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  1.   1.  Overview
  2.   2.  Teams
  3.   3.  Portfolio
  4.   4.  Project Ideas
  5.   5.  Project Components

1.  Overview

The project is a hands-on opportunity to try the methods and ideas that we cover and discuss in class -- in particular, to engage in a user-centered design process. The two main lessons to be learned here is that: (a) designers do not rely on their intuition, but instead rely on real user research, and that (b) design is really about a process. This is a process that you can apply as a software developer in the real world.

You will choose a project idea to work from, and use that project idea for every component. The project has four main components. The first component asks you to consider real users in the context of real activities, and understand their real needs. The second component is about the process of brainstorming and iteratively developing and building on ideas quickly and cheaply, asking you to identify the most important aspects of your system. The third component is about actually building the system in code, and then evaluating the interface/system that you have built using heuristics. In the final component, you provide a brief report, and presentation about the entire scope of your project.

2.  Teams

The project is to be completed in teams of three, where all members are from the same tutorial section.

The idea here is to work as a deep dive group to generate a wide breadth of alternate and varied design ideas -- just as you would in the real world.

This may seem pedantic, but here are Randy Pausch's Rules for Working in Teams. I cannot emphasize this enough: those tips are probably some of the most important lessons you will get from this class.

3.  Portfolio

Your team needs a binder that is 1 1/2" thick. All of your project components will be handed in to the TAs in a binder. The idea is to compile all of your project materials in one place, making it easy for us (when we mark your materials) to see the evolution of your project and work.

You should have section separators for each of the components of the project, a cover sheet (with your names on outside cover), and name/contact information on the first page of the binder.

Print off the Grading Sheets, and put these at the front of the appropriate section.

4.  Project Ideas

You may choose from any of the following project ideas. Most will need some narrowing (i.e. focus) to make it tractable. My suggestion: pick a project that speaks to you (i.e. you find/found it an issue).

  • Kid-friendly Web Browser: design a web browser for young children.
  • Cooking Instructor: design a system that can be used to prepare and cook a recipe.
  • System for people new to the city: design a system for people new to the city. You can decide to focus on tourist, or on new immigrants.
  • Bus ticking kiosk: design a system for travellers in the terminal building.
  • Cross-family communication system: design a system to allow families with children to communicate with their grandparents.
  • Electronic course registration system: redesign PeopleSoft!
  • Ordering system for restaurant: design a system for hungry people

5.  Project Components

Component Value Due
P1: User Research.
Conduct three different IDEO methods to learn about your users in their environment.
7.5% Feb 14
P2: Ideation and Lo-Fi Prototypes.
Brainstorm and sketch a variety of possible interfaces for your system, identifying important aspects of a user's flow.
10% Mar 7
P3: Hi-Fi Prototypes and Heuristic Evaluation.
Implement important features of your interface and system, and conduct a heuristic evaluation on its major features.
15% Mar 24 (paper)
Week of Mar 24 (demos)
P4: Final Report and Presentation.
Provide a report on your work, and present the work to your classmates.
7.5% Apr 7 (paper)
Week of Apr 7 (presentations)