Group Design Project

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Project Component  Worth 
P0: Design Question & Project Team Form  5%
P1: User Research  30%
P2: Ideation & Sketching  15%
P3: Prototyping 25%
P4: Design Spec. including Evaluation  25%

P0 – Design Question & Project Team Form 

For this deliverable, you will declare your team’s design question for your group project and complete a form that organizes the team.

For your project, come up with a single design question your group will explore. As you consider questions, ask yourselves:

  • Does your question identify a specific population of people?
  • What specific activity is it trying to improve?

Remember, design questions start with “How can…” A good design question does not imply any particular solution in any particular media.

Think carefully about each word you include in your research question:

  • What does it mean?
  • Is it necessary to understand or is it too vague?

In addition to your design question, you should come up with 3-5 research questions relating to your design question. These questions address topics and information you will need to collect during your user research in P1. For example, questions might address who you need to talk to, when your design will be used, where it will be used, etc. Research questions start with who, what, when, where, why.

What to hand in?

Complete the Team Form with information on each member of your group. Much of the information will be helpful to you as a group. The photos especially will help the instructor learn your names so that we can award your participation marks.

You should also submit the following:

  1. Your carefully crafted design question based on the criteria above
  2. 3-5 research questions you need to answer to make progress on your
  3. A short 2-3 sentence statement about who you think interested stakeholders in your project are

P1 – User Research 

For this deliverable, you will use different methods for understanding the potential stakeholders involved in your project which will attempt to answer the research questions you developed for P0. The methods you can choose from include contextual inquiry, design ethnography, surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations, diary studies, etc. The most important part of this assignment will be in choosing the appropriate methods that complement each other and accommodate for the weaknesses of each other (e.g., you might complement direct observation with participant observation, in-depth exploration with several people vs. broad exploration with many people, etc.). Once you have collected your data, you will analyze it to produce design requirements and refine your design question based on your user research.

What to do?

Define Stakeholders – Your first step in this process will be to determine the primary stakeholders for your design problem. You should consider who will actually be using the system, but you should also consider anyone who might be affected by the system as well, even if they are not direct users. For example, if you were designing a health record system for a hospital, your primary users might be doctors, nurses, and billing specialists. However, other stakeholders would certainly be patients and their families, and possible insurance companies who have to process the claims. Create a list of stakeholders and define each of them.

Conduct Three User Research Methods – Choose three different complementary methods that are appropriate for understanding the users for whom you are designing. Make sure you can justify your reasons for choosing those particular methods, and understand how the strengths of one can complement the strengths of another. Conduct these methods with actual stakeholders. The number of people with whom you choose to work is up to you, but make sure it is appropriate for the method. Because this is a class project, it is okay if you do not do as many as might be suggested in the literature. Focus on determining the goals of your stakeholders and the context of use. Your write up for this section should include a description of the three methods chosen, a description of the people with whom you worked, justification for the chosen method, and a summary of the findings.

Define Design Requirements – Once you have collected data from your three methods, take a look through your data and compile a list of design requirements. What are the major requests? What are the breakdowns you observed? The contexts of use for which it should be able to work? The “ah ha!” insights? This should be presented as a bullet list of things your solution should do (e.g., “The solution should work on a mobile device, because nurses are often moving from room to room”).

Refined Design Question – Thinking about what you have learned from your user research, use this to refine your design question developed in P0 if needed. This might be changing the scope, re-focusing it, or making it target a specific user population. Provide your edited design question and a 2-3 sentence explanation on why you changed it (or did not change it).

Written Report

  • A document containing your written summary of the assignment. This should include the stake- holders list with descriptions, a 1-2 paragraph summary of each of the methods used and your justification for choosing them, a 1 page summary of the findings from your user research, a list of user design requirements, and your refined design question and explanation.
  • An appendix of any materials used in your user research, such as your list of interview questions, scanned raw notes from observations, photos from an ethnography, the survey questions you asked, etc. This does not have to be formatted neatly, but will serve as proof of your execution of the design methods. Please note that your report should stand alone without seeing the appendix (e.g., make sure you still summarize and synthesize the results in your report).Your submission can be formatted however you like, but please use at least an 11 pt font in the report with clear headings for each required section. Please submit the report via Dropbox.

How will it be graded?

