I don't own a smartphone, and I had never even held a tablet before this class. I had an inkling I was behind the technology curve in that regard, but it was really cemented for me when, at the beginning of the semester, the professor, Pattie Belle Hastings, had us lay out our phones on a table so we could talk about the average user profile of the room. Out of the whole class, I was the only person who didn't have a smartphone. At least it was unique.
|Yes, that does say 6:32 am. Don't judge.|
From there on out, though, I had to do a lot of research to keep myself on par with the class. Even the most basic elements of apps, like menu structure and icon placement, I had to research. Personally, I think this gave me an edge, since I essentially had an excuse to really delve into the things that most smartphone users simply take for granted, learning about the design decisions that influence smartphone design. It also let me criticize the system a bit and find my own ways to do things (for better and for worse; I've never heard the phrase "This is a safe place to fail" so many times in my life!)
All told, I don't think I failed (Well, at least I hope not, since I kind of need this course to graduate in a few weeks!) I learned the most I ever have in any one class from Mobile/Interactive Design, mostly because I started out knowing so little. I feel like I was able to effectively research to make up for my technological deficiencies and come out with very strong designs and layouts. I really enjoy the field of UX/UI; it's something I would definitely consider for a career in the future. There's a nice cross-section of print design and game design in the field, it almost feels like that could be where my whole career as a designer has been headed all along!
And who knows, maybe one day I'll get a smartphone to test my own designs on :P