Thinking Outside of the Box

The American Red Cross of Greater Columbus Shares Their Experience of UX Bootcamp

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Last month, 26 designers, engineers, and product managers led by Kendra Shimmell, Teresa Brazen, and Brian Stone—crammed their brains with Cooper’s design methodology and put those learnings into practice designing mobile app concepts for volunteers of the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus. The nonprofit was involved all four days, let our students conducts design research interviews with their volunteers, and gave stellar critique during the final presentations of the teams. We asked Sarah Lewan, Coordinator of Volunteer Resources for the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus, to tell us about her team’s experience of our inaugural UX Bootcamp. Here’s what she shared with us…

What was most surprising about this experience?

The most surprising thing to me and my team was how involved the students would actually be in developing a solution for an app.  We had no idea the scope of this project and Bootcamp until the actual workshops began.

What did you learn about the design process as you watched the students go through UX Bootcamp?

I am not a designer.  I am a volunteer coordinator.  So this was definitely VERY exciting for me.  I learned so much about techniques and tools to use in the UX process.  I believe that I can use some of these techniques in the development of other projects and processes that do not have to deal with design as well.

What stood out to you about the mobile application concepts that the teams came up with?

All of the teams worked VERY hard on their designs.  It was interesting to see the difference on the designs, based on the demographics of the team.  I loved the fact that all of the teams came to the Bootcamp knowing little to none about the American Red Cross and our programs, but left becoming advocates for the organization.

Did the concepts the teams presented inspire any ideas?

We were all inspired by the plans that the teams developed.  We think that there are many portions of all three that we can adapt and use within the Red Cross.

What stood out to you about the final presentations and judging portion of the event?

The final presentations were awesome!  It was so amazing to watch these teams come together from day one and finally end up with a finished produce.  I saw so many transformations in the design and initial concepts.  I witnessed teams grow and learn from each other.  I witnessed adults learn to think “outside of the box”.
The judging was particularly difficult.  All of the teams worked so hard.  But in the end, there was one that just captured the essence of what ClubRED (the Red Cross of Greater Columbus volunteer organization) was all about.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience?

This was one of the most amazing education experiences I have witnessed.  I didn’t want the week to end.  I would love to be involved in more experiences like this!

If you’re curious to know more about that inaugural UX Bootcamp…

Check out the final concepts pitched by the teams, this post by our student, Amber Howard, or these photos of the magic in action. We’ll be announcing a new bootcamp soon; email us at [email protected] if you’d like information.

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