TED-style talk – Make Me Care

May 4, 2018

Hi, everyone. My name is Ruitao. When I was in fifth grade, one day, my mom got me a roller skating shoes. Then she took me to a public square near my home and let me tried on them. At first, I felt interesting in roller skating and could not wait to try it out. However, it was not as easy as I thought. As I started to move my body forward, I fell down a few times. It hurt me a lot. I wanted to give up and took off my skating shoes. At this time, my mom came forward, pointed to other people who are skating, and told me that, “if you give up now, you will never know how good the feeling of skating is.” She encouraged me to try one more time. I saw those people who are having fun and skating smoothly. I wished I could do that too. So I watched them and observed how they balanced their bodies. I realized that it’s easier to fall down if I kept my whole body straight. So I started to bend my body a little bit forward and straighten my hands. Then I slowly moved forward again. After I fell down a few times, I seemed to know how to balance my body and took longer strides.


This is the same feeling of the explainer project I did. For the first storyboard, I made a story for a male animation student, who got a low grade for his project, because he did not find useful reference through the recent search tool. Then I changed my idea and wanted to focus on the robot animation, since I heard that animators need to find behavior reference for robots from the interviews. Then I used the tool to make a video based on the storyboard I created. But it didn’t seem right. It seemed somehow limiting. I put that feeling on the self evaluation form. Now how many people here have had an experience similar to that either at school or at the workplace? We are not alone. The day we presented our first video, my professor talked to me and explained that why the video didn’t work well. It’s because it did not show enough struggles of the main character in the story and also there was not enough information to tell the audience why the character chose to do robot animation, how she reached that tool and how Hamper search helped her out in that situation. The following week is spring break, so I used that time to make a more detailed storyboard and then I had user testing for it. From the feedback I got, I noticed that there was something still missing in my third storyboard. So I changed it again. I tried to put myself on the animator’s shoes, imaging how they feel in that situation. Then I came up a new idea. Then I put some colors on it and made a second video on keynote with narrative. Then we had another week for iteration. I asked my teammate to help me out. She was an animation student. She nailed the working process for animation projects. I borrowed a video camera from media center and learned how to use it from the managers there. After I was done with the filming, I made an appointment with a software coach to learn how to edit the footage.

I know what I am passionate about and it’s important to have grit and perseverance: iteration, iteration, iteration. I think that’s the way how we master a new skill, challenging ourselves, making mistakes, and learn from the mistakes. Sebastian Thrun, a German scientist, said that, “ Few ideas work on the first try. Iteration is key to innovation.”

As a designer, This is a principle for our job. We test the prototype to see whether it meets the need in the best possible way. Then we take what we learned from testing and amend the design. Following that, we create a new prototype and begin the process all over again until we are satisfied that we’ve reached the best possible product for release to the market. Thank you!





























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