Category Archives: Research

Redesign Prototype: Apple Weather App

Prototypes (paper, low and high-fidelity)

Graduate Research, Final Project
RUCD 150: Prototyping and Evaluation
Brandeis University, Summer 2018

Tools Used: Proto.io, iMovie, Paper

For my final project, I redesigned Apple’s Weather app. I created paper, low-fidelity, and high-fidelity prototypes that show the progression of my work. I also have annotated final designs as well as a video walkthrough of my prototype. In addition, I conducted user research and tests. 

Redesign Prototype: Apple Weather App

Prototypes (paper, low and high-fidelity)

Graduate Research, Final Project
RUCD 150: Prototyping and Evaluation
Brandeis University, Summer 2018

Tools Used: Proto.io, iMovie, Paper

For my final project, I redesigned Apple’s Weather app. I created paper, low-fidelity, and high-fidelity prototypes that show the progression of my work. I also have annotated final designs as well as a video walkthrough of my prototype. In addition, I conducted user research and tests. 

Service and Hospitality: Concert Venue

User Research, Persona Creation, Sketches, Wireframes, Redesigns

Graduate Research
RUCD 101: Innovation and User-Centered Design
Brandeis University, Fall 2017

Tools Used: Axure, Adobe Photoshop CC, Paper and Pencil

For this assignment, I was tasked to make a design composition for a business or organization within the field of service and hospitality. The composition included creating user personas,  competitor research,  creating sketches and both low and high fidelity wireframes for designs based off of the existing site, and then finally, minor redesigns. I chose to look at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.

Analog to Digital

Wireframes for Existing Website

Graduate Research, Assignment
RUCD 101: Innovation and User-Centered Design
Brandeis University, Fall 2017

Tools Used: Axure

For this assignment, I chose a traditionally analog piece that also has an online presence, to create wireframes of existing pages for. I chose Teen Vogue magazine as their content and focus over time years has changed drastically from primarily fashion and gossip to teen wellness, politics, and several areas of popular culture.

Digitization, Writing, and War Orphans

This week’s progress report for the UMW group can be found here! I just have a few comments of my own to add.

As Jack mentions in the progress report, we went back to the CRHC this week to make digitization requests. The woman who normally scans was not in that day, but the next day she scanned and emailed me all of the items that I requested.  I also received scans from UMW Special Collections (only a few because luckily the main sources from Special Collections are already digitized and online), so everything for my portion of the UMW site has been digitized! I don’t know if we will include every single digitized image on the history pages, so hopefully we can put additional images into the image galleries that Jack is creating.

Our next milestone is March 20, by which date we have agreed that we will all have the text for the website complete. I have started writing the “Student Life” page for the Fredericksburg State Normal School portion of the website, and after completing that I will write the “Academics” page. Both of these pages are really fun to research, and it is fascinating to see the sort of changes that the Great War wrought upon course offerings at the school (some of which you can read about in this blog post). In going back through some of my sources and doing additional readings, I found some really cool bits of information! The coolest find for me was that several professors and student clubs adopted French and Belgian war orphans! It seems that the professors or student groups only cared for each orphan for a year, so the “adoption” was not permanent–nevertheless, I think it is still amazing that the teachers and students were so involved in caring for victims of the war. In all, the Fredericksburg State Normal School adopted 5 war orphans during the war years!

I also found some excellent quotes while I was reading through yearbooks and academic catalogues and bulletins. I will include them below.

“The world has moved, and to those who stay at home is given an opportunity, too often neglected by parents and ignored in homes, to awaken through the heroes and heroines of a locality the spirit of American democracy.”
–Fredericksburg SNS Bulletin, October 1917, page 4

“The interests of these valiant and sacrificial nations must be our interests and their needs ours, for they are fighting our battles.”
–Fredericksburg SNS Bulletin, October 1917, page 11

“It was a beautiful spirit of co-operation between school and community.”
–Fredericksburg SNS Bulletin, January 1919, page 4

“Teachers, the war is over. . . . From the school-houses of our Commonwealth, the children are calling as never before for your patriotic service.”
–Fredericksburg SNS Bulletin, January 1919, page 14

Note: The featured image for this post is from the 1918 Fredericksburg State Normal School viewbook.

