Tag Archives: design thinking

Design thinking

The principles behind the agile manifesto reminds me of a graphic design event I participated in last semester where a number of professionals (trained in the university and self-taught) shared their common experiences with clients and expectations. They essentially pointed to these as the three tentpoles for successful projects:

  • Clients and developers working daily throughout the process and communicating face-to-face as much as possible (As opposed to just the start and final moments)
  • Building projects around motivated individuals. Having an enthusiastic (and understanding) attitude when considering the necessary granular work for a project is going to keep most developers from quitting.
  • Working simply and building on working software in small steps while communicating clearly the short term goals that have been met along the way.

That same event was effective in demystifying the magical “in between” the start and finish of projects. Standing with the aforementioned tentpoles as a foundation and communicating what what has been done before, what’s possible and what we could “try,” in the most straightforward, logical way brings every difficult project into a better perspective.

It was also helpful to go through the qualities of the Twenty Seventeen theme. It’s also a great coincidence that we’re on the subject of adding autoplay video/audio to the front page of a website as MySpace recently experienced its massive loss of songs added (generally on the front page). Overall, I am excited to continue adding to my personal website.

I’m still trying to learn the merits of PHP working within HTML (and needing a server) as opposed to linking to a JavaScript document, and I believe I’ll have to go through the previous assignment with some assistance (which I wrote natively and added as one commit when I realized later it should have been multiple granular edits along the way).

Trying to Take It All In

Out of all the topics we have learned in class, I was hoping I could hide away from PHP. I was sure that I made an enemy out of PHP with my lack of understanding of its functions. During the past two classes, I have questioned Greg and Laura about the purpose of PHP and I am proud to say that I have at least made progress with my understanding of php from this week’s assignment.

Since I originally started out pretty desperate for PHP help, I made it a priority to read a little more on PHP so I can learn some cool tricks before digging into the assignment. One of my favorite PHP tricks is the ability to create forms! I was happy to see something PHP-related work on my homepage because I initially came in thinking nothing would work. However, there were a few PHP tricks that didn’t work on my homepage prototype and I know I still have a lot to learn. How do you know if the cookies function from PHP works on your page if cookies are more behind-the-scenes?

After taking a glance at the Twenty Seventeen on GitHub, I noticed that there were many PHP files. Is it easier to create many files rather than place all the PHP code within HTML or one PHP file? I don’t quite understand why there are so many files for twenty-seventeen here.

On a lighter note, I found the design thinking reading to be mind-blowing and change the way I think about web development. In particular this quote allowed me to think of web development as a creative skill, “when you add ‘thinking’ to the word ‘design, it’s no longer about color or decoration. It’s now about process. It’s about getting to a more intentional outcome. It’s about thinking about the experience of the customer, user, and employee.” Basically, web development falls into the design realm since it is a process where a lot of thinking is involved as witnesses in this class, right?

Design Thinking

The PHP assignment for this week was interesting. I am not a big fan of PHP and I do not find it as useful as I would like it to be. I am sure PHP is very useful for people who know how to use it well.

The Twenty Seventeen reading was full of information. The design they offer makes it easy for us to use WordPress and work on adding various features to our website. The different parts of the theme are well organized for the user to simply add content.

The concept of an agile development process is rather new because it offers continuous work and feedback on a project. Early and continuous delivery are key in this method. The project must be worked on daily. Both the business people and developers must work together. There needs to be open chains of communications to make sure everyone is on the same page and understands the timeline expected. A working piece of software is the ultimate goal. The project must have intervals with various deadlines and, once feedback is given after each deadline, the developers can go back and make changes.

Design Thinking is a concept that is heard frequently. The concept has a positive connotation and it discusses the new approach by companies which has helped them become more successful. It is a design methodology to solve complex problems by drawing upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systematic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be. The author believes that Design Thinking is just a different name for Design. It offers nothing new. Creating a design is not just making something look good, but it is also about problem solving and finding an end-to-end solution. Many companies push back the design aspect of a project till the very end. This is because they think they need to create a product and at the end create its design and make it look nice. This is a wrong approach. Design, which is now called Design Thinking, should be introduced early on in the game, in order to find solutions to the problem and cater to the user’s needs. Therefore, changing the name from Design to Design Thinking, non-designers are now looking at design in a more complex matter.  It’s using the basic, proven tools of design to the maximum effect. This new name to Design has given designers more power and authority especially at the beginning of the project, which is a plus.

Rethinking – Design Thinking!

Apart from the WordPress documentation and the customizing features — from the header  media, to adding still images and videos to the the front pages of a website, color customization, among other creative features — the instructions seem fairly straight forward.  I was, however, wondering how incorporating the programming languages like HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, jQuery etc will be — maybe I am just overthinking it.

The traveler with the stone soup!

The most interesting read was from the piece on design thinking and how a mere change of an old concept could alter public perception of it. The “traveler with the stone soup” allegory was brilliant and precise in helping to demystify the somewhat esoteric view of “design thinking.” Frankly, I fall within the ranks of the many who viewed design as an after thought and not a solution mechanism as the writer intelligently opined.

