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Help me revise my answers to the 5 questions asked by the UMSI(User Experience Program)


robyroby 1 / 1  
Jan 7, 2018   #1

information field, school, aspirations, community - umsi



Hi everyone,
Thanks for your time and effort. The five questions of the SOP are:

1. What are the critical issues in the field of information?
2. What are your aspirations in the field of information?
3. What is your understanding of the School of Information?
4. How will a UMSI education help you reach your aspirations?
5. What would you contribute to the UMSI community and to the field as a whole?

My answers are:

1. What are the critical issues in the field of information?
I've long been enjoying watching TV series and movies on Youtube. One of the reasons is that Youtube would recommend videos of the same type on my home page according to what I've watched and clicked "Like" to, which saves my troubles to a large extent. I needn't waste time and effort looking for or previewing videos that I might like as it has helped me eliminate redundant information based on my preference. However, other video websites, like Youku, ignore this, due to which I don't use it anymore. This observation made me realized that attention of different levels to users' requirements will exert great influence on the way in which these websites deal with information, which will further affect user experience.

Through my work experience at Internet companies, I am more aware that it is a key point to learn users and pay attention to their needs in the field of information, especially in human-computer interaction. As an online logo design contest platform, our company has two user groups with one being clients who have demands for logo designs and the other is designers of the platform. My task is to capture and analyze the requirements of clients and convey it to designers. Thanks to my understanding and attention to them, I know that designers prefer communicating by means of images, so I show clients' design requirements to them in form of design patterns, which greatly improves their user experience as they can read the requirements of clients shown in images directly and visually instead of wasting time reading verbose texts.

2. What are your aspirations in the field of information?
In the field of information, my interest lies in design of user experience and I believe that understanding and emphasizing user requirements is key to creating better user experience. Therefore, I long to become a designer and researcher with good command of academic theories and practical experience, thus to help people get better use experience. I have built up my passion and skill-sets in User Experience Design by being involved in several studies and projects. The first project that I have led is the Application of Gamification to Whale Design Product. Through user researches, we found that many users consider that the product experience lacks diversity, so we designed a set of new reward mechanism consisting of "Point - Level - Skill Tree - Contest Type" based on the original minimum viable product. The new mechanism creates a experience loop with an abundance of touch points,. After nearly one year's researches and designs, this experience design is highly praised by initial users in close beta test and presently, it is in the development phase of the first version.

The research experience of this period makes me realize the potential of gamification applied to experience design because it promotes the concept of user needs to the level of intrinsic motivation. The intrinsic motivations of different user needs that seem different are actually the same. For example, Facebook users' requirements for more friends, more"Likes" or more "Comments" all originate from the intrinsic motivation to satisfy their sense of achievement. Therefore, stimulation for such motivations through design means can grasp users' needs in essence, thus to promote users' experience. Just as what Yu-Kai Chou says in Actionable Gamification, "Gamification may become a method we often use to observe the world and think about design. Its principle lies in optimizing people's motivation. I hope it will become a superior design standard in all fields one day"(Yu-Kai, 2017, p.22) I hope to further my research on gamification theories and establish a set of unique and effective product experience design theories to make the concept of gamification become the standard of scaling good designs in all fields.

3. What is your understanding of the School of Information?
Due to the diverse environment of UMSI, I regard it as a large platform with various resources where students of all backgrounds can find new interests and potentials. Besides, the uniqueness of UMSI consists in that it provides highly specialized career development paths of over 30 fields for students, which attracts me a lot. It can be seen that not only does UMSI concern itself with every student's interests and career plans, but also it has extensive connections and strong power in the industry fields. My friend Andong, who is a student in UMSI, told me a lot of his life and study in UMSI .I am really surprised that he has begun to consider applying for a doctor degree of social science after 6 months study in UMSI because Andong and I are both from architecture department. I really hope that I can also get rid of my inherent thinking model and have access to knowledge of information science which is more diversified and advanced. Meanwhile, I know that UMSI lays great emphasis on cultivating students' leadership. On the platform of international top universities of Umich, students from UMSI are able to lead the reform of a field with international view and solve problems that puzzle humans in real life, which is an important reason why I choose UMSI.

4. How will a UMSI education help you reach your aspirations?
The solid teaching and frontier research of UMSI in the area of human-computer interaction can greatly improve my ability in this area, which is what I am lacking in. My understanding and thinking of user experience mainly come from practice with the thinking mainly based on solving problems that users feed back, so systematic theoretical guidance is not available. Yet to my satisfaction, UMSI provides professional career development path for user experience designer, especially its studio-based courses. For example, I can learn an entire set of user experience design process from Pervasive Interaction Design, which is a valuable experience. Besides, there are many opportunities of internship in large internet companies like Autodesk, through which I can develop my ability in this area practically.

