scott.gerlach@ac4d.com

Alumni

Scott Gerlach

Scott Wendall Gerlach is mild mannered fellow with serious hermetic tendencies. He is drawn out of his cave by his passion for exchanging ideas with thoughtful folks. He values clarification over simplification. At various points in his life he has been unmistakably obsessed with snails, lizards, snakes, bubbles, swimming, music, mathematics, tutoring, virtual smelting, rocket jumps, football strategy, gardening, and he always enjoys sharing with others.

Most recently he has been on a ruby on rails and javascript bender. Scott lives in Austin, Texas under a roof with his girlfriend Cheyenne Weaver and his dog Jackson where they get up to adventures and down with the boogie.

Recent blog posts

Building a pragmatic definition for sensemaking.

The one-year course at the Austin Center for Design is aimed at helping students build a framework for approaching interaction design in a way that builds autonomy for the designer while helping them address problems worth solving.  For me personally, some of the sharpest spikes in learning and independence have occurred when I am able…

Designing Meaningful Models for Interaction

Recently our class has been exploring modern design history and its intertwined relationship with computing technology and approaches to human and computer interactions.  Technology is both active and contextual in our lives and as a result any discussion of how humans and technology is characterized by both granular detail and broad societal trends. Designers are…

Design in Healthcare: Improving Support During Recovery

Over the last four months, as students at the Austin Center for Design, Jacob Rader, Bhavini Patel, and Scott Gerlach have been designing around healthcare.  As a result, we are now in the process of developing Recovery Text: a text messaging service to support patients as they recover.   It’s a simple, direct idea but one…

Healthcare: A Proposal for Supporting Recovery

Over the last few months Jacob Rader, Bhavini Patel and Scott Gerlach have been studying healthcare.  Our research focused on the documents and records that patients interact with and how these artifacts affect their relationship with the medical industry as well as their understanding of their own health.  Through contextual, qualitative research we had the…

Health Records: Reflections and Opportunities

As graduate level students at the Austin Center for Design, we are leveraging interaction design methodologies with the purpose of creating social change through double bottom line business endeavors.  Our design process is characterized by three distinct, interdependent phases: research, synthesis, and prototyping.  Over the course of the one year program at ac4d, students aim…

Redesigning a Thermostat: Final Thoughts

In Rapid Ideation and Creative Problem Solving, we invested eight weeks of time into redesigning a Honeywell Thermostat’s Interface.  On a micro level this has been about tweaking the placement of a lot of pixels from week to week and spending entirely too much time thinking about temperature.  However, on a broader scale what we’ve…

A Realignment with Gary Chou

I’ve spent the last ten years working in physics and mathematics tutoring. Part of what has been satisfying about that endeavor is that the intimacy of teaching one on one forces out articulations of abstract theory that are both palatable and personal. Through our work at ac4d, I’ve noticed that interaction design is laced with…

A Point of Reflection

Jacob and I just completed our application to compete in the 2014 IxDA Student Challenge.  Applying is always an interesting mix of reflection and projection: articulating your past in the hopes of experiencing something new.  In preparing for the competition in Amsterdam, we were inspired and humbled by how much our perspectives have changed in…

Final Iteration and User Testing

Testing an interface with people utilizing paper prototypes is a great way to encourage feedback and push your design in new directions. Sometimes testing prompts you to make major overhauls to your interface because you are exposed to a critical flaw or limitation.  You draw, remake your paper prototypes and head back out to see…

Iteration and User Testing: Round 3

Taking a design idea from low fidelity to functional prototype requires a significant amount of attention to detail and each decision has implications for the user.  In our Rapid Ideation and Creative Problem Solving course we’re learning methods to help us address the inherent difficulty in this process by leveraging user testing and iterative redesign. …

Iteration and User Testing: Round 2

Taking a design idea from low fidelity to functional prototype requires a significant amount of attention to detail and each decision has implications for the user.  In our Rapid Ideation and Creative Problem Solving course we’re learning methods to help us address the inherent difficulty in this process by leveraging user testing and iterative redesign. …

Prototyping and User Testing: First Iteration

Distilling an interface to its essential elements is a fairly well-defined problem.  This week took my initial concepts map (read more here) and built out initial wire frames for a thermostat interface.  Wireframes are flat, static versions of the interface.  In the early stages the wireframes force a designer to start making decisions about layout…

Articulating Through Concept Maps

In every type of role that involves creative problem solving, a critical skill is understanding the current problem space.  Ultimately creative problem solving usually involves re-framing that problem space or pulling in techniques that are not normally associated with that space.  As a result we end up throwing around pithy advice like, “Think outside the…

Food & Identity: Process, Insights, and Implications

Over the first quarter of this program, I have had the great pleasure to work with Jacob Rader and Bhavini Patel in the Interaction Design Research and Synthesis class at the Austin Center for Design.  Together we dove into the topic of how cultural and emotional factors affect food behavior in low income communities: namely…

Creative Problem Solving & Ill-Structured Problems: Methods in Group Participation

We’ve just completed our Design, Society and the Public Sector course at the Austin Center for Design.  This course exposed us to a range of broad topics including the importance of design, the role of designers, information and technology, and creative problem solving.  In parallel to reading and discussing all of the ideas in this…

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