Final Product + Reflective Essay

As I have shown in the previous pages, I am creating a visualisation for an interactive paint balling experience in quarries down at the Jurassic Coast.

After creating all of the Images and animations, I have edited together the final promotional video. The video is there to demonstrate the potential of the paintball masks and how they are innovative. I really do believe if this was materialised, my target audience (and others) would definitely be attracted to the Jurassic Coast.

Here is my final promotional video:

Reflective Essay

In this essay I will be talking about the project I have just completed and my experiences throughout it. Reflecting back on the research, design stages and final products, I am going to discuss how I felt it all went and what I would do differently next time. Driscoll’s model of reflection will become a base for this essay using his ‘what, so what, now what’ strategy to talk about how I felt about something, why I felt that way and what I would do differently next time. I will also be using the Iterative design cycle to show how I completed the project and why I did things the way I did. I believe it is important to write reflectively as it gives you a closure to the project and you can learn from it. Moving from one project to another without looking back means you effectively won’t improve much as you haven’t looked back at what worked well and what didn’t.

To begin, I will be discussing how my research went for the project. Research is the first stage in the iterative design cycle. I decided to stick to this instead of the waterfall method due to the constant cycling back through the stages, meaning the work is much more thoroughly thought out and tested. I believe this was the better process to use due to the high level of designing in the project. I needed constant feedback to know whether my designs were looking good and would work for the client. I received this feedback from my peers and feel it was extremely beneficial to me. As with every project, I needed to define a target audience to whom I would be creating my product/experience for. As we were instructed to go for an audience who doesn’t involve ourselves, I wanted to go for one that I know a bit about. Due to working at a go-kart track, I have a lot of customers who are office workers on work events. My primary research about the target audience was effectively almost complete due to this. I am happy with the choice I made with the target audience as I was very confident with it and believe that it is a market others will not have targeted and therefore my project will be unique.

The first problem I had with the project was not knowing anything about the Jurassic Coast. I felt a little bit worried about having to attract an audience when I haven’t been there myself. Due to this problem, we had a visit to the coast to gather research. This trip was extremely helpful to me as I could get a wider insight as to what is already down at the coast and what I could bring there to attract my target audience. I took a range of photos and got a lot of inspiration. In future I will definitely plan visits to places I am doing projects on. The main inspiration I had from the trip was Portland and the stone around. Conducting primary research was very useful to me with this project. After visiting the coast, I decided to contact the Managing Director of Albion Stone, the only company now quarrying in Portland. I asked if I could if there were any unused quarries and if I could visit them. I feel this helped me a lot as it showed me that there is no harm in asking for things no matter what they are. I believe this gave me a boost over others as I could use a unique location that no one else knew was there. After making a trip to the quarries and taking more photos, I got more inspiration for the project and decided I would use it for paintballing. It also occurred to me, taking photos of all the research I do is extremely helpful as you can always look back and remember what you saw. I feel making this trip was very advantageous to me and in future, I will definitely make the extra effort to conduct further research on projects. After deciding on an idea, I then needed to conduct further research into who would be my client for the project and who would be interested in using my ideas. This part of the research was very easy and I felt it went well. I decided on using Delta Force as a company who would be interested as they are the number one paintballing company in the UK and are still growing.

The final part of my research was looking at already existing technologies and what I could use/create with my product. This went very well as I straight away found exactly what I needed (interactive ski goggles) due to already knowing a little bit about them. I believe sticking to what you already know can be very beneficial when it comes to ideas. In future I will definitely try and stick to what I already know as it means I can develop better ideas myself due to already being on the right track towards them. I also feel it was advantageous that I really enjoyed looking into what technologies are out there and what I could use in my project. This meant I kept a strong interest throughout the project and I believe I have achieved good results from it. It is sometimes easy to slip into giving yourself a challenge and not producing work to a high standard so I believe keeping it simple and interesting was a good choice. I used the technological research to create a short video demonstrating what I will be doing for the project, which I presented and got feedback from. I found creating the video helped me solidify ideas and visualise how the product could turn out in the end. I feel this was an extremely helpful process as I got some very good feedback. Knowing that my thoughts and ideas were good and on the right track helped me feel secure and confident with continuing the project how I was. In the future, I will definitely pursue feedback from the work I do by giving presentations and asking for comments for this reason.