The diversified course provision of UMSI can help me develop new interests and deepen my research on gamification theories. For example, in the course Game Theory set up by Professor Tanya Rosenblat, I can learn to motivate participants' intrinsic motivation from the perspective of game strategy, which is dramatically different from my perspective of function points. At the same time, I notice that a research project of UMSI develops a game called Bibliobouts. Although this research project has ended, it indicates that UMSI has research project related to games. I look forward to communicating with Professor Karen Markey about games, which is sure to be tremendously helpful to my research on gamification.

5. What would you contribute to the UMSI community and to the field as a whole?
At the academic level, apart from the fact that my research achievements of gamification can provide various ideas for UMSI, I, who is equipped with strong ability of 3D modeling and handicraft model making, can make and design prototypes rapidly in accordance with design thought. Moreover, possessed with rich entrepreneurial and teamwork experiences, I can both cooperate with people with different abilities and personalities and assign and complete tasks effectively and efficiently. Due to the outstanding performance in the start-up company, I became one of the co-founders. I highly agree to the mission of UMSI and am willing to devote my ability and talents to creating a better world for human being by means of technology.

Furthermore, I am very interested in the various clubs at UMSI, especially Design Clinic. As I often deal with different clients and provide suggestions and ideas of design consultation for them in work, I enjoy discussing and communicating with others on design, which not only endows me with clearer design thinking method, but also greatly cultivates my language organization and expression ability. Based on the facts above, I firmly believe that my abilities can make contributions to UMSI.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 10,531 3446  
Jan 7, 2018   #2
Chenyang, your responses to certain questions are off course. You are not portraying the image of a person who has a particular career path that he wishes to pursue, which is why he is intent on enrolling in the UMSI. The focus of your responses need to be on the mark with regards to the questions that are being asked. That is where the main problem of your presentation lies. Let me present the problems with your responses on a per question basis.

What are the critical issues in the field of information?
- You responded, in a nutshell, companies that deal with online media need to learn how to better assess reader preferences. That is not a critical issue in this field. A critical issue response would be "While online shopping has its benefits, it also opens the user up to potential security threats. While the users are enjoying their shopping experience, a backdoor virus, unknown to the company may already be hard at work collecting the information of the shopper which destroys the credibility of the company and the user experience. That is why I consider client record security one of the critical issues in the field of information." That is an example of a critical issue response in short form. After presenting the introduction to the topic, a longer explanation should be given in paragraph form. Think of something critical in the field of YT and Roku. Maybe consider the lag time that often happens when a user has a low powered computer or slow internet. A critical issue could be how to provide uniform services to all users regardless of hardware and speed considerations. That is a critical issue these days because of the premium being placed on internet speed as part of reliable internet access.

What are your aspirations in the field of information?
- The response should not be a general information type of thing. Don't say I could work in so and so or at there and there, maybe even in this and that. Be specific. What are your aspirations? An example of the response is "I aspire to create the next social media website that will change the face of the internet in a manner that Facebook did. In my social media website though, people will be connected through the movies that they view and their movie genre interests." Or something similar. Then you can discuss why you have these aspirations. What the motivating factors are and why this is something that you want to turn into a reality.

What is your understanding of the School of Information?
- Unless your friend is a notable student at the university, you better not use him as a reference in this essay. Your friend's name, his accomplishments in the program, and the similarities between the two of you do not matter to the reviewer. You need to discuss this from a stand alone point of view based upon what you understand about the program requirements and demands it makes upon the students. Then you have to describe why these characteristics of the School of Information, and the program specifically appealed to you.

As far as I am concerned, these are the aspects of the SOP that you need to repair because they do not properly or fully respond to the prompt requirements. By the way, just because the questions were given in bullet points does not mean that you should be presenting your responses in the same manner. You need to present your responses in properly developed, connected, and transitioned paragraphs in order to create a smooth flowing statement of purpose that is easy for the reviewer to read.
OP robyroby 1 / 1  
Jan 7, 2018   #3
Hi Mary, Thank you so much for the advice and examples. They inspire me a lot!!
Actually, I also worry about my answers to the first and second question but I have no idea how to improve them because I don't know too much about the information field, but your response gives me an excellent instance. Thank you!

And I see there is a clear narrative logic to each answer, I should present my thoughts specifically at first and then discuss why I have them. This is also what I am missing.

I will reorganize my thoughts and rewrite the SOP. I really appreciate your time and patience!
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Hi Mary, I have another question, I wonder if my answer to the second question( my aspirations) must be the solution for the crucial issues I talk about in question 1?

Can I discuss the importance of the Big Data processing in the information field and then talk about my aspiration is being an interaction designer in a large Internet Company like Google? I will discuss why the master degree can help me with my career aspirations to answer the question 4. But contents after answering the first question have nothing to do with the Big Data.


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