Reflecting on my overall growth as a designer, I have gown far beyond what I expect when I started the Master. With the design of interactive artefacts under siege by continuous lockdowns, I buried myself in literature and gradually shifted my focus to approaches, practices, theory, frameworks, through which I can confidently say I have become an expert in conducting Design & Research Processes. As software development filled the void left by tangible artefacts, proficiency in programming became a valuable skill that enabled me to design the prototypes I could once only imagine. With a strong basis in coding C/C++ and Java with Arduino and Processing and sufficient knowledge in posting and requesting data from servers through courses provided, I became become proficient in using other editors and integrated development environments like Visual Studio Code, Eclipse and Visual Studio. A process through which I learned to make use of SDKs, cloud infrastructures and a variety of frameworks for development (e.g., React.js, Next.js, Express.js, /psi (C#), Google Console, Azure Cloud Platform/Azure Cognitive Services). Where I could not grasp the concept of machine learning, let alone designing with and for machine learning, I now understand its principles and the mathematical concepts underlying these and feel confident in integrating these in design processes.
I continuously pushed myself to find the next challenge and developed a unique profile as a designer, which is characterized by strong social cognition and technological skills to produce fully experiential interactive prototypes of high-fidelity. I have come to learn that being creative means to be open to exploration and interpretation, for which I employ a creative mindset under the motto: “Shoot for the stars, land on the moon”. Meanwhile, aesthetic design – to me – is defined by elegance, efficacy and ease of use. These definitions constitute the foundation through which I have developed my unique profile as a design researcher. Which had a catalyzing effect on my development in the competency areas User & Society, Technology & Realization and Math, Data & Computing, through which already blurred lines between the latter two became non-existent. Integrating creativity towards realization of aesthetic design, research and practice as described, has proven to produce remarkable results in both outcome and personal development. Whether it is analyzing societal problems and collecting perspectives, ideating, conceptualizing, conducting user studies, prototyping, creating a research setup, hard- and software use, enhancing code mathematically, collaborating, communicating, organizing or even writing and dealing with scientific information: there is literally no limit in aspects to consider Creativity & Aesthetics in Design and Research Processes.
In my career as design researcher, I will continue to improve on maintaining a balance between creating an interesting piece of technology, conducting research and documenting the knowledge generated through these. Though I still find it challenging to frame my work as a designer, I possess the knowledge and skills to overcome these challenges.