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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Campus

Business meets creativity in Bauer summer course


Students at the C.T. Bauer College of Business sketched, conceptualized, surveyed and produced user-centric applications during the debut of the User Experience Fundamentals course this summer.

Teams of three and four bonded for a single cause: creating streamlined, interactive user experiences, or UX.

“The most interesting aspect of the course is the combination of lecture and practical application. If a class is three hours a week of a professor telling us things I can read on my own, I don’t attend,” said management information system senior Andrew Douglass, who has a personal interest in the topic. “When a class engages me on the level that UX did and makes me actually do the work to learn the material, I get excited for every session.”

The four-week class condensed the basics of creating web and mobile applications through a collaborative, hands-on approach.

For Jason Wheeler, a graphic design graduate student, the prospect of being exposed to different disciplines outside the fine arts was exciting, and he tapped into his background while working intently with his peers.

“I discovered a much clearer way to look at the human aspect of everything from software development to basic interactions in everyday life,” Wheeler said. “My team created a syllabus management application that could graph a student’s workflow across multiple classes and send an array of interactive reminders for things like assignments, tests and papers.”

Professor Kelsey Ruger, a user experience consultant for Haliburton, led the students every step of the way.

They learned that a good UX was achieved not only by creating visual appeal for a product, but by grasping customer psychology and recognizing complex problems.

“Today we are starting to spend more and more time looking into cognitive processes, decision-making and persuasion as users demand more for the software and services they interact with daily,” Ruger said. “There are really three things we look at: Is this thing usable? Is this thing useful? Is this thing desirable?”

Through these three underlying principles of UX, students married creativity with an entrepreneurial spirit.

“UX is more than just coding, drawing and designing. UX is highly interdisciplinary, and can also benefit people with skills in things like research, psychology, business and communications,” Douglass said.

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