Early this month, user experience (UX) designers Melissa Kuo (Art BFA 14) and Golden Krishna (Art BFA 10), now both employees at Google, led a week-long practicum called "User Experience Design," open to students in CalArts' Program in Graphic Design.
The practicum was meant to walk students through the typical product design process, one day at a time. Students went to the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center and got to know its residents and their concerns. The students then worked in teams to design solutions for each senior's needs, which they pitched at the senior center on the last day of the workshop.
In an email, Kuo described the class and its learning objectives:
We hoped to give a broad introduction to the world of user experience, both the design and the research side, and help the students "learn by doing" with small exercises to practice these skills. Empathy is extremely important in UX Design, so we gave the students the opportunity to chat with seniors—people who are very different from them—and understand the challenges they face on a daily basis. We wanted to make it clear that it's all about understanding people and solving their problems, not just about designing a pretty screen-based app.
Kuo and Krishna also conducted portfolio reviews with the students, together with fellow alumnus and Google employee JP Gil (Art BFA 02).