Joseph Marriott BSc (Hons)

Yesterday I was able to collect my results from University to find out what degree classification I’d been awarded and was delighted to learn I will be graduating next month with a First Class Honours degree in BSc ICT. My final year module results were as follows, with the extremely high dissertation mark of 89% being a particularly pleasant surprise:

  • Individual Project / Dissertation – 89% (A)
  • Systems Strategy – 87% (A)
  • eCommerce Business and Technology – 83% (A)
  • Advanced Authoring of Interactive Media – 67% (B)
  • Digital Marketing and Communications – 67% (B)

As the module with the lowest mark is actually dropped from the official classification I achieved an average of 83% for the year, well above the 70% A grade boundary and something I’m incredibly proud of. After taking a few, dare I say well deserved, weeks off from the end of May when exams finished my attention is now turning to the task of finding employment, or at least work experience, in the UX Design discipline. Tomorrow I have an informal meeting regarding a potential opportunity with a local company that contributed towards my dissertation research so we shall see what happens there, and in my spare time I intend to look for ways to expand my UX portfolio of work, even if through completing personal projects at home.

I’m also looking forward to having some time again to really get stuck into design books, blogs and other media that I’ve had to neglect this past year due to university commitments, so I hope to get back on track with more regular blogging.

Portfolio Updates

So I’ve finally got around to uploading some of my completed university work from this final year into the Portfolio section of this site. Much of it is in the form of written reports (of varying lengths) available to view in PDF format. I hope to expand on the descriptions accompanying the examples of work after finishing my exams to give you a better idea of the actual assignment aims etc.

As always, all comments or questions regarding the work presented in my Portfolio are welcomed.

Dissertation…

So I’ve just printed and bound my dissertation all ready for hand-in and can’t quite believe its finally over (not that I haven’t enjoyed working on it)! The 64 page 24,000 word report is an investigative study into User Experience Design methods within an applied industrial context (I promise its more interesting than it sounds), and takes a look at the UXD processes followed by four companies before developing a model that takes into account a range of contextual factors and how these impact the UXD process, before recommending a set (or toolkit) of UXD methods appropriate for use.

Once marked I intend to upload a shorter version of the report that summarises the key points and provide a greater insight into what I’ve done. Until then I’ve got 2 exams to sit before finishing University (at least at Undergraduate level), and possibly academia as a whole, forever!

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Dissertation Conference Poster

So, we’re halfway through the academic year and for the Final Year Project module I had to create an A1 sized conference poster. This was then displayed in a session (along with many others) where lecturers could come and discuss the project and my progress, and make suggestions as to how they think I should proceed.

It was also the first time I got to meet the lecturer who will be examining my dissertation, so it was a good opportunity to introduce him to the project and its aims, and for him to provide me with his opinions and feedback so far.

Below is a picture of the poster (due to printing restrictions it had to be made as four separate A3 sheets and arranged together into an A1 sized document) that outlines the project aims, what I’ve done so far (green arrows), and what I have left to do (orange and red arrows).

Dissertation Conference Poster
Dissertation Conference Poster: UX Methods & their effectiveness in an applied, industrial context.

Final Year so far…

So I’m just about to start week 6 of my final year at University which means that I’m nearly a quarter of the way through; yikes! The past 5 weeks have just flown by, and in some ways I wish I could slow it down, despite enjoying [nearly] every second of it.

Firstly, I must apologise for the lack of blog posts recently; I am constantly finding little gems of information/facts/websites/articles/videos that I would love to share and talk about, but somehow always seem to find something else that needs doing before I get around to it.

Anyway, it’s great to be back in Huddersfield and to see my course-mates again, although I must admit it has been a bit of a struggle readjusting back to student life after a year of full time work at GlaxoSmithKline. I’ve got some great modules to study (and one not so great module, but we’ll ignore that for now) and some fantastic new lecturers.

I’ll just do a quick run through of the modules in case you’re interested:

  • Final Year Project / Dissertation – The biggest, and in some ways most important module of the year, this project is the supposed to be the culmination of everything you’ve learnt at University. It looks like mine will be primarily a research report with a focus on UX Design methodologies (as opposed to a technical development project), but there may be room for some sort of prototypes down the line. My project supervisor, John Bonner, thinks it would be really beneficial for me to complete this project with a local company that practices UX Design and has helped me to get in touch with, and arrange a meeting with a really interesting design agency based in Leeds. I’m very excited to be meeting with them on Tuesday so fingers crossed!
  • Digital Marketing & Communications – A fairly self-explanatory title, this module examines the various methods of digital marketing and the benefits/drawbacks of these. With a big focus placed on data and analytics I picked this optional module as it seems to be becoming ever more relevant in todays online world. I have two assignments for this module, one of which is due before Christmas, so I may go into a little more detail on this in a later post.
  • Systems Strategy Thinking – A particular favourite of mine, this module is taught by a new, and in my opinion, one of the best lectures at Huddersfield. As you might have guessed this module involves lots of thinking, but in particular, thinking holistically (as opposed to “analytically”) about systems. To add to the challenge, this does not mean systems as in an I.T. system… for Systems Strategy a system can anything from a house, to the education system. We were first introduced to the basic concepts of systems thinking, and are now turning our attention to Peter Checkland’s ‘Soft Systems Methodology’.
  • Advanced Authoring of Interactive Media – The only “technical” module I have this year, AAIM focuses on the development of applications for the smartphone platform. So far we have been brushing up on our JavaScript, AJAX, jQuery skills before attempting to build ‘hybrid’ mobile applications.
  • eCommerce, Business & Technology – I’ve left this module till last because I barely consider it worthy of being labelled a final year module, and instead consider it an annoying distraction (this isn’t just me being snobbish by the way; I’ve spoken to several lecturers who are trying their damned hardest to get this removed from the curriculum). Essentially all we have to do to pass this module is build an eCommerce website using the WordPress CMS and complete an exam that will, more than likely, be predominately made up of multiple choice questions… lets say no more.