Is the easy way always the best way?
During the 1st semester of the fellowship, fellows are responsible for completing a series of tasks focused on certain topics such as project management, web mapping, and data visualization. As a returning fellow, I completed these tasks last year. Because of this, groups usually include at least one of the three returning fellows to help current fellows complete these mini-projects. I have found over the past semester that though this is beneficial, there are some times when the knowledge I have of an easy way to do something is a hinderance when showing others how to complete the tasks.
For example, during the data visualization challenge, I showed my group members the data visualization tool ‘silk.co’, which is the program that we used in our data viz project last year. Silk is convenient because you can just input your data and imbed simple code into your html, which then pulls directly from Silk’s website. The problem with this is where the data is actually being pulled from. Pulling the visualizations from a third-party website is problematic if the site’s server goes down or if the third-party program you are using ceases to exist. In these cases your visualizations would no longer appear.
I have realized a few times this semester that knowing an easy way to do something is not always the best or right way to perform the task. However, I keep realizing that making mistakes is just part of the project development process. Now that our group challenges are over, I will need to remember this as I move forward with my individual CHI project, which I will discuss in my next blog post.