Students work with Microsoft on user experience design project

Western Today staff

Western Washington University students pursuing the new User Experience Design minor are currently collaborating with Microsoft on a project called “Collaboration + Cloud 2020” for their senior capstone course.

Students take the minor’s capstone course during their senior year, where students form interdisciplinary teams and work on a UX Design project with an industry partner.

User experience design is a multidisciplinary profession that is still evolving and yet is in high demand. It is a combination of graphic design, industrial design, psychology, computer science and business that requires big picture, strategic design skills, and the ability to design the very detailed interactions in interface.

Through this quarter’s UX Design project, students are broken into three teams and are all addressing the question “How can we effectively collaborate and share with each other using The Cloud in 2020?”

Each of the three teams are addressing different collaboration problems, including how to simplify the application process for low income students applying for financial aid and scholarships; how to coordinate and plan a vacation or wedding with family and friends that are scattered around the world; and how to improve online classes’ community, engagement, and increase passing rates using UX Design collaboration tools.

Students will complete five project phases, including research, synthesis, conceptualization, design development, and a final prototyping and concept presentation. The student teams will present their projects to Microsoft on Thursday, Dec. 4 at Microsoft’s main campus in Redmond.

Students working on this project include Adam Patrick Boroughs of Vashon; Mark Lawrence Broyles of Kenmore; Evan John Brunhaver of Bellingham; Tianyi Geng of Issaquah; Megan Carmen Li of Newcastle; Aaron Meyers of Marysville; Enkhbayar Munkh-Erdene of Federal Way; Katherine Rebecca Nelson of Moscow, Idaho; Sarah Kimberly O’Sell of Milton; and Tabitha Christine Smith of Chehalis.

Assistant Professor of Design Brittany Schade is assisting the students in their project.

The UX Design minor consists of Industrial Design, Graphic Design, Psychology, and Computer Science majors. Each student pursuing the minor takes courses in the other three disciplines to give them a stronger foundation in the areas relevant to UX Design.

Through this project, students will learn an introduction to a UX Design project in the real world, learn project management skills in an interdisciplinary team, practice professional presentations, create a strong portfolio piece, and begin to network with professionals in the field.

For more information on the project and collaboration, please contact Western Washington University Associate Professor of Industrial Design Jason A. Morris at

Monday, November 24, 2014 - 12:03pm