Day 1 – First Day of the Web Design Bootcamp
Well I have just completed my first day at Web Courses Bangkok.
Well it couldn’t have started off much worse I went to the wrong MRT station and got there 15 mins late. Everyone was cool about it but I felt I had let them and myself down. However, it was really great to find out the class was a nice size and to meet all the students in the class and learn about them.
We started off by finding out what the class thought that web designers did in their everyday life. It was at this point I realized that that I didn’t know that much about web designing. I tried to put myself in their position and came up with 5 points which we posted on the board. Then Dimitri (the instructor) went through our answers and got us to explain where they went in the order of the day.
Then we went through what we were going to cover in the next 14 weeks this was very daunting for me as there were a lot of vocabulary that I had no idea what they meant. This lasted up until lunch. Lunch was a great experience with a surprising 5 min walk through a Thai compound which is only accessible from 12:00 to 13:00.
Once we arrived at the food court, I was pleasantly surprised with the amazing array of Thai food that was available. All the students were very surprised at how cheap and delicious the food was. This was also a great time to reflect on the class and learn more about each other.
After lunch we went through the concept of Micro and Macro Briefs. Dimitri broke it all down so we could understand it easily. We were given lots of examples then had to write our own micro brief about a case study and had to explain what we had written and explain. To my surprise it was 15:00 and time to go home we were reminded to look out for our homework later we all went our separate ways.
Doing the homework was really interesting we had to write our own micro/macro briefs for our own project this made it more realistic and personal. We also had to post up a video about a web designer.
Day 2 – How to find a Project
Well I set off earlier this day didn’t want to be late again. And to my surprise most of the other students were there half an hour early too. So, I got to have a cup of tea which I missed out on yesterday! So, we got in to the class and got straight into It which was great no need for too much small talk.
Dimitri wrote attack plan on the board and asked us to go through the homework project. And to my surprise all of the students had listened to my podcast that I had posted! I was impressed but then I remembered that I had listened and read what the other students had posted too. We came up with some very interesting strategies about to find new clients which we were able to find from our homework assignment and from our own ideas. How they were good and how we could use them.
We were then introduced to the outline of how the course would be scored if we wanted to pass the course. So, this was very important but at this stage all the words on the Power Point had no meaning to me! That’s worrying I thought I questioned this and Dimitri told me that it will all make sense as we passed through each lesson. Phew!!!
Next, we were asked to open a document from Trello and read all about Getting clients for web designers. I found this to be to overpowering. There was too much to read and was worried that with me reading too slow I might hold the other students up so I read faster than I wanted to and wasn’t able to remember much of the details of what I had read. It would have been better to read each section and then reflect about it as a group rather than trying to remember the 20 minutes of reading and trying to remember points that we thought were good or important.
This lead us up to lunch. Unlike yesterday we spread out a bit with a few going to different places. I find this is one of the best times to relax and reflect on what we have done in the mornings lesson. And we all agreed that we needed to break up the reading and review after each section.
After lunch we were shown some very useful programs and addons for chrome that will be very useful later on when we are further along in the class. We spent the afternoon practicing using these new tools and programs while we were learning and practicing about how to find and save inspiration for our future projects. There were a few times I had to ask Dimitri to back up and explain how to do things. I think he is used to people who are more experienced taking this course and I like to make sure I am getting it right.
Finally, I was so surprised at how quickly the time went by and it was time to get our stuff together as a new class would be using the room straight after us. But as they say “Time flies when you are having fun.” “I will post up you home work on the Facebook group page.” Were the last words form Dimitri as we all left to go home again.
Day 3 – User Research and How to create a Sitemap
I arrived there early again and set up in the classroom ready to start with my laptop note books and cup of tea. As new people arrived, we chatted about normal stuff. Once everyone arrived and we started at 10am. We had a review on the homework the mood boards why we chose them and what we liked and didn’t like about the web pages we had saved.
The topic of today’s class – User Research. Then we were introduced in to persona how the information from the proposed customers was the most important information. We had to write our own Persona Which I was completely confused about! Dimitri explained it to me 2-3 times and I still didn’t get it. I had to step out get a cup of tea then came back and another student helped and broke it down very simply and I understood. My confusion was why would information from a person who I made up with their likes, dislikes age, and something I said they said have any purpose to the task in hand.
Once I saw that it was just to do a dummy persona for practice regarding the Happy Café, I was able to complete the persona quite quickly. And was amazed at how something so simple had confused me for so long. We went through everyone’s persona and describes if they would like the Happy Café web page or not and what would they like if they didn’t like that page.
