samara.watkiss@ac4d.com

Alumni

Samara Watkiss

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Samara studied Art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Cross-Cultural Communication with a focus on Spanish and Arabic at Tufts University. She has been a set designer, built pedal-powered machines in Guatemala, and worked with refugee families in the Salt Lake school system. Since 2012 she has lived in the Boston area and worked as an Interaction Designer at InContext Design.

An avid traveler, bicycle-commuter, kindness-proponent and cook, Samara looks forward to joining Austin’s flourishing community of designers and entrepreneurs. She is also excited to get to know the city’s running trails and music scene and to eat a lot of good Mexican food.

 

Recent blog posts

What is Design Fiction: Constraints, Technology & Culture

All of the articles we read for the “Technology-Strange and Familiar,” section of our theory class, address our ability to understand the role of technology in society. Specifically, each author looks at the way we are limited in our understanding of technology’s role either by being too close to see clearly or too far away.…

Design Ethic: Connecting Intent, Method & Result

All of the authors we read for the section of our theory course entitled “power” agree that design is powerful social force. They vary however in how they view design, whether it is simply a collection of methods that can be applied regardless of intent, as Martin suggests, or it is fundamentally defined by its…

The Best Intentions: above average results

For the “With best intentions” section of our final theory course we are reading an article on international development by Michael Hobbes,  an article on the role of private corporations in alleviating poverty by Aneel Karnani, and an article about the focus of creative energy in corporations by Jon Kolko.  Each author uses the same basic structure…

Tipping point: Established testing protocol and making it up as we go along

Part 1: How do you Test for that? Way back in Quarter 1 in our theory course we talked about lateral thinking. Lateral thinking describes part of the creative process that allows us to jump sideway (or laterally) from a logical progression of thought to a parallel path. In retrospect, the connection with the parallel…

Recruiting Participants for User Testing

We are three students in the Interaction Design and Social Entrepreneurship program. We are developing a service to help people balance day-to-day enjoyment of their lives with their financial goals of paying down debt or saving. (Learn more about our project). We have the idea, now we need your help to test it! We are…

In the end there can be only one…

Designers are always talking about killing babies. Don’t worry, it’s a metaphor. In this case, the babies are ideas, our ideas. And like parents, we can get pretty attached, pretty quickly. Nonetheless, we’ve had to kill a lot of  ‘babies’ over the past few days. The dream team (Lauren Segapeli, Jeff Patton and myself) spent Q2…

High Fidelity – How to ask the right question

At Austin Center for Design one of the nicest things you can hear is Jon Kolko saying, “You made a thing. I’m proud of you.” You made a thing?  A major tenant of the curriculum is learning to make artifacts as tools to ask questions and make arguments. Ever step of our seven-week-long, iterative assignment to redesign…

A moving experience: Nearing the end of the CapMetro ReDesign

It’s week 7. That might not mean much to you, but to us here at Austin Center for Design it means we have 10 days left to finish out the second quarter of the Interaction Design for Social Entrepreneurship program. It also means that after spending the last six weeks working on redesigning the smart…

Everything to everyone: CapMetro redesign iteration 4

Last night I did my third round of user testing at one of my favorite bars in Austin. For those of you who are just tuning in, the quarter-long assignment for the methods class is to redesign the smart phone app for Austin’s public transportation system. Each week we are creating updated wireframes, which are…

Innovation, Provocation and Service Blueprints (plus a short rant)

Over the course of the last four weeks I have been learning about the principles and tools of service design in our Q2 theory course. Service design is a subset of interaction design that involves the coordination of actions and artifacts to provide value for another. This past week I was assigned to read Service…

Week 4: The Cap Metro redesign continues

For the last four weeks we have been working on redesigning the CapMetro Public Transit smart phone app in our Methods course. A new tool to help us with the redesign process was introduced for each of the first three weeks. The first week we created a concept map of the existing CapMetro app and…

Learning by doing: Cap Metro redesign Update

I love the curriculum at Austin Center for Design because I am never learning just one thing. This is also the reason I spend a reasonable percentage of the time feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and like I need to spend the next 48 hours bingeing on batman (the animated series), but I digress. This week I…

Servicescapes to Cityscapes: Using service design tools to understand social problems

One of the things that has been most compelling to me in our service design course so far this quarter are examples of using service design tools to understand non-commercial social interactions. In that vain, as I read Mary Jo Bitner’s “Servicescapes: The Impact of Physical Surroundings on Customer and Employees,” I imagined how her framework…

Expanding orders of design

In his article, Interaction Design and Service Design: Expanding a Comparison of Design Disciplines, Stefan Holmlid builds on the Orders of Design, originally proposed by Richard Buchanan and a comparison between industrial design and digital interaction design by Edeholt &Lowgren, to investigate the similarities and differences between digital interaction design and service design. Buchanan’s Orders…

The critique you seek

The most exciting thing about rapid iteration is seeing the delta between attempts. I’m hoping that at the end of this evening I’ll be celebrating a big delta between last week’s critique and this week’s. It’s not that my work got torn apart last week, actually, the kind of the opposite. Although, I knew what…

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