Project

Project Theme: Quantified Campus / Campus Life

P4: Prototype Design Evaluation

P4 Description

Please complete by Monday, Dec 12th Wednesday, Dec 14th @ 5pm

P3: Prototype

P3 Description

Please complete by Weds, Nov 23th Weds, Nov 30th

P2: Preliminary Research and Task Analysis

P2 Description

Please complete by Mon, Nov 7th

P1: Preliminary Research and Task Analysis

Part A (“P1A”): Please complete by Weds, Sep 14th
Part B (“P1B”): Please complete by Weds, Oct 5th, Weds, Oct 12th
This portion of the project is worth 10% of your course grade.

P1A

Your first deliverable will be a preliminary proposal that describes a target user group, and identifies an activity or task performed by this group that is currently unsupported, or which could be better supported through an improved interactive design.

Your proposal should describe the following parts (approx. 1 paragraph for each):

  1. Your motivation for the project and understanding of the problem area. (5 points)

  2. A description of the important characteristics of the users of the system. (15 points)

  3. Data you will need to collect to learn more about your users (e.g., interview data, web content, ethnographic data). (5 points)

  4. You will submit a team contract  as a separate file, but must acknowledge that you have submitted it and provide the file name in this P1 document. (Find the form in T-Square under “Resources”.)

Apply the research methods outlined in the assigned readings and class presentations to learn about your users, selecting the techniques most appropriate to your problem. Set research questions that you are trying to answer: that information will serve as constraints for the artifact you design later.

Important: In preparing P1B, be sure to obtain feedback from 2nd year MS-HCI students (instructions here)

P1B

For the second part of P1, conduct the following steps and make any refinements to your initial proposal. Include the following in your report for P1B:

  1. A task analysis (20 points).  The task analysis should consist of:

    • A description of the important characteristics of the tasks performed by users.

    • A description of important characteristics of the task environment.

      To answer this question, tell us where users in your target group currently perform the task you are focusing on. Do they do the task in public? Are they mobile? At work while doing the task? Then think about what this means in terms of how they do the task: are they frequently interrupted? Are their interactions constrained in any way? Do they have privacy?

    • A structured task analysis of the problem in one of the forms described in the readings (e.g., Hierarchical Task Analysis).

      See  HTA instructions here. HTA or a flowchart-style analysis generally work well, but if you choose to do something other than these, briefly justify your choice. Focus on identifying the task that the user performs and not how you expect your system to support it. It is important to think about the task in terms of the what the user is trying to accomplish, and what that means in terms of what they need to do at each step, not the interface elements or system states. (The next question asks you to think about the UI, this one focuses simply on what the user has to do in relation to the task.)

  2. An analysis of how the task is currently performed (with or without computational support) including the strengths and deficiencies of the current approach. Here, identify the characteristics of how the user approaches the task and describe how this knowledge will influence your design. Assess any existing systems and related literature available now to learn what current solutions are out there.(10 points)

    This is similar to HW2 Part 2: if you have identified many possible tasks that your system might support, choose one to analyze in detail and describe the task at the level that you described one task conducted for HW2 Part 2. You don’t need to submit a storyboard, but you should clearly describe the steps (and do feel free to submit a storyboard if that helps to communicate the steps in the task)!

  3. A description of the larger social and technical system or context in which your design will fit. (10 points)

    Are you envisioning a system that would work within a larger one (e.g., software to enable students on an academic campus to better navigate the campus is situated within the campus as an academic system with its own social and organizational context, while also needing to work with (or within) the school’s internal computing infrastructure, perhaps also needing to work on a mobile computing platform). Describe the larger systems that relate to your project and how they relate.Answering these questions can help: do you envision that your system would be used in a specific place? Which one and why? Would it be used with or without other users? On what other technology would it rely? Would it be used at a certain times? Are users alone, or do you envision your system supporting collaboration (either co-located or remote/virtual)?

  4. An initial list of usability criteria and principles that should be used in the eventual evaluation of your design, including a high-level description of how you might support these principles. (10 points)

    To answer this question, tell us which principles you have learned in class thus far that you think will be particularly important. Refer to this summary of principles and guidelines.  For example, if you are designing a system that might be used in a time critical situation, an important guideline to include relates to preventing errors–how might you apply this guideline in your design?

  5. A brief description and justification of how the above information was gathered (e.g., did you observe users? Did you interview them or run a survey?) (10 points)

  6. A discussion of the implications of what you have learned thus far about your target user group and the task they perform. In other words, what are the biggest “take-aways” thus far that you have learned through your user research and the task analysis you conducted?(10 points)

  7. A statement of whether or not you wish to make any refinements to the initial understanding of the problem area and/or characteristics of the target user group (identified in P1A) and why. (5 points)

  8. List any refinements you chose to make and why. (Extra 10 points)

Note: You will answer these questions based on your preliminary user research, but you might continue research into P2. 

