computing concepts for designers

Hi techno-curious friend! If you are here you are interested in a workshop taught by me, Julius Tarng, to help you build a better technical intuition.

My vision for Computing for Designers: We’ll explore ideas in computing, what the core mental models are that caused software programming and design tools to be the way that they are. We’ll look at that through the lens of a designer, starting with graphic design (color, type, layout), as well as interaction and game design. We’ll talk about markup and programming languages (maybe even write our own), data structures, software architecture, APIs, shaders…

This is a retreat for folks who once were inspired by technology but through day to day labor have become jaded about their medium of craft. Let’s take some time to approach things from a technological perspective and build a new intuition about this digital material we work with.

This course is for you if you answer "yes" to one or more of these:

🤷‍♂️ Have you ever designed some cool idea for an interaction but someone told you it wasn't feasible to build it?

😰 Do you want to understand how software is made but are intimidated by programming?

🧐 Are you curious about general computing concepts but haven't found a venue to ask questions about it?

When I say "computing concepts" I mean just that. It's not a euphemism for yet another intro-to-javascript class.

We'll focus this first workshop on microinteractions. We'll break them down into abstract components that a computer actually needs to make it a reality:

🔢 How does a real-world swipe get translated into something the computer understands?

🧠 How does the computer remember an interaction's state so that the gesture can be interrupted?

👁 What are the different ways different computers use to render the interface or graphics to screen?

We'll create our own pseudo-code (the wireframe equivalent for programming), and draw tons of diagrams together, and discuss related topics like data structures and APIs. We'll co-create a digital zine to explore the concepts we discussed together.

It's an experiment — we'll probably do a short run (maybe 3 sessions, 2 hours each) with a small group, and record them to share. The dialogue between us will be the best part. I'll ask a ton of questions but also expect you to ask a ton back. If I don't know something, we'll do it live and figure it out. There will be a Discord!

Success to me looks like: a small community of designers who have deeper technical understanding of their craft. I hope you'll come and join me.

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