Next, we were told to come up with another web page we came up with an Indian restaurant. We were given 7 post it notes and we had to write what were the 7 main tabs on the home page that this restaurant would require. As I love Indian food this was very easy for me. Once we wrote them, we all stuck them on the board. Dimitri told us to group the same ones together menu with the other menu. Once we had simplified it, we had to decide on how many tabs and what would be the correct order. This was a very enjoyable activity as everyone was involved and had their own say and at the end of it, we had something that looked pretty decent.
This brought us up to lunch time. We all went together to the food court again and we were all impressed again with the great food. One of us had to wait for the food for a while which made us a little late getting back but it was all part of the bonding experience!
After lunch we got in to a tool called Bubble.us we used this to design a site map. First, we only had to copy the Happy Café with a home page and 4-5 navigation tabs.
Next, we used another website to make a basic site map. Finally, we had to make a site map for one of the web pages we saved to use as inspiration for your project. We also used a programme called Flowmapp which made it look much better I also used this to create a new persona which were both based on my inspirational web page. This was great as it was more personal that the Happy Café.
Homework was 3 different things to do Site map, persona and make questions regarding a website for a food truck web page. This was a great set of tasks which brought everything we have learnt together. This was great experience in using the new tools by ourselves.
Day 4 – Lo – Fi Wireframes and Hi – Fi
We all got in early again ready to learn some cool stuff basic chit chat over a cup of tea then we got in to it. We started be reviewing the homework from last night. The homework was quite a lot but it was very beneficial. As they were what we learnt that day and it was there to practice and reinforce what we had learned. This compiled of designing questions for the Persona then create a persona and finally use both to make a site map for a food truck website.
The lesson today was all about the shopping list and the wireframe – an important part of UX. Sounds very strange and it was at the beginning but them we were taken through a presentation that explained it. Next, we were given an example with Dimitri. After that it was much clearer. We were also shown all the diagrams that were used in the Low Fi wireframe and what they symbolized.
We were then given the task to create a wireframe for the Happy Café Home and About pages. This was a lot of fun as it was very interactive and hands on the symbols were simple enough that you could draw them quickly.
Once we had finished when checked through them and added anything that we had missed out. Once we had completed this we had to convert the Happy Cafe website into a shopping list for the Home and About pages. This was a lot harder than I first thought it is very easy to skip past something which is very important. And to remember all the elements like Hero. Footer, Widget (I thought that was the gas canister in a Boddingtons beer to make it froth!) once we had finished, we checked it and it was lunch.
Thursday is sandwich day! I thought big deal tacky sandwiches. However, I was proven wrong They were toasted subs like Subway and tasted Amazing! I am now waiting till next Thursday already. What was also great is that we ate together as a class so good bonding time.
After lunch it got a lot more serious and complicated! We were asked to think of the problems in Thailand / Bangkok. Came up with several problems. Next Dimitri asked us how could we fix one or any of these problems. After a lot of discussion, we came to the conclusion that the problems were too big and only Superman could save us! There was no simple answer to the big problems such as Traffic/ pollution. So, we thought again and came up with the Cheating taxi problem.
We went through all the stages Macro, Micro, Persona, shopping list and finally the site map. I was surprised how well we did the first 3 steps. We had done it several times before but trying to come up with the shopping list and site map to something that doesn’t exist was SOOOOO hard! When we go it somewhere near Dimitri asked what about this and that and we had to add more.
Once we had discussed it for ages and added, took bits off, moved things around thought of new ideas we had to create the Lo-fi wireframe on post it notes. Sounds easy right? Forget it! This was the hardest thing trying to do this as a group. I took the lead and started using the symbols we learnt this morning and sticking them on the wall. I said we would put them in order at the end.
However, we missed so much out and it didn’t come together. We understood but it got real and much more complicated. We got as much done as we could in the time as time was running out very quickly. Dimitri stepped in and gave us so pointers and at the end we had something that looked half deaccent. It wouldn’t have worked but with more tweaking I think it could of. This was another step out of the room to get a cup of tea moment as it seemed we were going nowhere a one point but got there in the end.
END OF FIRST WEEK SUMMERY
It has been great. Nice classmates, Dimitri tries very hard to help when I can’t understand something and also helps me with homework outside of class on Messenger which is a HUGE help! It is structured very well show, explain. Do then repeat with a different project then practice again for homework. So, everything is practiced 3-4 times and it sticks in your head. Sometimes it is hard to remember all the new vocabulary but eventually, it will stick!
I am sure there is lots I have missed out but its so hard to remember everything and write about it after. I try to write this as I am commuting home on the river boat going home as I am very relaxed. Overall, very enjoyable and incredibly useful. I know its at the easy stage now maybe I won’t be so happy next week But I am fully dedicated to make this work!