Students from Roman Jaster’s Advanced Web Design class had the opportunity to participate in a “design sprint” at Google’s westside campus, housed in the iconic Frank Gehry Binoculars Building. For those unfamiliar with Google’s lexicon of design terms, a design sprint is, “a process for prototyping and testing any product,” in a short amount of time. The Calarts challenge divided the group into two teams and were tasked to spend the day designing an app from start to finish. Claudia Bloom, CalArts Director of Institute Partnerships, organized the workshop, and Calarts alum and current Googler Melissa Kuo ran the sprint with fellow Googler Kai Haley.
Given that women are still grossly underrepresented in the tech industry, it was encouraging to see that all students in attendance for the the workshop were female. Javeria Ali, one of the participants, enjoyed the collaborative, fast paced creative process that Google employs. “Their strategy is to brainstorm quickly with a lot of different kinds of people working together from design, and engineering, and marketing.” She says, “To make sure everyone’s ideas are heard, they developed a method that is more democratic, where everyone writes their ideas on sticky notes and you add stickers to the posts that you like before any critiquing begins.” It was a new way of working for Calartians, who’s critiques are more individualized, and discussion-based versus quantifying or unanimously voting on the best design solution.
In addition to learning a methodology system that is different from CalArts, Ali says she loved the casual work environment of Google’s airy, industrial-chic offices, the free smoothies and unlimited food options, and seeing first hand how the apps and technologies we use on a daily basis are developed.