Guru's Day was a special one day event, where 14 experienced mentors (the Gurus), with various backgrounds in design and technology, visited our studio on November 1st to find out about our Honours Projects and kindly offer their expertise.
Essentially it was like a buffet of ideas. Every one of us was allocated a space to present our project and up to date research in a creative way; then, when a Guru approached you, you had to talk them through your project. (Check my previous post to see how I presented my project)
I had the opportunity to speak to 8 Gurus in total. Their reaction to my project was very positive and their feedback invaluable. I also had the chance to ask them any questions that worried me. In summary, this is what I was advised:
Marty Dunlop advised me to be confident about my idea and to just "go for it".
Craig Lamb suggested to include a reward system in my product, something to remind the users how good they did. He reassured me that making a physical product will not affect my chances of getting a UI or UX job. As long as my product solves a problem then it's fine. "Design after all is the process that happens in the middle" - Craig Lamb.
Michael Winney from Prudential Innovation Lab, suggested to make it fun, e.g. implement a proximity sensor that senses when you are close to the mat. In the case you have not used it in more than 3 days, the mat will text you something witty like "Hey, don't you like me anymore?". Michael was one of the gurus who strongly advised me to think about my products commercial awareness, for my own future. He said to think about my project, not just as a 4th year research project but as something that can be sold.
Kevin McDonald said that people enjoy feedback/sense of achievement. Respecting my choice not to include a screen based element, he suggested using key fobs instead.
Finlay Craig underlined the importance of documenting my process. He reminded me to take loads of photos/videos of people using my product, create a brand for it early on, as branding is equally important, and suggested to not write off the screen based element completely.
Ryan Mcleod said that I've chosen a small scope for my project and as I found out later, the best projects are the ones that have a small scope. He gave me plenty of ideas on the experience I could craft and present for the Degree Show. Prototyping wise, he suggested to embed every sensor one step at a time, and then attempting to embed everything together. It was nice to catch up with Ryan again, as he was my Adobe Illustrator teacher in second year, back when I attended one of his workshops.
Last but not least, the lovely duo from London, Patrick Stevenson-Keating and Giulia Garbin. I had a really nice chat with them as we talked more about the experience my product could deliver. One comment Patrick made was that nowadays everything is quantified. My project could aim to display more qualitative data, presented in a different way like through the use of colour to display the progress made, as suggested by Giulia. One thing both urged me to, was to make the most out of this year and enjoy it as much as possible.
Overall, this day was extremely beneficial. The enthusiasm the mentors showed, made me feel very confident about my project which consequently inspired me to work even harder. I will surely consider some of their ideas/advice to make my idea happen in the most aesthetically pleasing and functioning way possible .