In 2010, my team worked directly with professionals in Vodafone Group R&D located in Munich, Germany. We operated as a private HCI consultancy, guiding our client from a vague goal ("assisting nomadic knowledge workers") through a user-centered software development process, ultimately producing a functional, documented prototype.
As the project was a capstone for my HCI Master's degree, ethnographic research played a primary role in our work, from our initial interview process, to workshops with professionals in Munich, to user testing. Detailed information regarding our methodology, findings, and design process can be found in the team's final paper here (901 KB).
At the onset of the project, my peers designated me as team leader based on our experiences together to date (one semester of study at Carnegie Mellon University). I took this designation seriously, although I could hardly know the amount of effort it would require.
Over the ensuing year, I shaped the course of our project through scheduling meetings, assigning responsibilities, interfacing with our client, reporting to our advisor, setting deadlines, and involving my team mates. This experience was management trial-by-fire in the most substantial leadership position I had held to date. I gained much experience in project administration, and the varied backgrounds (both cultural and academic) of my team mates made this all the more challenging.
While the role presented its fair share of challenges, my resulting personal growth was well worth it.
Our substantial research and design work yeilded a wireframe of a shared workspace application. This application would allow multiple users to draw on the same digital surface, viewing each other's contributions in real time. Our specific focus concerned enhancing the "situational awareness" (a popular topic in the HCI academia) of the collaborators.
The server processes the clients' XMLHttpRequests with PHP and MySQL and responds in JSON.