Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Year... New resolutions


I am back :-)

I have been working on a lot of cool projects recently and have been a lot busy. Let me start from the very beginning here:

I started out as a hardcore programmer and now I am here learning about enriching human experiences through designing interactions that are much more valuable to users. I am learning about how to overcome the short-falls of the technology by designing systems which are extremely pleasurable to use so that the user doesn't even notice the missing pieces.

I did a lot of projects in my first term, in the winter and then the following fall terms. Even this semester I am involved 5 team projects... wow! I just realized, that they are so many.

I guess talking about my projects here would be boring, so you can go to my homepage to read about them... but as a second thought I might describe the awesomeness of some of them :-)

One of the most recent one was a mobile application I worked on which encourages people to walk. We researched a lot of human behavioral parameters and came up with a little avatar called "mibo". The application basically visualizes a persons walking habits through the health of this avatar.We progressed through each of the design stages for this project, i.e. from contextual inquiry to lo-fi and hi-fi prototyping to the usability testing stage. This app was developed using the App Inventor IDE which was given to us by Google along with a couple of android G1 phones.

I other two really exciting projects which I loved working on were clustering users based on patterns in their search queries. I used AOL search log queries and represented the users as vectors based on the search terms they used. The search terms were parsed into a hash and then based on the user vectors, I created a bipartite graph of the users and their queries and then performed random walks on them...phew...
The other one was even more exciting. I used the tagged brown corpus and used a JAVA API to implement a part-of-speech tagger. I could give it any sentence and it would tag that sentence quite accurately.

OK, now back to the present. I am working on a couple of really cool projects and I would soon update my online portfolio with the details, but as a sneak peek have a look at the below prototype for one of the projects which aims at recommending apps to it's users.

Well it seems this post has become all about my projects which I didn't want it to be but...

I forgot to mention about a really cool class I am taking at the Ross School of Business, its about how businesses should focus on enriching user experiences by involving their customers, partners, employees, etc. in co-creating value for everyone. That's what I have been talking about since I joined my first job... They never appreciated their employees, and those thousands of bad experiences I have had with so many vendors and organizations, WOW, only wish their leadership team could sit in this class and observe the industry big-shots (Apple, Dell, Nike, Starbucks, Amazon, the list goes on...) using these tricks to lead the world.