  • Outstanding – The assignment is complete (includes stakeholder definition, research method descriptions, summary of findings, design requirements list, personas, refined design question, and appendix of method materials) and is of superior quality. The report is well- written, professional, in-depth, and the writing is insightful.
  • Great – The assignment is complete and of high quality. The report is well-written, professional, in-depth, and the writing is reflective and insightful.
  • Good – The assignment is complete and of good quality, but the points could be better articulated, be more insightful, or more thorough. Report may contain minor problems with formatting or grammatical errors.
  • Satisfactory – The assignment is mostly complete and of satisfactory quality, but the points could be better articulated, be more insightful, or more thorough. Report may contain problems with formatting or grammatical errors.
  • Unsatisfactory – The assignment is incomplete or is of lower quality. The points are not well articulated or thorough enough. Report may contain major problems with formatting or grammatical errors.

P2: Ideation & Sketching

By this point of the project, you should have a good understanding of the stakeholders for whom you are designing and their needs. You should now be thinking about ways that you can design or redesign technology to meet the needs of those users. As we have been learning in class, sketching is an important component of the design process. For this assignment, you will begin thinking about ways design might be able to address the needs you found during your user research stage.

What to do?

Conduct at least one brainstorming ideation session (there will be class time dedicated to this) during which your team meets in the same location to brainstorm and sketch as many ideas as possible that could meet your users needs. Have your design requirements handy when you do the brainstorming session as a source of inspiration. You should plan on generating at least 6 sketches per member of the team (e.g., 24 sketches for a team of 4). Each sketch should represent 1 distinct idea on a single sheet of paper, either as a whole system, or as a part of a system. The neatness and quality of the sketch is not important, as long as the idea is clearly conveyed to others on the team. Ideas can range from mundane and practical to far out and crazy. Feel free to build off of each others’ ideas as well during the brainstorming process.

Once you have exhausted all of your ideas, you must then critique and filter the sketches. Either immediately after or during a separate meeting, you should, as a team, go through the sketches one-by- one and discuss the strengths, weaknesses, feasibility, and originality of each of the ideas (similar to how we did this in class). Then, sort the sketches into piles using affinity diagramming to group ideas that go together. Then rank the piles based from the most promising to least promising according to the criteria listed above. By the end of the critique session, you should have chosen the 3 most promising ideas. For each of these three ideas, re-sketch the idea more neatly (and perhaps with more details and annotations) and write a short statement (1-2 paragraphs) explaining the idea, its strengths and weaknesses, and why it is more promising than the others with regard to feasibility and originality. Your justification should state why the ideas meet the needs you identified in P1.

What to turn in?

  • Photocopies, scans, or originals of all the sketches generated during the brainstorming session.
  • A document containing the resketches of your 3 most promising ideas and the 1-paragraph written justification for each sketch. This document should be about 3 pages (1 per sketch – the sketch plus the paragraph).All of the materials must be collected neatly and attached to one another. If you have small pieces of paper, please attach them to regular sized sheets of paper. Make sure each of the team member’s names are on all of the materials.
  • UPDATE: If it makes sense for your project, you can submit this assignment digitally. Make sure that digital photos and other documentation are of an excellent quality; I need to be able to see the sketches clearly.

How will it be graded?

  • Outstanding – The assignment is complete (includes at least 6 sketches per team member and the document declaring your 3 best ideas and justifications) and is of superior quality. The report is well-written, professional, in-depth, and the students are reflective and insightful.
  • Great – The assignment is complete and of high quality. The report is well-written, professional, in-depth, and the students are reflective and insightful.
  • Good – The assignment is complete and of good quality, but the points could be better articulated, be more insightful, or more thorough. Report may contain minor problems with formatting or grammatical errors.
  • Satisfactory – The assignment is mostly complete and of satisfactory quality, but the points could be better articulated, be more insightful, or more thorough. Report may contain problems with formatting or grammatical errors.
  • Unsatisfactory – The assignment is incomplete or is of low quality. The points are not well articulated or thorough enough. Report may contain major problems with formatting or grammatical errors.

P3: Prototyping

Once you have critiqued and narrowed down your ideas to three ideas, the next step in the process is to prototype. Prototypes are distinct from sketches in that their intent is to test the idea with real people, rather than just share or communicate ideas within the design team. Thus, they are typically more well- developed and are closer in representation to the final product than they are abstract. In interaction design, prototypes must do more than just convey text on the screen — they should also convey the interaction the user will have while using the system. Thus, the prototypes you develop should somehow simulate the conditions in which the system will be used.

What to do?

Create a prototype: Your team must create a high-fidelity, interactive prototype of at least one of your design ideas generated in P2. The most important aspect of this project is to develop a prototype that conveys the interaction with the system as well as the overall experience. Thus, tools such as Wizard of Oz prototyping, HTML prototypes, or other high-fidelity methods should be used. Feel free to be creative with this. For example, you could have a person in a remote room act as your communication partner or use remote desktop assistance for emulating shared screens. If your design is hard to convey in your specific setting, a video prototype may be used in conjunction with an interactive prototype. The prototype must be usable by a person (i.e., your potential users) to simulate the experience of using it.

