Hayk Mikayelyan

New York University
Tisch School of the Arts
MPS in Interactive Telecommunications
Huys Scholar 2018

NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) does not focus on just teaching technical skills — there are other programs for that. Instead, the program focuses on critical thinking, creative exploration, and the ability to learn how to learn. They embrace failure — as long as you learn from it. ITP is sometimes described as an art school for engineers and at the same time an engineering school for artists. Perhaps the best way to describe us is as a Center for the Recently Possible.

So, the following are soft skills that ITP shares between students, which are actually new for me. Prototyping – ITP is all about prototyping. You take several classes each semester and you generally prototype a product in each one, and are expected to launch that product at the end of class. Additionally, in each class you have to present your work and then revise it multiple times on the way to the final product. The mindset this program creates is incredibly prototype-centric. Flexible thinking – Because of the schedule of presenting your work continually and being challenged by the teacher and fellow students, you learn to be a flexible thinker. If you have an idea that you think is good, and it gets torn down by the whole class, you have to come back at it from a different angle and present it again. This creates a flexible mindset among students – rather than holding to one idea, they are generally able to flip ideas around in search of the one that works. Bootstrapping – You have all of these projects to create, iterate on and launch simultaneously, and there is no special budget for it at all. Students do not throw resources around on a project or take budget for granted. And they would rather go dumpster diving for resources than look for a handout. Market savvy – There is a culture among the students at ITP that prizes getting attention for whatever product you launch – attention from users, attention from blogs, attention from press. Most clever students are not only thinking about how to build their idea, but how to launch it in a way that it lands in the NYTimes, or in Wired, or in other hi-tech media. Collaborative yet competitive – There is a big emphasis on collaboration and sharing at ITP. There is also a less visible but very strong competition happening at the same time – competition to create the product that is the best in the exhibition, or that catches fire and takes off outside of the program. This collaborative – yet competitive approach serves people and the companies they work with well after ITP.

HUYS FOUNDATION WEBSITE

I would love to contribute my knowledge and practice by preparing, designing and developing a web platform for Huys Foundation. I have up to 7 years of experience in web design and development, while working in leading software development companies in Armenia. Such as “Floopen Studio” where I have been working since 2014 and as a Senior Programmer I lead a team of junior developers. Also, it has been two years that I do web development consultancy for a US based financial data management company called “OneMarketData”. Thus, I am willing to share my experience in order to develop a website that fulfills all the goals and needs we define. The proposed web development will take place in several distinct phases:

Initial Planning & Strategy – We need to sit down with the Huys team and create a detailed set of design and technical specifications. These specifications serve as a roadmap for the rest of the web design process.

Wireframing and Mockups – Wireframes are the first chance to visualize the website. While they are not nearly as detailed as the final site will be, they give us a visual representation of the site’s overall layout. Then we will proceed with site mockups. These add color and a bit more detail to the initial wireframes, giving us a stronger visual representation of the final product. Sketches and page mockups are created to reflect the general appearance and the look and feel of the website for visitors.

Design, Graphics and Development – Based on mockups and technical specifications I will provide the design and graphics. At the same time, I will kick off the technical side of the web design process. This will include deploying Content Management System, creating and coding the template and page designs as well as setting up the website analytics.

Testing – Once we have everything up and ready to review, we need to start testing procedures, such as checking for errors, performance issues and reliability questions. I use various tools to benchmark the website for loading, device responsiveness, and speed, while also ensuring that it works reliably on all modern web browsers and mobile devices.

Deployment & Optimization – Once we are sure that the website is ready to be released to the public, I will deploy it on a public domain, which we have to purchase along with web hosting.

Maintenance – Then, I will shift into a monthly support process that will continue for two years from the start of my studies at NYU. During that period, I will create monthly backups of the website, update scripts and plugins to maintain security and reliability, provide general tech support, and perform layout and content updates as per request.

RESULT: The intended result is a fully-functioning website that empowers the Huys Foundation to serve educational excellence for the Armenian World. To achieve this, the website will allow the Huys Foundation to deliver interactive and visually appealing information to its visitors, pitch to and receive donations from its donors and sponsors, as well as maintain effective communications with its stakeholders (scholars, alumni, sponsors, mentors and mentees, partners, and others).

My long-term goal is to establish a science learning center, which is to be the first nonformal learning space in Armenia of its kind. I aim to promote science learning in a new fun way by stimulating curiosity and love towards science. This learning center will serve as a model for all young learners as you learn best when you truly love the subject and curious about it. Science learning can be approached from different perspectives, though the main difference with the current learning centers is that my goal is to captivate the “wow moment” and excite a desire to learn. This is how I first discovered the power of engineering from my father, who used to be an engineer. It is said that magicians are good at controlling the attention, delivering the important and secondary messages using storytelling techniques. First, it will attract then hold the interest and attention on a specific scientific area.