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Stop Being An Engineer. – A Wireframe For Engineers

Monday, November 12th, 2012 | Posted by Kevin Mccann

As a student of Interaction Design, I realize that we ‘interact’ with everything in our world. I have an interaction with my contact lenses every morning. I interact with my car and traffic as well. I’m interacting with my computer the AC4D website as I write this blog.  Some of these experiences are designed, while the majority are not.

This quarter we are designing a user interface for students to create their plan of study and enroll in classes. I fortunately had the (dis)pleasure of using a poorly designed text-based scheduling application while earning my undergraduate degree at Purdue University back in the early 2000’s.  I combined the skills we’re learning at AC4D with my knowledge of School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue to create a new course scheduling application for about 1,000 young electrical engineers.  As an engineer myself and engineers are target users, I first created some paper wireframes with very “busy” screens. I incorrectly figured that users like we would like to have some “extra control” over the process. After some Think-Aloud-Testing with my roommate and various classmates, I cleaned up the interface a bit to keep it all on just two screens.  I created a system to Block/Lock/Unlock sections of specific classes that a user may want to choose or avoid, while leaving unlocked classes up to random assignment.

KCM Scheduling Application Iteration 1

After presenting my wireframes to the class, I received feedback stating I should “stop being an engineer.” Fair advice, as I’ve never been that great of an engineer. Hopefully after the next iteration I’ll become a better UX designer.

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