Thursday, January 31, 2013

pro practice: career goals

my philosophy about my life at this point is this: i'm young and have nothing tying me down after school, so why not use the opportunity to explore different cities and cultures while i can? i still am fairly new to kansas city, so there is the chance that i may stay put a tad longer, but i'd really like to check out some new cities and get a feel for a new setting and atmosphere. just moving here, i've learned so much. it's crazy to think how much more i could learn as i work in different places with different types of people. i'm excited to have that freedom.

while i've sort of started looking at some specific places to work after school, but i feel like i need to do more research before i can confidently begin naming places. i'm currently interning at Liquid 9 as a motion graphic intern which is giving me the professional experience i want in motion graphics. while this is something i'm really into, i think see myself working in more of an interactive design setting, doing either web and mobile design or other screen based work. motion is still great to know in these settings, so i'm glad to be getting that experience now. i'm actually considering doing a second internship this semester at DEG Digital in Overland Park. that seems even more up my alley. if this goes really well, i could end up staying in kansas city to continue the experience, but i'd definitely still like to keep my options open and apply to different cities as well. i've heard great things about new york, san francisco and austin for the stuff i'm interested in. so those are some cities i'd like to look more into.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

degree project: week 1

How can independent musicians from different areas collaborate and connect musically through interactive design?

question explained:
Finding people with the same music interests as you isn't always easy, especially when you come from a small town. I know this from experience. I grew up in a tiny little town called Plainview, Nebraska and throughout high school I really started becoming interested in making music. I loved exploring and learning more about making music on my own, but from high school to college I was often wishing I had others to explore this with. Also, I guess you could say my taste in music isn't exactly "normal", especially when you're surrounded by people that mostly listen to country and top 40. I would have loved (and would still even love) a tool that could connect me with people with similar music tastes and allow me to collaborate our talents to make music together.

I've now discovered a whole new set of talents and ambitions that allow me to make such a beneficial tool exist. One of my favorite things about being a designer is the ability to inspire others and give them the power to make things happen. What better way to inspire others and give them a tool to connect and express themselves than through music? Current limitations could vary from living in a place with limited access to like-minded musicians, or suffering from any form of social anxiety that prevents a musician from sharing their talents. I want to connect musicians everywhere so there's no limitations, so there's no barriers to them connecting with each other.

I've started gathering some inspiration and resources in a dropmark folder here: [degree project dropmark]
After exploring some already existing tools similar to what I'm hoping to do, I've noticed some common limitations such as the following:

  • broad audiences - not really ways of easily finding others that would be a good fit with user
  • most are websites - extra steps of finding good recording devices, recording, uploading to computer, editing, and then uploading to site - too many obstacles to make it a really easy, fun experience
  • few apps out there expect you to collaborate with app instrument. this gets in the way of musicians being able to utilize actual music talents and getting as in depth with music.
  • interfaces are sort of all over the place. some ugly and too complex, others trying too hard to imitate actual instruments and devices. they aren't simplifying the experience enough.
  • lack of involvement - many websites i've looked at so far seem sort of dead. i don't think there's enough inspiring people to use these tools yet, or they're just to complex to be involved in on top of our busy lives.

Exploring these limitations have lead me to explore solutions such as those mentioned in my previous blog post: more specific audiences, more of a social network, more inspiring, ways to integrate real instruments, etc.

things to remember along the way:

  • make a useful tool that facilitates experience rather than imitating it digitally
  • think more about desired outcomes and behaviors
  • set stage for others to perform without telling them how to
  • seamless transitions

next step?

  • keep researching
  • test out some current tools
  • scope out possible interviews
  • narrow audience

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

degree project: process template

template to track my process into for the next 13 weeks. the design is subject to change as project continues.

Monday, January 28, 2013

degree project: refined question and beginning thoughts.

Over winter break, I began doing some online research and came across a ton of really great resources, inspiration and studies relating to my previous degree project proposal question: how can interactive design be used to inspire unsigned, independent musicians to collaborate and connect musically from different areas? But amongst my research I also found that where I've been sort of heading with this idea is starting to be done in other places. There's a few, not many, but a few iPad apps that are already getting at this idea of collaborating musically. While I've sort of been leaning towards the idea of doing an iPad app, I'm not completely set on this yet. I'd also like to explore some other interactive options and opportunities that this could exist. So the questions I've been asking myself so far (and this will probably grow more for my post on Wednesday) are the obvious: what is lacking?; what doesn't exist yet?; most importantly, how can this tool be unique and more useful than already existing methods?  Here are some ideas I've explored so far:

  • more specific audience? perhaps specifically indie artists, or unsigned artists? or both? certain age group? music students?
  • simplified? more of a music social network? inspiring youth to experiment with music together? band former?
  • or more complex? like involving real instruments? are experienced musicians going to want to compose music on an app instead of their real instruments? they wouldn't be able to get as in depth with music or utilize actual music talents. what if it's a tool that works with current instruments?
So at this point, I'm not sure if I'm really in the right spot or if I'm taking a step back. I know for a fact my question still has yet to evolve some and will become more specific once I begin exploring all these different options. So my question right now hasn't evolved too much, but it's a tad more broad:

How can independent musicians from different areas collaborate and connect musically through interactive design?

And luckily, I'm not scared (yet) of where I'm going with this, even though there's so many different possibilities at this point. I'm really, really, REALLY excited to see what happens and work with so many different things that I'm passionate about. Really excited. eek!

senior presentation: education summary and degree project proposal.

end of semester presentation of past projects and degree project proposal.