Seth kept emphasizing throughout the entirety of the workshop, was to think about the experience rather than the product. Yeah, we as product designers like to focus on all the cool features that the product would have and often think about how the user will interact with said product, but that’s the extent to which we go. Thinking about specifically the EXPERIENCE is so much more. You don’t just think about how the user will interact with the product, but you take to time to think of the emotions drawn from the interaction with the product. As Seth gave us an example, don’t design “a vase”, design “a new way for a person to ENJOY flowers in their home.” There’s so much more emotion attached to the design, and also a good bit more freedom in what exactly you’re designing…because you’re not designing a thing, you’re designing the experience associated with it!

This really changed a lot of what I think about current projects, but also previous ones. Like, what kind of experience is turning a roaster over a fire to roast peanuts? It’s not. It’s boring and tedious. So, how could that experience be made better? Music coming from the roaster with every rotation? A Simon-like rotation pattern matching for the turning? ANYTHING could be changed to make that experience one that sticks out in the mind of the user as a great one, rather than a memory of “that was a decently made product.” I’m definitely planning on thinking on the experience from now on, rather than just the product in general.

#ToTrustOrNotToTrust

Autonomous cars. Scary or amazing? Maybe both?

There have been so many advancements in the automobile industry, as well in technology in general, these cars actually exist now. Here’s an example.

These cars are currently working with a steering wheel and foot pedals, but as the speaker in the video says, they will eventually disappear. There are so many positives to these: safety due to limited reckless drivers on the roads, being able to do things while on the road, allowing people who would not normally be able to drive the ability to get around, and even more! But, what would you think about letting a computer drive you around in a big city like London, NYC, or Beijing? Would you be willing to put your life in the hands of a computer that could be hacked or could simply have a bug in the code? What would it take for you to be able to trust this?

I think that the current young adult generation and those younger, may one day be able to put their faith in a computer guided vehicle, but those in generations that didn’t grow up around all this technology? I may be wrong, but I have a feeling many of them would be extremely distrusting of a completely autonomous vehicle.

Let me know what you think…would you or would you not put your faith in a completely autonomous vehicle?

#ImitationIsTheHighestFormOfFlattery

Smart watches are everywhere. But what are the key features? Sleek, clean lines, simple band, and just an overall simple look.
Now, it’s great, but somewhat annoying when people consistently mistake a $20 Armitron watch for any of the smart watches that exist on the market. It has the sleek look of a nice smart watch, but the plastic casing is scuffed to the max. Though I appreciate the compliments, a college student of my lack-of-calibre does not have the money to afford such niceties. I find it interesting that designers around the world are consistently designing cheaper products that are meant to imitate the highest caliber items that are on the market. Do they do that to make people think items being bought are “fancy” or do they simply like the design of items past and hope to imitate them for appearance purposes only?  Thoughts of today.

#StruggleBussingTheGraphicsSideOfThings

Maybe it’s just me. But I don’t think so. Let me tell you something, though, anything dealing with graphic design is an absolute nightmare with me. Yeah, I can now come up with some good, even maybe few great layout ideas, but it takes hours. And I don’t mean hours of being unfocused. I mean literal hours of being focused so much that it hurts. It’s kinda like writer’s block, except that’s something that I’ve never had any issues with. It’s…it’s…layout block? Is that a thing, or should I figure out the real name for this type of issue?

Anyways, I’m trying to figure out some good ways to get around this type block. This is what I got so far:

1) Listen to extremely abstract music and look at abstract art.

– Layouts don’t have to be perfectly boxy and in patterns, they can be kinda wild, and if you give yourself the chance to try that out, you might just find something perfect!

2) Watch a TV show.

– I know that seems kinda strange, but trust me, you can get a ton of ideas from what you see or think about while watching a TV show…especially crime shows that make you think outside of the box a lot.

3) Drink a ton of caffeine.

– Okay. On second thought, maybe that’s not the best way, but you’ll definitely have enough energy to stay up the bajillion of hours that it takes for you to come up with that perfect design!

Well, if you have any ideas on how to combat “layout block”, hit me up in the comments below!

#DoesEveryoneHaveADesignerInsideThem?

http://www.homedit.com/ikea-knuff-hacks/corner-shelf-knuff-hack/
Ikea Magazine Holder Shelf

Everything I’ve been looking at this week have been ways to repurpose existing items and using them for things you wouldn’t really think about. I’ve seen so many “Ikea hacks” where people take cheaper items from Ikea and use them for all sorts of things…that the item was not intended to be used for. Like…magazine holders as little shelves? See, what I wonder is this, if designers design for a specific use for something and find that people keep using their item for different uses, how does that make them feel? Do they reconsider the design they make? Or do they just go withimage000000 the flow, maybe even redoing the branding and advertisement surrounding the item? Personally, I constantly try to find different uses for items that I already have, especially if it’s an item that I don’t find any use for in the current state. Most recently is this “trophy” that our Capstone group received, and I turned it into a tiny shelf for my “wallet” by my door. *shrug* I suppose everyone finds their own use for items that they’re not sure what the intended use it. So, does that mean we as designers aren’t making it clear enough from just looking at the product what it’s intended to be used for? Or is it just showing the creative/design side in the rest of the world? Just a few things to think of…

(Magazine holder shelf photo can be found here )

#BulletsDon’tFlyWhenThey’reBent

Nerf guns. Everyone knows what they are, right?

They’re these little plastic guns that shoot foam bullets with soft rubbery tips to them. But what happens when a nerf gun bullet bends? It’s absolutely no good to the user. You see, foam is relatively moldable. If you squeeze it long enough, it’ll kind of just stay in the shape that you just had it in. And when the IMG_20150118_191604149entire gun relies on the fact that a spring-loaded piece of plastic will perfectly hit the foam part, what do you think will happen when your bullets are messed up, like this one? Well, they don’t shoot and they jam up the gun. Then you’re required to try and disassemble said gun in order to get out the jammed bullet and use the gun. Well, what if they simple  replaced that foam area on the end with the same type of rubber that they use on the tip? It would ensure that the end of the bullet would keep it’s shape, which would, in turn, help keeping the shape of the entire bullet a little easier.

Just a thought as I’m stuck sitting around, unable to do much besides shoot the people that walk down the hall towards me.

#TheClockKeepsTicking

I’m an Industrial Design student. Technically, a senior, but not graduating this year. Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone that little bit.

You see, I’ve hit this bump in the road to becoming a working professional. It’s this class called “Professional Practice”. Makes sense, right? Well, we took a self assessment and I realized that I’m not as experienced with some of the “traditional” industrial design practices as I thought I was. There’s so much about being a designer, and even owning a business that I wasn’t really ever aware of, nor did I care that much about…until now.

Seeing as that’s where I just realized I am, there’s a good amount of things to do in order to change this so that I can become a better designer. I definitely will have to practice some of my core skills. I mean, especially if I want to own a business someday (and it doesn’t even have to be related to design), there are gonna be skills that I’ll have to develop. I definitely think learning or reading up on some of this stuff would be good, even if I won’t be putting it to use in the near future. You never know when you’re gonna be called on to help out.

Cheers for now.