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Expertise Areas

In this section, I dive deeper into my development in the five expertise areas. These expertise areas, developed by TU/e, represent distinct domains of knowledge associated with the field of Industrial Design. Within each expertise area, I describe my growth of soft and hard skills in the time period of the three years I have been studying Industrial Design at the TU/e. Even though my expertise in some areas, like Technology and Realisation, is more advanced, all areas are important for making me a well-all-rounded designer with a holistic understanding of different aspects of design and development.


Technology and Realisation

The expertise area of Technology and Realisation has been a significant area of development for me. During my courses and internship experience, I have gained knowledge in many production and prototyping methods. Methods I have explored are 3D modelling, 3D printing, moulding, working with soft materials, integrating electronics, laser-cutting, large-scale product manufacturing, app prototyping, and coding with Python and Processing. This wide range of skills has allowed me to design interactive prototypes that integrate technology seamlessly into my designs.
Having this ability of creating designs and prototypes that can offer an interactive experience is important in my process of designing products. Through my exploration of the interaction between the product and the user, I can make sure that the final design is intuitive, user-friendly, and addresses the specific needs of the target audience. Understanding the dynamics of that interaction means that I can create prototypes that provide a tangible and immersive user experience.
My internship was particularly didactic, giving me real-world experience and the opportunity to work on real projects. It taught me the importance of proactivity, how to manage my projects and organise the design process. When I efficiently manage and organise the design, manufacturing, and assembly processes, I can streamline workflows and ensure that my projects are completed on time. Moreover, becoming familiar with different manufacturing processes and materials helped in rationalising design choices considering available resources. It allows me to make more informed decisions that keep a balance between functionality, aesthetics, and practicality while taking into account the available time.
These experiences in prototyping techniques have not only expanded my technical abilities but also influenced my design philosophy. During my internship, I had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in 3D rapid prototyping technologies. These technologies play a crucial role in various parts of the design process. For example, rapid prototyping allows me to quickly visualise and improve design ideas, which saves me time during development. Moreover, these technologies are essential in making complex and detailed designs that are harder or even impossible to achieve using traditional methods. Besides their benefits to the design process, I also learned that 3D technologies are significant in addressing environmental concerns. With 3D printing, I can optimise my designs and reduce material waste.
Courses and projects that have been influential in my development in the expertise area of Technology and Realisation are: Creative programming, Creative electronics, Project 1 design, Engineering design, Making sense of sensors, Project 2 design, Designing for vitality in a real-life setting, Digital craftsmanship, Internship, Creative mechanical design, engineering and manufacturing (Basic), Creative mechanical design, engineering and manufacturing (Advanced), ISEF project.


User and Society

User and Society also saw a lot of growth and development. I improved my skills in designing products by prioritising what users want and need. To do that I learned different design techniques and tools, like brainstorming and development methods, and interpreting research findings. I adopted a more user-centred approach and I actively engaged with users, seeking for their feedback and incorporating it into my designs. This was especially clear in my internship, where I had regular interactions with clients who visited the company every day. This taught me how important it is to be prepared when asking for feedback and to properly document and use that feedback in the design process. Through that, I have been able to create designs that are not self-evident only to me but instead intuitive and easily understandable by the users.
Additionally, including prototypes in my design process has played a crucial role in showing me why it is useful to create opportunities for the people that will use my designs to experience them. By creating prototypes, I understood that I can provide users with the opportunity to interact with the products, unveiling their needs and preferences in a natural way. This iterative process allows me to refine and create a meaningful experience and usability based on qualitative research and user feedback that I learned how to conduct by doing it in courses like Design <> Research and Project 3. Aside from qualitative data, I also learned design concepts that I can also use to assess the usability of products. Concepts such as affordances, feedforward, and feedback have played a key role in designing products that are user-friendly and intuitive for the people using them.
Through qualitative research and iterative prototyping, I have collected insights that have guided my improvement in creating user experiences and improving usability in the products that I create. This has influenced in not only making visually appealing designs, as I always strive for, but also easy to use and designed to meet the needs of the users.
Courses and projects that have been influential in my development in the expertise area of Technology and Realisation are: User-centered design, Design <> research, Project 3 design research, Internship.


