Visual Design and User Experience

A review of the VDUX course from IIT Hyderabad

The Capstone Experience

The Capstone Project was something I was very excited about. Many short term design/UX courses do not usually include a Capstone project and this was one of the reasons I picked this course over the others.

The Capstone gives you the opportunity to bring together everything you’ve learnt during the course and apply it to your final project. Depending on how you manage your time and how quickly you are able to meet with your Mentor, you get about 3-4 weeks to work on the project. The deadline for the submission is your final presentation at the IITH campus, so the deadline is not negotiable.

The best advice from the faculty was to use this time to work on your passion project or something that you are really excited about. Your Mentor is not going to micromanage you so you need to make sure you are self-motivated and can push yourself to complete the project.

The focus of the Capstone is more on the process rather than the final outcome. You don’t need to have a polished, finished product at the end. So don’t pick a project just because it’s easy to finish. Challenge yourself to do something you want to do but wouldn’t have attempted on your own. There may be projects that you may not be able to complete within the short/tight deadline, but you could use the Capstone as a launch pad and continue with the project even after the course.

This is the process our Cohort went through for the Capstone. This may change for future Cohorts so check your schedule or with the faculty.

  1. Capstone Orientation (roughly 2 months before the submission deadline): You get to know more about the Capstone process and the expectations.

  2. Submit your project ideas: You need to submit two ideas within a couple of days. We had an office hours scheduled with the HOD where we could ask questions and go over our ideas before submission.

  3. Mentor Request: You are then asked to choose three faculty members that you would like to be mentored by. The final mentor allocation will depend on your topic and the mentor’s availability.

  4. Mentor Sync: The next step is to discuss the idea with your mentor and finalize the project proposal and deliverables.

  5. Project Proposal Submission: You will then draft a one-pager based on the discussion with your Mentor and submit it. Once this is done, you can start working on your Capstone.

The time from the Orientation to the project proposal approval can take 2-3 weeks so the earlier you start, the more time you’ll have to actually work on your project. The Capstone has to be presented during the Campus visit so there’s no scope for extending deadlines in this case.

Depending on how much time you have once your project proposal is approved, you may get 3-4 sessions with your Mentor during the process. There are usually no other sessions at this time so your focus should be on your Capstone and sharing your progress with your Mentor.

Regardless of the type of project, one of the final deliverables is an A0 poster with your project details and your findings & insights. This was new to me but I later found out that A0 posters are a standard form of presentation in many research conferences. The biggest challenge here is distilling all the work you’ve done into one 46.8 in x 33.1 in poster. You may want to use the last two Mentor sessions to make sure you are highlighting the most important sections of your project.

Important note: If you plan to get the poster printed at IITH, do not use Figma to design the poster. For some reason, the IITH printer was not able to detect the right dimensions of the A0 poster and messed up quite a few posters by printing them in a square format. Use Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop instead or if you do use Figma, get it printed from any other printer in your city. They don’t seem to have the same issue with PDFs generated from Figma.

In addition to the poster, I also had a slideshow with some of the details I couldn’t include in the Poster. This isn’t mandatory but might help if you need to answer specific questions during the project review.

Here are a few of the Capstone projects from Cohort 3. You'll notice there's a wide variety of topics and styles: