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An Ecosystem of Impact

The Jacobs’ Institute published an article on Medium on the innovative projects students are designing within its halls. And BCNM’s own Critical Making was featured!

From the article:

Elsewhere in Jacobs Hall, students in User Interface Design, a popular computer science course, approached the links between design and the body from a different angle. Each of the course’s 39 project teams took up the challenge of designing a smartwatch app focused on a health or medical theme. The resulting apps offered services and experiences for users from diners with dietary restrictions to family caregivers.

For Courtney Pasco, the course offered a unique opportunity to apply her skills to creative, real-world problem-solving. “I’m so used to doing projects where they give you the spec,” she said. In a class like User Interface Design, she continued, “you can see the bigger picture.” Pasco’s team created Bee Calm, an app designed to be a customizable, intuitive source of support for people who suffer from panic attacks. The team explained that their process was highly iterative, and that the app’s features — which include a visual breathing-exercise guide and an option to pre-record calming messages from loved ones — were highly informed by interviews with target users.

For most of the team, conducting user interviews was a new experience. One surprise was how much this input — and feedback from classmates — shaped choices like the navigation and even the color scheme. One team member, Ilakya Palanisamy, noted that being able to learn from users and incorporate this into the app’s design had been a rewarding educational experience. She added, “It helped me develop as a person, too.”

Read the full article here.

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