Whether you do a horizontal prototype, vertical prototype, or both is up to you. However, I should clearly be able to assess the essence of the product and the experience during your demo. It must also be convincing and professional. If you are not sure whether you are doing enough for this assignment, please consult with me for advice prior to completing this assignment.

What to hand in?

Prototype: For the prototype, you and your teammates will demo the prototype in class. Plan on being able to demo your prototype in under 5 minutes to leave room for questions and answers. If your prototype requires a specific setting (e.g., being outside, in a computer lab, etc.), I am open to doing demos anywhere on or near campus within reason, but please work with me ahead of time to plan this out. During your demo Q&A, you should be able to defend the prototyping technique you chose, explain how the prototype answers your design question, and how you plan to use your prototype for user testing. In addition, you should be able to turn in your prototype in some format, such as a powerpoint file, html link, or video demonstration for grading.

Have ONE person from your team upload your prototype artifacts to EEE on the P3 due date. Have ONE person from your team upload a short document with any notes on how you might change things based on your discussion in class to EEE on the P3 Q&A due date.

How will it be graded?

  • Outstanding – The prototype is very convincing and conveys the interaction experience of what it would be like to use your system. The method used was appropriate and the prototype is overall of superior quality. The prototype idea answers the team’s original design question well and fits the design requirements stated in P1. The students defended their prototyping methods and understanding of their target users very well, and it’s clear what feedback they got from the in-class discussion was or will be incorporated in their design.
  • Great – The prototype is very convincing and conveys the interaction experience of what it would be like to use your system. The method used was appropriate and the prototype is overall of high quality. The prototype idea answers the team’s original design question well and fits the design requirements stated in P1. The students defended their prototyping methods and understanding of their target users very well.
  • Good – The prototype is complete and of good quality, but the justification could be better articulated or the prototype could have been more in-depth and conveyed the user experience more.
  • Satisfactory – The prototype is complete and of satisfactory quality, but the justification could be better articulated or the prototype could have been more in-depth and conveyed the user experience more. There is some concern that the prototype does not consider the users’ needs or answer the design question.
  • Unsatisfactory – The prototype is incomplete or of lower quality. The prototype does not consider users needs or does not answer the design question well.

P4: Evaluation & Wrap-Up

Evaluate and iterate on your prototype: Conduct INFORMAL PILOT user testing on your prototype. Now that you’ve developed an interactive prototype, find 2-4 potential users of your system and conduct an informal evaluation. You do not need to develop a full usability testing plan, but you should plan to prepare some tasks and have the user attempt to conduct them with your prototype. Make sure your tasks take them through all of the parts of the prototype you develop. It may make sense to write your test tasks before developing the prototype itself. Take notes and use the results to improve your prototype design for the final demonstration and turn-in.

What to turn in:

Your evaluation plan, the results of that evaluation, how you iterated on your prototype and on your evaluation plan based on the pilot evaluation, the discussion of your demo in class, and the design expo.

To be clear, your written report should include at least:

  • Your pilot evaluation plan AND results from it
  • Your final design spec (focused on features not details of implementation) based on all the work so far this quarter
  • Your final eval plan (just tell me the updates from the pilot eval plan)
  • Discussion of how you iterated on things to get to where you are

You will present a summary of your user studies (both formative and summative), your design concept, and your final prototype during exams week in a public forum (with lunch!). You can use posters, laptops, physical prototypes, and anything else you like, but do not count on being able to project. The final presentations will take plan in DBH 5011. You can also use feedback you receive at this session as part of your iterative design process.

How will it be graded?

  • Outstanding – The report is well written and professional; it covers all aspects of the project briefly with emphasis on the evaluation and final iteration of the design. The writing is reflective and thoughtful. It is clear that the feedback from the pilot study has informed both the final evaluation plan and the final design specification. There are NO grammatical or typing errors.
  • Great – The report is well written and professional with minimal errors. All aspects of the project have been described at least briefly, and the final evaluation plan is well described and defended in light of the pilot study. The report could be more thoughtful and reflective but at least some amount of feedback from the pilot study has been incoporated into the final evaluation plan and prototype design.
  • Good – The final design and evaluation plan are decently done, but the justification for the evaluation plan and the design could be better articulated. The report is mostly completely but there may be some errors.
  • Satisfactory – The report is complete and of satisfactory quality, but the justification for the evaluation plan and the design could be better articulated. The report is mostly completely but there are errors or missing information.
  • Unsatisfactory – The report is incomplete or of lower quality. The prototype and evaluation plan do not consider the results of the pilot study.