This past Tuesday, the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association heard from nonprofit Code Savvy’s Andrea Wilson Vazquez, with attendees exploring with the ways that computational thinking, UX design thinking, and even basic app development can be—or already are!—part of what marketers do every day. Missed the event? No worries. Here are a few key takeaways from MIMA.
What is Computational Thinking?
Computational thinking involves four different aspects of problem solving: decomposition (breaking the problem into smaller parts), pattern recognition (noticing what’s the same—or different—among the problem’s parts), abstraction (filtering out the parts of the problem that are not relevant, or prioritizing the parts in terms of relevance), and algorithm design (think of this as putting together a recipe to get to your solution).
Sounds Natural, Right?
As Andrea showed us, we use computational thinking all the time, from tackling our own personal problems (like “How I spend less time answering emails every day?”) to solving problems for internal and/or external clients (like “How can we wrangle all the content that needs to be on the website?”). The steps really mirror the way the mind works, as we move from complexity to clarity.
Be Like a UX Designer
An especially helpful way to document that clarity, Andrea noted, is to flowchart it out: create the kind of ovals-diamonds-boxes chart that our UX pals get to make all the time. Whether you’re thinking about how to move persona X along her customer journey or considering whether you should take your dog out for a walk, UX-style flowcharts help you nail all the relevant “if-this-then-that,” so whenever a similar problem crops up, you’ve automated your thinking. Yay for you.
Then Channel Your Inner Developer
Andrea wrapped up the session by showing how computational thinking and UX flowcharts can come together in a fun and surprisingly accessible way: simple app development. Workshop attendees broke into groups, picked a persona based on a Simpson character, identified a problem—and the solution—for their persona, then played with Thunkable to (begin to) develop an app to, for example, help Lisa find running buddies and help Bart stay on track with his school schedule. Try Thunkable yourself, and see how you have what it takes to develop an app.
Thank you to Code Savvy and our speaker Andrea Wilson Vazquez (@wilsandrea) for being a part of Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association with this event. MIMA is looking forward to our next event: “Website Accessibility: Pro Tips, Legal Highlights & Case Studies,” November 5th from 8-11am. Check out https://mima.org/product-category/events/ to register today!
Blog story written by Jennifer Mannion & Emily Brandt, Marketing Committee Volunteers