Looking Back

Even with severe dimentia, my grandma was able to weave these intricate patterns

Even with severe dimentia, my grandma was able to weave these intricate patterns

Thesis in General
Before I started working on my thesis last year, I wanted to have an end product that was either tangible and/or fully functional. As we approach the final stretch of thesis work this week, none of those goals have been accomplished (for me at least). In the past month, I’ve come to terms with this. I’ve realized that thesis (and interaction design for that matter) isn’t always about creating something tangible or fully functional in the end. For this particular project, it was more about the journey, rather than the destination (is there always one?).

The great breadth of researching, concepting, and prototyping along with the insights provided by the prototypes gave me a better understanding as to what it meant be an interaction designer. It opened me up to the idea of failing quickly after many failed attempts. It opened me up to having more conversations with others about my project. It opened me up to the idea of not having to have something polished in the end. Polish on shit is still shit, right?

Thesis also gave me a better idea as what to expect from a thesis.

  • Always expect your first idea to change. Always!
  • Kill your darlings – don’t be married to an idea. Refer to the point #1.
  • Comparing your thesis with someone else’s thesis is like comparing apples and oranges, unless both your projects involve fruits.
  • Paul Pangaro asks the right questions that will most likely blow your mind and have you scramming back to the drawing board. With that said, if you want to figure out early on whether or not your project has any holes, ask Paul Pangaro.
  • Despite the previous point, Paul Pangaro is still on your side.
  • Always document whatever you do, even if it may seem tedious at the time. It pays off in the end.

Memories Live On
I’m relieved that I went back to the topic of memories. Ever since the diversion from memories to physical activities last year, I was lost and lacked motivation in what I was doing. Before I headed further down the path of physical activities, Paul Pangaro was able to reel me back into what I genuinely cared about, the preservation of memories. Story Forest was my introduction into the world of memories and although it might not have directly addressed dementia patients, it informed me of the direction that I should be heading in.

And Finally, Thanks To

  • Jen Bove for being enthusiastic and motivating when I needed it the most
  • Rob Faludi for guiding me down the path of memories
  • Paul Pangaro for asking the most thought-provoking questions
  • Liz Danzico for the calm reassurance that everything will be fine
  • David Eng-Wong for helping me with all my prototyping, user journeys, and discussions about memories
  • Sera Koo for encouraging me from start to finish
  • William Lu for all those academic talks on memory
  • David Hou for lending me his awesome camera (30FPS, yes please!)
  • Derek Chan for lending me his tripod late one night
  • Clint Beharry for coming out that one night to Starbucks when the studio was closed and talking about how to visualize data in a meaningful manner
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