How to Groove: Digital Media Student Christina Bui Speaks on Her Summer Assistantship

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Over the past summer, Christina Bui worked with Brian Magerko and Astrid Bin of the Expressive Machinery Lab to create the web interface and user experience for GrooveMachine, a musical coding education tool. As the lab’s research assistant, she helped translate GrooveMachine from the physical realm to the virtual, collaborating with teammates of different disciplines, and making major design decisions that would ultimately define GrooveMachine’s online experience.  

“I felt incredibly humbled to work on a team of talented designers and developers. It was really fulfilling to bounce ideas off of them and to see their amazing contributions to the project,” says Digital Media (DM) student Christina Bui on her summer undergraduate research assistantship with the Expressive Machinery Lab here in TSRB.

Bui created the layout for the main index page along with designing the audio and code visualization imagery as a part of the project’s auxiliary functionalities. She also designed the website’s onboarding screen and worked on animation assets.

“It was a great experience from start to finish. I was in charge of designing a whole product and making major decisions that actually came to fruition,” she continues. “It was a really big task with a lot being thrown at me at once, but it’s clear to me that this is the kind of position the Digital Media program prepared me for. I was equipped with the knowledge to make informed design decisions and the foresight to understand the impacts of those decisions on the audience.”

For Bui, obtaining these skills did not come easy.

“The Digital Media program is tough. It will test you and your ability to press on. There were a lot of times where I felt a lot of pressure from my coursework, but pushing through it and looking back at the results makes it worth it. You just have to make sure that you take care of yourself along the way.”

Despite the challenges she may have faced, the results of Bui’s hard work are evident in the quality of the interface that she created.

“I went through dozens of iterations for the main index page just trying to figure out which color palette I wanted to go with. I wanted it to be right. And I wanted it to be something users would enjoy using.”

Her motivation for crafting nuanced experiences comes from her passion for storytelling and art.

“Every interface is its own narrative no matter how you look at it. Whether you’re designing for big corporation, a mom-and-pop shop, or even yourself, the experiences and interfaces you design will reflect the values and unique characteristics of your client.”

Bui credits the Digital Media program for teaching her the skills to recognize these nuances.

Bui also recently reflected on her current Master's project with Professor Nassim Parvin in the Design & Social Interaction Studio. To learn more about Christina Bui, visit her LinkedIn Profile or view her portfolio

Applications for the Digital Media Graduate Program are accessible here, and information for prospective Master's students can be found on our applicant page




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