Creativity and Aesthetics

In the area of Creativity and Aesthetics, one of the main things I have developed is my own way of designing, which I have mostly used in my later projects. Drawing inspiration from courses like From Idea to Design and the projects I have participated in, I have adopted a more iterative design approach. Reflecting on this process in the course Digital Craftsmanship I was able to visualise and establish a personal framework that guides my project workflow.
An important part of my growth in this expertise area is my ability to create diverse prototypes and concepts that embody aesthetics, explore materials and shapes, and provide experiential insights. Using my prototyping skills, I have used various methods, including visual prototypes like sketches and 3D models, as well as physical prototypes that enhance the ability of the users to understand, experience and interact with my prototypes.
Understanding the influence of shapes and materials in product design has been a valuable lesson, learned through the course Aesthetics of Interaction and applied in my research project and my internship. By studying various case studies and through hands-on exercises such as experiential prototyping, I developed an understanding of how the choice of shapes and materials can convey specific emotions, create visual interest, and lead to certain desired user responses. This was a major influence in my identity and vision and one of the reasons I prefer to design physical products.   Additionally, in the same course, I learned new ideation techniques like extreme personas and interaction relabelling, which prioritise the role of interaction in the design process.
Practicality versus appearance has been one more key consideration, which I comprehended during my internship at Manometric. This experience showed me the importance of keeping in balance the two aspects when designing products. I learned that while aesthetics play a significant role in attracting users and making a product visually appealing, practicality is equally crucial to ensure usability and functionality.
Another ideation method I learned and successfully applied is brainstorming. Observing my colleagues, particularly a fellow intern who was working on her final master thesis, conduct brainstorming sessions, I actively participated and learned how to effectively plan and organise such sessions. Transferring this knowledge to my final bachelor project, I organised successful brainstorming sessions with which my teammates were very pleased, as they proved significant in overcoming difficult decisions and moments of stagnation.
Aside from teaching me how to organise effective brainstorming sessions, my internship also taught me how to seek inspiration and effectively communicate and share my work for valuable feedback. These abilities are essential for collaborating with others and ensuring that my creative ideas are effectively communicated and understood. This was a very useful skill in my FBP as I had to collaborate with three other students completely unfamiliar with industrial design practises which I tried to improve even further with a clear advancement visible through the multiple feedback sessions between our group as well as our process coach. 
In the exploratory sketching course, I understood the significance of using simple forms to visualise ideas quickly. This approach offers a broader perspective on potential solutions and provides more opportunities for reviewing and improving ideas. I discovered that incorporating these structured methods into my creative processes greatly enhances the quality and efficacy of my designs. Collaborating with professionals during my internship reaffirmed the significance of using these methods as they used the same methods themselves. Especially one of my coaches at Manometric showed me and pushed me to use sketches efficiently at the beginning of the design process not just for creating ideas but also to communicate my ideas to others. 
Courses and projects that have been influential in my development in the expertise area of Technology and Realisation are: From idea to design, Project 1 design, Project 3 design research, Aesthetics of interaction, Exploratory sketching, Digital craftsmanship, Internship.


Business and Entrepreneurship

In Business and Entrepreneurship, I have learned the importance of using various business models and tools in my projects like personas, value proposition canvas and competitor analysis. While I didn't focus on them at first, I now realise their additional value in my design process. Tools like benchmarking, which I have learned in courses like Design Innovation Methods and my internship, have helped in shaping my ideas and giving me a better understanding of the design landscape.
I have also learned the importance of involving multiple stakeholders in the design process, particularly in projects for companies like the one where I completed my internship. Developing final products that meet client needs while ensuring cost-effective manufacturing and quick assembly requires input from various experts. My internship and the ISBEP project showed me the importance of using the expertise of others. I realised that I cannot possess all the necessary knowledge and skills, so I actively seek input from professionals in relevant fields. This collaborative approach allows me to tap into their specialised knowledge, leading to more robust and well-rounded designs. With the involvement of multiple stakeholders and their expertise, I can create designs that address a wider range of considerations and deliver more effective solutions.
All of the above has made me understand the relationship between design and business considerations. I have now a better appreciation for business models and tools, collaborating with various stakeholders, and using the expertise of others. These experiences have expanded my view as a designer and made me more capable of creating commercially successful solutions.

I acknowledge the significance of seeking guidance from experts to complement the design in areas where I do not have considerable expertise and I recognise the value of learning from experienced professionals. Thus I plan to apply this approach more extensively in future projects in order to maximise added value in the projects while maintaining time and budget restrictions.

Courses and projects that have been influential in my development in the expertise area of Technology and Realisation are: Design innovation methods, Internship, Final bachelor project.

Math, Data, and Computing

In the area of Math, Data, and Computing, I have come to understand that the later stages of concept development when conducting user tests and data collection can be done more thoroughly by implementing data analysis and quantitative interpretation. In my three years in industrial design, I have gained experience in handling large datasets using Python and Excel, and I feel confident in using these skills effectively when needed.
My knowledge in this area has been enhanced through courses like Design <> Research and Making Sense of Sensors, where I learned about quantitative research and data handling. Additionally, in the Data Acquisition and Visualisation through Embodied Sensors course, part of my USE line, I further explored working with large datasets.
During my internship, the skills I learned in these courses came in handy. I used Excel and Python to manage and handle data I was collecting from tensile tests on different materials, which lasted for several weeks. It was a practical and valuable tool for documenting and analysing the data effectively. This experience emphasised the importance of data management skills in the real world and how they contribute to making informed decisions based on large datasets.
Although I didn't use this area in my FBP, I know its potential in improving the FBP. By collecting more data and analysing its long-term effects on users, I can statistically demonstrate its added value and effectiveness, which can lead to better design choices.
Courses and projects that have been influential in my development in the expertise area of Technology and Realisation are: Data analytics for engineers, Making sense of sensors, Data acquisition and visualization through embodied sensors, Internship.

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