Coursera Design

Assignments for Coursera's "Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society" and a selection of assignments for General Assembly's "User Experience Design"

copyright © Alicia Fowler 2016



Assignment 8.1 - Officially a designer


Now that I've finished my course, I think it's safe to say I'm officially a designer now :) See, I even have a certificate to prove so!

But all kidding aside, I've learned a tremendous amount from this course and recommend it to anyone with the time and tenacity to finish it. You'll learn quite a few invaluable skills, including:

Balancing linear and creative thinking

  • Thinking about the problem you're solving requires following ideas through to their natural conclusion, while at the same time exploring disparate and often unrelated ideas to create novel solution
  • Additionally, design is an inherently iterative process, meaning you'll often find yourself twenty new problems you didn't identify at the start, or discover fifteen new solutions to your first design solution because you accidentally created non-adhesive glue 

Systems-based approach  

  • Because none of us lives in a vacuum, our design solutions don't either
  • As part of this class, you'll learn simple and helpful tools to deconstruct (and reconstruct!)  the ecosystem surrounding your user, his/her problem, and your proposed solution
  • And if you work in marketing like I do, or any field that touches a consumer, this method of thinking in terms of systems will benefit you greatly

Drawing fundamentals 

  • I cannot overstate how amazing, and useful, it is to know how to sketch. Even outside of a career, sketching helps you plan whether that new TV you're coveting will look better on this wall or that, or if that new wardrobe will fit
  • Through this class I've learned some simple skills immensely impact my ability to convey my ideas or to observe the world around me


Of course you'll learn a lot more too, especially about design, aesthetics, manufacturing, and so forth. I recommend it to everyone, but recognize the class requires about a good 10-15 hours of work each week. And if you decide to create a web service like I did, here are few helpful links: 

FluidUI  – Free and easy app prototyping tool 

Balsamiq – Quick and easy wireframe tool  

Mobile Patterns – Beautiful inspiration for mobile app + sites design  


And if you're wondering, what's next for my travel service? I received a lot of positive feedback and interest in this platform, so I'll be thinking about ways to bring the idea to life. If you're interested in helping out, or just hearing about progress, let me know in the comments below. 




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