I didn’t quite understand the codes on GitHub part, I tried checking the content of a few of them and the skipped to the next readings. The agile best practices link went straight to the Plural Sight website. I’m not sure if that is the right page, so I googled the Agile best practice video on YouTube. The principles behind the Agile manifesto and their desire to employ the best practices promote the best relationship between the human experience and software, is admirable.

“Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan”

After all, programmers do care about the impact and member experience of their clients, contrary to the general perception.

PHP + Design Thinking

This week, I struggled with PHP. I think it was more of a conceptual struggle. I didn’t know what to add to my homepage with PHP. I thought of it as a background language. I don’t know how to differentiate between languages that have functions that just spit out an answer, and languages that have clear functionality. I don’t understand the functionality of PHP. On web searches, I discovered how to make it spit out a date, and I saw that people used it to create forms but not how they implemented it into a page to do something.

Anyhoo, I added some PHP functions that I saw on the Internet and felt could be useful but didn’t see how they’d incorporate. However, on another web search I found resources like this one  that showed me a couple different uses.

Something that stood out to me in the readings today was the design thinking piece. I thought it was especially interesting because at ONA, one of the workshops we participated in was focused on design thinking. We were brainstorming different disciplines within journalism. We wrote each discipline on a sticky note, and then categorized them. Later, we tried formulating a new way to tell a story incorporating four stories from different categories. That workshop was helpful for me because having the problem and the solutions set out in front of me made them so much easier to conceptualize.

I thought it was interesting that designers have been harboring their way of thinking and the rest of us are just now catching on because some of it gave a new name. The piece and my experiences at ONA both made me want to delve deeper and find more creative ways to tell stories as a journalist.

Wrapping Up PHP and Reading Up on Project Management

A small update on last week’s PHP assignment because I was still having trouble with it on Wednesday: I think I was finally able to get my basic poll to work and show up correctly in my browser. After doing a bit more Googling, I think my issue had something to do with the way I was naming my files. Once I adjusted the name of my PHP and HTML files both in the code and in the individual file names, the poll ran correctly.

In terms of the readings for this week, I have to say being totally new to project management, it was a little difficult to keep up with our discussion last week. I was still confused about the difference between waterfall and agile methodology. However, the readings — especially the agile manifesto and the best practices video — helped me better understand the agile methodology at least. It kind of seems to me like this is the more popular method since it’s more team-oriented and focused on customer input?

I really enjoyed Jared Spool’s piece on design thinking, particularly the section about design being more than just a way to make things pretty, because that is an issue I’ve found myself having as I’ve begun working on my project. In terms of my project, I’ve been slow to start this week, but I hope to have a child theme created and begin working on a custom post type for my blog before Wednesday. I think I’ve been too caught up in thinking about how to make it look pretty — thinking about which theme is the best looking, what aesthetic I want — rather than remembering I need to be focusing on functionality and the idea, as Spool puts it, that design is about problem-solving and end-to-end solutions. On a less serious note, I also really loved his reference to the stone soup folktale because I’m pretty sure I heard the Russian version as a child. 

Finally, I’m including a link to my WordPress site here once again and want to give a shout out to Victoria for answering my questions about how to set it up last class! Also, here is where the code will show up on GitHub.

Web development sounds hard. But if you do it right it can be easy.

If someone told me, a former history major, that I would be enrolled in a web development class I would laugh at you. Then I would log off Twitter, because the trolls shouldn’t get you down. But… here I am. Ready to learn.

This week’s reading was a helpful collection of foundational texts for the class. Since I am starting out with no programming skills whatsoever it is helpful to read about how a lot of platforms aim to be as simplistic as possible.

The idea of simplicity not only as an esthetic but as a mindset was also discussed in Greg’s blog posts. Oftentimes journalists can get bogged down and not see the big picture. Thinking pragmatically and putting effort into making sure you’re being as effective as possible is an important mantra to have at the beginning of this class. I’m sure there will be a lot of bells and whistles that can be added to things, but remembering to stay in a minimalistic mind frame will be important for the class.

It also serves the actions of reporting as well. Sometimes I can get thrown into a tailspin looking for the perfect kicker, or spending an inordinate amount of time on things that a reader doesn’t care about. Getting out of my head and making sure that I’m working smart, and not hard, is an important lesson.

I also really enjoyed the basic primers of how the internet came about, and how it functions. It’s really easy to forget all the channels things have to go through to ping back and forth, and having a healthy sense of how things came to be from a historical and, well, factual standpoint can only help. When learning about a whole new field, a solid foundation of how we got to where we are today is important.

Overall, this coming semester looks like it will have challenges, but web development is a very exciting thing to dive into. After all, I use the internet for 95 percent of my job, so understanding how it works, and how we strive to make it simple is a good starting place.

GitHub profile: https://github.com/savvylee11