Lectures, workshops and year-round mentorship for postgraduate students in UX Design and the Product Design Masterclass.
XX years ago I got a postgraduate degree in UX Design at the SWPS University. Two intensive years later I had the honour of being invited to become a part of the faculty. I’ve also co-authored the curriculum for Product Design Masterclass, a higher-level course for senior designers.
The UX course is unique in that the students are tasked with carrying out the whole process of designing a digital product based on their own idea. They have a year to create something with a genuine market potential.
At the SWPS University, a mentor takes care of 2 to 3 groups of students, each typically consisting of 5 people. We usually meet weekly for a workshop or a meeting. My task is to help my students design winning final projects, and to do that, I need to make sure that people:
- Generate good ideas and build on the best ones
- Stay structured and organised
- Stay coherent as a team
- Carry out solid and deep-enough design research
- Develop sound product strategies
- Design things that look as good as they work
- Know how to manage and persuade stakeholders
- Learn a lot
- Last but not least – have fun!
My mentorship projects:
Spółdzielnia / “The Co-op”
A platform that connects eco-minded consumers to farmers and producers of organic food. A convenient way to get your hands on niche products you can’t normally find in a supermarket.
Myk Myk / “Snappy”
A convenient app that helps you quickly get rid of old stuff that clutters your home. Just take a photo, type in some basic information, and see offers popping up from prospective buyers. You can also just give things away for free, if you’re feeling generous.
That year’s award-winning project is all about rewarding people for pro-environmental behaviours. Earn points through the right purchases with the right partners, then exchange them for real money.
An app that takes the cruft out of stock investing. You don’t need an economics degree to invest in stocks anymore. Aimed at a millenial audience, this mobile app allows you to make money from the comfort of your sofa.
This project is a great proposition for people who need to get their stuff together when it comes to money. FinForest is a personal finance assistant that helps you get “out of the woods” by developing good habits and behaviours.
Have you ever given up on your dream vacation because you couldn’t find the right dogsitter or a dog hotel? Well, you don’t have to anymore. This app matches you with the best petsitters in your area and finds the best pet hotel deals. Pet hotel? HostDog.
Kido helps you find things to do with your child wherever and whenever you need. Tell the app what quality time means for you, give it some basic information about your child, and Kido will present you with a selection of local events and ideas for any occasion.
There is over a million Ukrainian immigrants in Poland, and their numbers are only rising. Yatut is designed to smooth their transition and help them acclimatise. The app will guide you through the process of settling in and find the best public and private services you will need. You may be far from home, but we’ll help you create a new one here.
Lectures & workshops
This workshop has been designed to showcase all the basic methods of working with ideas and problem-solving. I teach the practical side of creativity, which is, among others:
- How to care for your brain and help it generate ideas
- Where do ideas come from and how to help them come more often
- Divergent vs. convergent thinking, analysis vs. synthesis
- How NOT to brainstorm (and how to do it)
- The role of writing and note-taking in brainstorming sessions
- The human factors of brainstorming
- Group contracts and how to write them
- Who’s a facilitator and how to do it
- Lateral thinking, thinker’s block, awkward silences
Teamwork & group dynamics
This workshop will teach you a lot about the social psychology of problem‑solving. You’ll learn the right mindsets and methods for building teams, structuring group work and empathising with your peers. Among other things, we’ll talk about:
- Emergent roles and leadership vs. traditional structures
- Teams as complex systems
- What’s a perfect team in practice?
- Psychological safety, dependability, structure and clarity
- Power dynamics in groups
- Phases of group development
- Conflict management
- Mixing individual and group work for better outcomes
- Group pathologies: groupthink, Abilene paradox, cliques/silos
Communication Design for Product Designers
This workshop & lecture is aimed at teaching product designers how to communicate efficiently, clearly and attractively, regardless of the medium. We learn how to work with meaning and human interpretation. This means that we talk about things such as:
- Microcopy, UX writing and copywriting
- Plain language and plain communication rules
- Conceptual metaphors and prototype theory
- How to user-test your copy
- Denotations and connotations
- Basic semiotics: symbols, indexes and icons
- The symbolism of typography, shapes, colours, movement and sound
- Phonetic symbolism
- Communicative intentions: honesty, irony, and others
- Performativity: communicating by doing
- Tech-mediated communication 101
“Simply one of the best, most rounded and helpful designers I’ve had the privilege of working with.”
“He’s a fantastic listener and communicator. He really understood our needs and documented them all out for us to see.”
“Alex was a pleasure to work with. He is pro‑active, creative, passionate and thorough in his design approach.”
“He is a very precise, highly professional expert. He adapted very swiftly to our needs and proposed well structured solutions.”
Civil Liberties Union for Europe