I will now move on to discuss the second stage of the project, the prototyping and development. This stage, as a whole, I believe went quite well. The image manipulation on Photoshop went well due to the experience I have with it and the simplicity of the images themselves. Creating the images themselves really helped me, as while I was doing it, more ideas would flow into my head which I then went on to use. Whether or not I would use the images didn’t matter, as the process of creating them itself was very helpful with continuing with the project. I will definitely continue this method of designing in the future as in the long run, it saves a lot of time thinking. I also believe that creating the images was very helpful as they really helped me convey my ideas across. Due to the idea of using a paintball mask, I thought it best to use animation to demonstrate how I think it should look. I have had some experience with 3D animation and looked forward to creating the videos. The first part of the animating went very well with creating the basic shapes as I learned some new techniques that I will use again in the future like the Boole tool and some new material properties. I believe I was a little too ambitious with designing the paintball mask itself though. This was very time consuming and frustrating because of the shape of the mask I wanted to create. Due to not being able to get the results I wanted, I then had to make the decision to change the design to just the lens. I believe this meant I did not get as good a result as I wanted but I still got the idea across of how the mask would work. I feel if I was going to use animation in the future again, I will need to spend time developing my skills first in order to be able to accomplish more complex goals with designing.

The final part of the essay will now include my views on the end product and the project itself. I feel that the product I created in the end was how I wanted it to be and am very pleased with it. I set out to convey my ideas through the use of photos, animation and video editing and definitely believe I have done this in a clear, well-designed way. I feel the product would attract the target audience if it was put into production. The animation in my opinion could have been better if I enhanced my skills in that area but I feel that I completed what I set out to do. In the future I would set more achievable goals if I was going to animate again. Though saying this, I feel that I achieved what I wanted and have produced an effective piece of work. I feel that the project itself was very interesting and went very well. I liked the fact we had a topic we didn’t know much about as it tested my creativity skills. I also thought it was very beneficial to have a project where we had to stick to a real life design process like the iterative design cycle and conduct physical research where we visited the place itself. I feel the project was very enjoyable with the freedom of it and simulation of real life processes such as prototyping and client/audience research. If I had a similar project in the future I feel I would need to plan more with respect to achievable goals with the technology I am going to use. I would definitely learn the technology more and experiment with others before setting out with a definite idea. I would keep my research methods the same as I feel they were very effective and helped a lot. I would also stick to the iterative design cycle as this helped me a lot with keeping the project on track and on time, with the best results.

To conclude, I have spoken about how I felt the different parts of the project went, from the research process to the development and prototyping and finally, the finished product and project. I have discussed how I would change certain elements if I was doing a similar project again in the future and also what I would keep the same. I believe by writing this essay it has helped me reflect back on the project and how well it went. I can look to the future and benefit by looking deeply on how this turned out and what differences I will make for next time. I can now have closure on the project knowing exactly what I got out of it and can make improvements upon my design and working practices. I can also see what I am good at and combining this with improvements will enhance my work for the future.

References

Beaumont, C. 2007. Design Thinking in London » Using Activity Centred Design for Innovation. [online] Available at: http://blog.designerfromidaho.com/using-activity-centred-design-for-innovation/ [Accessed: 5 Dec 2013].

Clum, L. 2013. Understanding Agile Design and Why It’s Important | Design Shack. [online] Available at: http://designshack.net/articles/business-articles/understanding-agile-design-and-why-its-important/ [Accessed: 5 Dec 2013].

Nicolls, B. 2013. How to write a reflective essay. [online] Available at: http://www.slideshare.net/b.nicolls/how-to-write-a-reflective-essay [Accessed: 11 Dec 2013].

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