Written by volunteer instructor Vinessia Hankins
Vinessia Hankins works for Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, Inc. and is a part of our continually growing TechGirlz volunteer community in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The workshop ‘Designing Mobile Apps’ has definitely become one of my favorites offered by TechGirlz. I initially served as a TA (teaching assistant) when I was first introduced to this particular workshop, but I quickly realized that I could and wanted to host this workshop again to even more girls because I understood not only the importance of ‘design thinking’, but also the fact that anyone, not just ‘techies’ would be able to understand and add their own unique value. Although this workshop focuses on a structured approach to designing mobile applications which in and of itself is a technical topic, the skills required to create a successful prototype for these type of applications require the culmination of both ‘left’ and ‘right’ brain thinkers.
During this workshop, the girls were randomly grouped into teams and given an overview of the thinking process to follow while brainstorming and designing their own mobile applications. Key elements to consider were highlighted, in particular, basic features and functions of the application, the user experience/journey and the importance of the logo. What I always find amazing is the creativity of these girls! The presentations by each group were very unique and well thought out given the time constraints. Within a short period of time (1.5 hours), these young ladies were able to display an understanding of ‘design thinking’ which takes months and sometimes years to actually execute with ‘real world’ projects.
Having spent most of my career (over 25 years!) in technology, I understand how vitally important it is for girls to actually see and hear from women in this industry. Although my degrees are in engineering and computer science, these girls got a chance to experience and see that technical fields are not just for the ‘boys’ nor only those really smart in math & science. I always look forward to sharing with them my experiences and explaining the many different disciplines and roles that are needed in technical industries. Not only that, but working in the IT industry is not only very interesting, but pretty cool too!
I was pleased that we were able to demo briefly the Marvel Application at the end of the workshop so that the girls could see how they could move their design to a ‘prototype’.
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