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Starting Point from the Past

In 2006, when I graduated from University, I was far from imagining the mediatic panorama would be suffering such drastic changes so little time after.

Graduated in Multimedia Communication, from the University of Porto, and side by side another colleagues, that pursued the career paths of Journalism and Communication Advisory, the Multimedia Communication colleagues, such as me, were somehow the children abandoned to their faith, that didn’t know what their exact place was. From this “fountain”, many of us chose our paths and, nowadays, the offspring of Multimedia is a jack-of-all-trades in the marketplace. It was the true exit door and the starting points of paths to be walked for many of us. Created in 2000, in a partnership of the Colleges of Engineering, Fine Arts, Economics and Humanities, it was an ambitious and visionary project, now we are celebrating 20 years of its inception. A fresh new 4-year bachelor program, built inside a partnership with multiple Colleges of the University, with diverse professional outlets, and coming forward with alternatives to the programs from Lisbon, Coimbra, Braga and even from Universidade Católica (Porto).

With more or less erratic pathways, what I concluded in the past few months, and, in a return to the roots of what Multimedia anchored in me, is that my bachelor specialization could have been called – if the subject was implemented and in demand in Portugal – “UI and UX Design”.

The way I looked at some of our subjects, we were still on an incipient state of what would become the subjects of UI and UX. To provide some context, social media would only surge as a ‘thing’ 1 or 2 years later, in Portugal, and by 2006, only HI5 was a social network, per se; the book The Design of Everyday Things, by Don Norman, had just been released, in 2005; and interfaces concerned only HTML websites – and the resilient interactive DVDs and some Flash websites.

Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash

From this point of view, it is rather surprising – and to my professors, I give the merit -, that we had broached the subjects of usability heuristics, user testing and prototyping, besides other subjects as e-commerce, web design, virtual reality, hypermedia and ergonomics, when most approaches to this subjects were merely technological and reserved to programmers.

We were in 2006: the first iPhone would only be released in 2007, and the first Android by HTC in 2008, and Nokia was still owning a lot of the market; there were no tablets – only the old P.D.A.s – and there were more desktops than laptop computers. Ydreams was our -only – tech unicorn, and still, their funding was smaller than are being traded in small startups nowadays.

We were in 2006: the first iPhone would only be released in 2007, and the first Android by HTC in 2008, and Nokia was still owning a lot of the market.

However, looking back, I realize that the foundations were always there. I just didn’t know what to do with them, back then, when websites and e-learning platforms didn’t get a lot of my interest and attention.

Some years, and some diverse experiences after, I know that things happen at the right time. And writing about this homecoming – and how this is a starting point for me – is what I intend to do on this corner.


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