Design Camp Waterloo - Part I

Design Camp Waterloo - Part I

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Last Thursday (May 17), University of Waterloo students put on the first Design Camp in the area. Design Camp seeks to draw out local and student digital designers to provide them with the opportunity to showcase their work and collaborate with fellow designers. The event was very successful and a great reflection of what design is about in my opinion: creatively solving problems. There were two parts to the design camp: designer presentations and design challenges. I'll talk about designer presentations in this post and design challenges in the following post.

Room Setup for Design Camp

I like how Design Camp organizers consider the creative and collaborative nature of the event and chose the Student Life Center at UW as the location for the event.  

  • Open area is inviting. The location is a lounge area, so many people walked by to observe or join in the event.
  • Flexible room layout is good. The event room was filled with couches and round tables. It was comfortable to sit around and listening to presentations. Moreover, these couches were turned around to face tables during the design challenge period to provide a close collaboration environment.

Designer Presentations

Designer Presentations encouraged designers to inspire and be inspired by other designers. There were a total of six short presentations from various design backgrounds presented by students and local UX professionals. Most of these presentations illustrated how design or design method can solve practical problems. Just to highlight a few:

 

Bob Barlow-Busch presented a case study that shows the up-front work(e.g. user research) designers can do to change the strategy of a company. The case study he presented was an excellent example of how important it is to research your target users. As designers or product managers, you may think you know your users (e.g. their behaviors and mental models), but you'll be surprised. p.s. Bob and Navid Sadikali from Agfa started a UX group in Waterloo. Their next meeting in on June 14 at the Accelerator Center on UW campus.


Scott Kish
presented using medical illustrations as evidence for injury analysis in trail. This is area why I never associated design with. Thus, it was fascinating to see the illustrations, and how they simplify the tasks of depicting the anatomical damages traditionally based on X-ray films.
Two UW students Thomas Dimson and Don McKenzie presented a truly awesome application called Waterloo Course Qualifier. They created a practical web application using Ajax that generates all possible course timetables without time conflicts. This was always a painful task to go trough at the beginning of each semester as I remember. I like how they showed the design iterations for the application UI. I'm sure this tool will be popular among students.  :) p.s. Check out Don's homepage - it's very creative.

 See Barnaby's and Allison's photos sets for more Design Camp pictures.

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  • Following Part I of Design Camp, I'll talk about the design challenge in the post. The Challenge The

  • I think one of the biggest wins of Design Camp Waterloo was the triangular bond that was created between professionals, students and faculty members. It showed that professionals, students and faculty have a strong desire to connect with each other on one plane, and this connection can open up a whole new dimension to the UX field.

    To ignore the design work that is being done by students, while pursuing their degrees, would be absurd espcially when a vast co-op system is already in place to foster that talent.

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