 


P0: Form Teams

Please complete by Fri, Sep 2nd

List the members of your team (3-4 members per team)

Identify the high-level problem area or topic

Enter this information in the “Project Teams” Wiki page (in T-Square).


* Great suggestions by Randy Pausch for how to work successfully in groups.
* NY Times Magazine feature: What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team
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P4: Final Report  Description

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Please complete poster by Weds, Apr 22nd and report by Fri, Apr 24th –>
<!–This portion of the project will be worth 25% of your course grade.

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P3: Prototype Description

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Please complete by  Fri, Apr 3rd
<!–This portion of the project will be worth 10% of your course grade.

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P2: Design Alternatives

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Please complete by Mon, Mar 9th
<!–This portion of the project is worth 10% of your course grade.

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In Part 2 of the project, you will use knowledge gained in Part 1, along with knowledge from the readings and lectures, to develop a set of design alternatives addressing the problem or need you are focusing on. Your group* will use “informed brainstorming” to explore the potential design space for the problem or need. Then, you will apply the techniques that we learned in class, including personas, scenarios, sketches, storyboards, wireframes and mock-ups, to design a set of alternative user interfaces. That is, you should provide pencil-and-paper and/or digital images of the interface at various stages. You do not need to build a working prototype. However, your designs should be sufficiently detailed for a potential user to provide useful feedback about them. Along with your designs, you should provide documentation walking the reader through how the application or system (or portion of it that you are addressing) will work. You should also include justifications for the design decisions you made, and what you consider to be the relative strengths and weaknesses of each design.

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The approach you take to generating these designs is important. You should seek to create some fundamentally different design ideas to explore the potential “design space” for the problem or need—pushing the boundaries of the space of possibilities. Balance independent work with sharing. Don’t do the following: the group splits up and everyone creates one design serving as an alternative to be turned in. Instead, use the methods we discussed in class, including elaboration and reduction. In brainstorming sessions, all team members should be present. That said, once the ideation process has concluded and plans have been agreed upon, you might choose to create design assets independently, then regroup to refine and submit them.

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Your project report should explain how you addressed the instructions mentioned above. It should also include design sketches, drafts, storyboards, etc., that you generated. If some of your sketches are on paper, either scan or photograph the material and convert it to an appropriate electronic format. Make sure that your report adequately reflects the design process that your group undertook. The key is to come up with many different design ideas, not just a small set of variations from an existing one. You should plan on turning in at least three different designs. For each of the three designs, describe a single task that you are supporting. Take the user through the entire set of interactions you anticipate supporting for that task.

We will utilize a total of three class periods for this portion of the project, as follows:

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  • Mon, Feb 23rd: Each group will post some of their design ideas on the wall. Breaking up into groups of viewers and presenters, students will circulate and interact with the designers. Each group can use this opportunity to get feedback about their design ideas from the rest of the class as they engage in the reduction process. Then, they will begin the reduction process to prepare their top design for presentation to the class.
  • Mon, Mar 2nd: Teams 1-4 will each present a 10-15 minute presentation to the class on their top design (result of reduction process) and their planned approach to Part 3.
  • Wed, Mar 4th: Teams 5-8 will each present a 10-15 minute presentation to the class on their top design (result of reduction process) and their planned approach to Part 3.

Document and incorporate what you have learned from these class periods into your design work and final report (summarize the feedback that you got, and what you did  based on that feedback) and submit P2 by Mon, Mar 9th


P1: Preliminary Research and Task Analysis

Please complete by Fri, Feb 6th
This portion of the project is worth 10% of your course grade.

The goal of this section of the project is to develop a deep understanding of your target users. You will do this by first identifying an activity or task that is currently unsupported, or which could be better supported through an improved interactive design. Identify the characteristics of how the user approaches the task and describe how this knowledge will influence your design. Assess any existing systems and related literature available now to learn what current solutions are out there.

Apply the research methods outlined in the assigned readings and class presentations to learn about your users, selecting the techniques most appropriate to your problem. Set research questions that you are trying to answer: that information will serve as constraints for the artifact you design later.

Include the following in your report:

      • A description of the important characteristics of the users of the system. (10 points)
      • A task analysis (20 points).  The task analysis should consist of:
        • A description of the important characteristics of the tasks performed by users.
        • A description of important characteristics of the task environment.
        • A structured task analysis of the problem in one of the forms described in the readings (e.g., Hierarchical Task Analysis).
      • An analysis of how the task is currently performed (with or without computational support) including the strengths and deficiencies of the current approach. (20 points)
      • A description of the larger social and technical system or context in which your design will fit. (10 points)
      • An initial list of usability critieria, or principles, that should be used in the eventual evaluation of your design, including a high-level description of how you could measure the successful adherence to these principles. (10 points)
      • A brief description and justification of how the above information was gathered. (10 points)
      • A discussion of the implications of what you learned by addressing the goals listed above. (10 points)

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