I was the Design Lead for Bradley University’s NASA SUITS team. This NASA SUITS project is a challenge proposed by NASA to universities to submit a proposal that describes a plan to address certain mission objectives. For each of these mission objectives, I was tasked with creating interface screens that would showcase the design strategies from our plan. The NASA SUITS team I was student lead, with many different undergraduate students from different majors, such as computer science, electrical engineering, public relations, user experience design, and animation. While our proposal was denied in the end, I am very satisfied with how the project turned out and can take away many lessons from this experience.
The target audience for this project are astronauts on the NASA Artemis mission. This mission’s goal is to have astronauts return to the surface of the moon. The interfaces proposed by our team would be tested by astronauts on site in Houston, Texas if the proposal was to be approved.
I was in charge of the Design team, meaning that I was responsible for each proposed design plan that would address the mission objectives while ensuring that a screen would be created for each design plan brought up. On top of that, I had to coordinate with not only my team of five other designers but also the rest of the team to make sure our designs were in scope with the project.
The process used as a guiding method was to appoint leads for each team. In total, there was the Design lead (me), Research lead, Robotics co-leads, 3D Modeling lead, Development lead, and an overall Team lead. The whole team met once a week, and each sub-team meet usually once a week with the respective lead. The whole team identified a problem where some sub-teams didn’t communicate enough, so a meeting with just the leads was planned for a bi-weekly schedule.
No user testing was done for this project, but the proposal in the Deliverables section covered planned user testing (Human-in-the-Loop testing).
Overall, this was my first major project where I was responsible for more than six designers. This project honed my skills more on the management side rather than more technical design skills, but these soft skills are incredibly useful to learn. While our proposal was not selected in the end, the experiences gained from this project were some of the best I’ve learned.