Special Collections: Academics and Student Life

Disclaimer: The first time I attempted to write and publish this post, WordPress lost all of my text changes. It was an hour and a half wasted because I couldn’t recover anything and now must rewrite the entire post again. Such a typical Monday.

This past Thursday I went back to Special Collections in order to do some more research for my areas of the site: Academics and Student Life.  Way back at the beginning of the semester, Julia, Jack, Candice, and I visited Special Collections and got some great preliminary information from sources on the homefront experience at the Fredericksburg State Normal School.  I wanted to go back and take a look at some of the catalogs that had not been digitized, due to their fragile condition, and to see if Special Collections had anything about certain clubs, like the YWCA or Red Cross Club.  I took a look at the 1918-1921 catalogs, so that I could compare course offerings during and after the war (and because these are not digitized, with the exception of the 1921 catalog, but it was there while my laptop was not).  It was tedious to go through each catalog, but I found some great information about academics and other areas of SNS life.  The June 1919 catalog lists a War Activities faculty/staff committee, which Bunyan Y. Tyner chaired.  I asked Mrs. Parsons if Special Collections held anything pertaining to this committee, but she said they did not.  We did take a quick glance at Tyner’s papers, but they do not begin until the 1920s.  The June 1919 catalog also has a short section on War Work at the school, and it contains a lot of information about the YWCA’s contribution to the war effort.  In 1918 and 1919, student enrollment in the YWCA was around 75%, and it jumped to 96% in 1920!  This drastic increase surprised me–I would have thought that an increase in membership would have occurred during the war, not in the postwar years.  But, perhaps the YWCA benefited from its great contributions during the war and gained membership afterwards.

Academics-wise, some very interesting changes occurred in course offerings during and after the war.  The most interesting changes took place in the History and Foreign Languages departments.  The June 1920 catalog lists several new history courses, one such being “History Epochs,” which included the recent World War.  The History department also offered several courses on “Hero Studies.”  The American Hero Studies course is described like so: “This is a course designed to help those who expect to teach history.  Stories of the most important characters are taken up and discussed in order to give the students a thorough knowledge of the greatness of those who have contributed to the making of America of to-day.”  There was also a “Greek and Roman Hero Studies” course.  I strongly suspect that the US victory in the war influenced the creation of these classes, especially because the tone of the American course is so triumphalist.  (The parallel between American heroes and Greek and Roman heroes should also not go unnoticed–heroes in the birthplace of democracy and republicanism, and heroes of the world’s best example of democracy.)  I find this hero-worship interesting, because it seems to contradict what we read about in Kennedy and what we have discussed in previous class sessions.

In the Foreign Languages Department, the 1918 catalog places a new emphasis on the importance of French: “In the last year our country has been brought into such close relationship with our ally, France, that it is almost a misfortune not to have some knowledge of the French language.  Hardly a day passes that we do not find French phrases in our daily papers.  For this reason one of the most practical subjects that the students of to-day can take is French.”  Wow!  This paragraph is great for 2 reasons: it speaks to the foreign relations and America’s escalated involvement in the war (especially compared to the 1917 catalog, which has no justification for taking French and simply lists the courses), and it reflects opinions about the universal utility of French.  I particularly like that the catalog doesn’t specify who the “students of to-day” are to whom it refers.  The Fredericksburg State Normal School was for women, primarily those interested in teaching, but it specifies neither gender nor profession–it just says “students of to-day.”  (This lack of distinction is even more apparent when compared to the above description of the American Hero Stories history course.)  I’m not quite sure of what to make of this lack of distinction, but I find it interesting nevertheless.  Perhaps it speaks to how the war effort and Wilson’s “mobilization of emotion” tried to capitalize on a singular “American” identity, rather than an American identity with many different facets.

June 1918 Academic Catalogue, Fredericksburg State Normal School, page 93. Photo copyright Leah Tams.

UMW Special Collections, June 1918 Academic Catalogue, Fredericksburg State Normal School, page 93. Photo copyright Leah Tams.

