Week 6 – progress update

This week has been busy with a lot of focus on research and translating that research into a rough draft of my lit review. I’ve read widely around the issue of graduate employability from a number of different perspectives. I’ve found a lot of peer-reviewed literature that goes back a long way on this issue; graduate underemployment is certainly not a new phenomena though it does seem to have ramped up over the past 20 years or so.

One of the most interesting things that I’ve discovered recently though is just how many people have an opinion on this matter. I’ve had lengthy chats with everyone from my local corner shopkeeper to the friendly chap who came to inspect our rented flat about it.

I think it’s such a hot topic of conversation right now in part because of Covid-19 and the effects that the pandemic has had on the HE sector. There has been a lot of media coverage of anxious, distressed students and of rent strikes that have brought the plight of the student into the public eye, with countless articles speculating on where we go from here & what the future of HE might look like. The thing is though, from what I’ve read recently, the graduate jobs market was already in crisis long before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Like depressingly many aspects of our contemporary lives, all that Covid-19 has really done is expose the knife’s edge that we had already been living on for some time.

Reaching out to industry professionals:

I’ve been fortunate this week to finally start having some conversations with industry experts with the aim to procuring some feedback in the near future. This has been a relief as there have been a number of different academics and design professionals that I’ve contacted that just haven’t gotten back to me at all.

I’ve had confirmation from Alec Dudson to say that he’s happy to take a look at my stuff and give feedback which is really great, he’s such a force within the graduate sector and his feedback will, i’m sure, be very good.

I’ve also opened dialogue with a software and web developer Andrea Zanibellato, a professor of UX design at the university of Waikato. I was put in contact with Andrea through a friend and was able to have a short video chat with him this week. He’s on board to help out any way he can and thinks that my project sounds great so I’m hopeful that he’ll be invested to continue to help as the project develops.

Other helpful interactions

Alex has also been really helpful this week, sharing a resource that he uses when embarking on UI/UX projects (which I think he does as part of his day to day work). The document sets out a series of user-centred questions and scenarios which help to understand the user journey etc. I’ll definitely be using this framework to develop my concept further.

Stuart has been very helpful this week on the Ideas wall. I’ve done so much research this week that I’d let my design development slip a little and this comment helped me to move forward with it by giving me an idea of where best to next focus my efforts. I’ve since worked on locking down my concept more robustly.

As it stands, my concept looks like this:

It’s still a work in progress but I’m happy with how it’s coming together. My main concern at this point is that when it comes to looking at ‘viability’ the main obstacle I’m going to face is the initial cost of building the platform. By design it’s reasonably complex right now and from my current understanding a site of this complexity could be very expensive to build. I’m hoping that this is one of the things that Andrea can put into perspective for me when he takes a look at my project in the near future.

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