Welcome to Hot New Things 2019 – an opportunity to profile a selection of the top design graduates coming out of our tertiary institutions. This week, we speak with Mona Gabr from Media Design School.
Media Design School
You completed your full time studies at the end of 2018. Can you tell us what your final year’s project was about and what you focussed on?
Hi, my final project was the most exciting and entertaining part of my 2018 studies. My final year’s project is about “Pick tag system” is a prototype tag system that has been developed to assist people with disability to get the right bus on public transportation. The system allows communication between the individual and the “bus drivers” through an NFC tag system; this communication helps ensure that the passenger gets on the right targeted bus. According to Statistics NZ, 35% of people with disability are over 65 years old and may do not have access to a smartphone, hence the use of a tag system rather than a mobile app. The Pick tag system strives towards equity for people with a disability.
How has what you’ve recently been working on influenced your design process, and what momentum does it bring to your practice?
The Main thing that influenced my design process was using the humancentric approach. There are lots of technology solutions introduced in various ways by different people to solve this problem. But the majority of them are not solving what indeed target audience needs. Therefore, I gave the priority in my project to the user journey solution and understand the demography of my target audience and develop a solution matching their needs. Hence, 90% of my research was focusing on the primary research. Therefore, it helped me as a UX/UI designer linking back my solution with the target audience needs.
What were some of your most exciting discoveries? And also some of the challenges along the way?
Creating an interactive prototype solution for people with disability matching their needs and see the smile on their face on the testing phase for the prototype was the happiest moment. The big challenge for me in this project is creating an interactive product, not a mobile app. using raspberry pi hardware and python as a programming language which I started to learn from scratch in order to develop a proof of concept for a prototype for my solution journey.
What did you love doing most?
Going outside my comfort zone and talking to my target audience. Putting myself in people with disability’s shoes and solve their needs was my favourite phase.
Where do you go to find inspiration (websites, resources, designers, etc)?
As a UX/UI designer, I keep myself up-to-date with the new trends and methodologies through reading articles, following the UX methodology used by large and successful companies.
Why did you choose to study at your design school, and what do you feel you can take away now that you’ve completed your course?
Media design school focuses on keeping us up to date with the real work experience. They always teach us new trends and tools that help us to be ready and successful after graduation. Also, I love the small community and the fantastic relationship between lecturers and students. They improve our skills through communication and understanding each student’s mind-set. I can’t believe I did it! Now I’m ready for a new chapter in my life, Putting my enthusiasm and skills out there.
Where to next for you? What does 2019 hold?
I’m currently live in Auckland, and I will be starting my internship as UX/UI designer with Air New Zealand immediately after graduation. I also intend to keep on developing my final year’s project with non-profit organisations, I will be doing my best to make sure that “Pick tag system” is transformed from a prototype to production.