The 1918 and 1919 catalogs also list “Home and School Gardening” courses, which seem to be similar to their “Agriculture and School Gardening” predecessor, but with a new emphasis on conservation and preservation.  We have also seen this new emphasis in a special course on Food Conservation for the war, listed in the April 1918 school bulletin.  The January 1919 bulletin (also previously examined by our group) has a special section devoted to “war gardens” and its galvanization of the popularity of school gardens.  It seems that even small facets of life were touched by the war!

I asked Mrs. Parsons about club records in Special Collections, especially the YWCA and Red Cross Club.  She very graciously let me peruse the archival holdings on my own, and I was able to find a folder with information and documents from the YWCA.  Sadly, they date back only to the 1940s.  We were not able to find any folder on the Red Cross Club, but I did find one with general information about clubs, and the very first item in the folder is actually really helpful: it is a list (almost an inventory, if you will) of clubs at the Fredericksburg State Normal School from 1913 to 1919.  The list bases its count on the clubs that appeared in each Battlefield Yearbook, and it includes clubs added each year after 1913 with a category “Clubs Added in [Year].”  It is a useful source for gaining general insight into an aspect of student life.

One of my other favorite finds, besides the academic catalogs, was the “viewbooks” that Mrs. Parsons brought me.  Special Collections only holds two viewbooks: one ca. 1919 and one ca. 1921.  The school produced the viewbooks, and they are essentially short photo albums for students–each page has a singular image and a caption underneath it.  The 1919 viewbook had two images in it that I would love to use for the website.  The first one shows a group of students knitting, with the caption “Knitting for the Soldiers.”  I think this image is so cool because I myself am a knitter, so it’s really awesome to see that 100 years ago, my predecessors at this school were also knitting, and they were doing it for a great cause (I like to think I knit for good causes, too).

UMW Special Collections, Viewbook, Fredericksburg State Normal School, ca. 1919.  Photo copyright Leah Tams.

UMW Special Collections, Viewbook, Fredericksburg State Normal School, ca. 1919. Photo copyright Leah Tams.

As cool as the above image is, another one was even cooler: it is a collage of war propaganda posters, created by the students!  The caption beneath the images says, “A Few of the War Posters: Students’ Work.”  Wow!  So not only were our ladies knitting for soldiers, planting war gardens, and doing many other activities to help the war effort, but they were also creating their own propaganda posters to help war efforts!  I’d like to know where these posters ended up being displayed.  Campus?  Fredericksburg?  Both.  I’ll probably never know.  I asked Mrs. Parsons if any of these posters were in Special Collections, and she said no, unless they were hiding in some obscure place that she had never seen.  Either way, I definitely want to get that page of the viewbook digitized so that we can include it on the site.  UMW does have a collection of WWI posters, donated by someone who wanted them to be in a safe place, and many of them are French.  I think it would be interesting to maybe compare the students’ posters with UMW’s collection and see what sort of similarities and differences there are!

UMW Special Collections, Fredericksburg State Normal School Viewbook, ca. 1919.  Photo copyright Leah Tams.

UMW Special Collections, Viewbook, Fredericksburg State Normal School, ca. 1919. Photo copyright Leah Tams.

I’m hoping to make one last trip to Special Collections soon, to see if there are any other sources I need to look at that will be valuable for our narrative and in creating the website.

Progress Reports and Contracts

This week Jack posted our group project report, which can be found here. We found some great archival materials at the Library of Virginia that really help fill in a lot of gaps about the Fredericksburg community during WWI! These materials came from the Virginia War History Commission–I would suggest that everyone else look to see if their state/community has anything similar to what we found, because it really is a gold mine of resources!

We have also been working extensively on creating our group contract (which was due February 13 for our Adventures in Digital History class), and so far Dr. McClurken is very pleased with what we have planned for the website and how we have split up our duties for the project. We still have a few details to iron out–for example, what we will do if the Central Rappahannock Heritage Center will not let us digitize some of their archival materials. And, as we make more progress and being to create the website, we may find that there are certain parts of the contract that we need to alter a bit before turning it in for the February 23 COPLAC class deadline.

Overall, within the past week we have made excellent progress and I’m really excited to see what happens next for our group, and for everyone else!

Collections and Masons and Archives, oh my!

In case you couldn’t tell, we (the group working on the Century America project) had quite the busy and successful week!  Which was a relief considering that we unfortunately could not gather much information last week while we were snowed in for a majority of the week.  Luckily we survived the “snowpocalypse” and made up for lost time by going to Special Collections here at UMW, the Masonic Lodge downtown, and the Central Rappahannock Heritage Center.

This past Tuesday we visited Special Collections in the Simpson Library, and were aided by the always helpful and sweet Ms. Parsons.  This was the first time I had ever been inside the archive (pathetic, I know, considering this is my last semester and I’m a history major) and I was really quite fascinated by all of the artifacts that have been stored and preserved throughout our school’s history.  While Leah, Jack, and I were there, we looked through President Russell’s papers since he was the president during World War I.  Many of the documents were correspondence with faculty members, and we noticed that towards 1918, after America had joined the war, many professors asked for salary increases to accommodate the rising prices for food and other necessities.  Of other significance, there were many references to students and faculty falling ill due to the influenza epidemic of 1918, and the chair of the history department, Virginia Goolrick, died from the sickness.  Though this was definitely a sad way to view life at the university, we did not find that the war itself greatly impacted the campus community, or at least not directly.

Our second adventure this week was a bit out of the ordinary – on a whim we had decided to contact the Masonic Lodge since they have been around since the eighteenth century, and they quickly got in touch with us to arrange a meeting since they were quite interested in our project.  On Wednesday night, Jack, Leah, and I were able to step into the Lodge to see what they had to offer.  (And to experience National Treasure first hand!  Not really, but it was still pretty neat.)  The two men we talked with were the Lodge historian and the current Grand Master of the Lodge, and both were super interested in assisting us with our research.  They gave us plenty of information about the Lodge and about Masonry in general, which was all very interesting and gave us a good idea of the background and how the organization functioned.  They didn’t particularly have many artifacts or pictures from the World War I, but they did offer us names of members who served in the military or in public office.  A couple of names stuck out, such as John T. Goolrick, William Mosely Brown, and Josiah P. Rowe, Jr. (who I will return to later).  Thanks to names like these, we were able to make connections and picture how the Fredericksburg community operated and interacted with one another during this time.

Finally, finally, FINALLY, we were able to go to the Central Rappahannock Heritage Center!!!  We spent our Saturday morning, arriving at 9am, at the CRHC since their hours are not the most conducive for college students who have a majority of their classes during the small window of time in which the center operates.  The experience was a little intense for me, just because I felt like I was being watched constantly and I was terrified I would mess up anything and everything I looked at.  It makes complete sense that the volunteers are worried about the precious pieces of history that they allow us to view, but I definitely was much more anxious there than I was in Special Collections under the eye of Ms. Parsons.  Luckily for me, I didn’t peruse many of the old documents; instead, I leafed through the published letters of Josiah P. Rowe, Jr. (I said I’d return to him) during his time in Europe as an aviator.  The letters were extremely fascinating, especially because he discussed in detail his escapades with “the fairer sex” in correspondence with his mother, which I found a bit strange.  I wasn’t quite sure how much these letters would tell us about the home front, but they were actually quite useful in pointing out the agony that Rowe felt while overseas without ever seeing the face of a familiar “Fredericksburger” .  Rowe also made note of the care packages, letters, and copies of the local newspaper, The Daily Star, that he received while in the service.  The story was a happy one, ending with Rowe’s orders to return home to Fredericksburg.

All in all, I was quite pleased that we accomplished so much in a week, especially given our setback thanks to the sweater weather that’s been sneaking up on us.  We were thankfully able to find some extremely helpful leads, and so now can begin thinking about how we want to organize our site – so far, we think thematically might be the way to go, but that’s by no means set in stone.  As far as the archival experience, I’ve definitely learned in this short amount of time that it helps to always be prepared with pencils, patience, and a positive attitude when working with others, especially those who are extremely invested in the well-being and conditions of their artifacts.