Assignment P2 (Fall 2017)

Due: Sunday, September 17th, 2017, by 11:59PM UTC-12 (Anywhere on Earth). This assignment is based on lessons 2.3 (Direct Manipulation and Invisible Interfaces) and 2.4 (Human Abilities).

Assignment Instructions

Answer the following four questions in a maximum of 400 words each (on average), with a recommended length of 350 words each. Including more than 1600 words in your assignment as a whole may incur a grade penalty. Clearly delineate where each answer starts and ends.

You are encouraged to complement your response with diagrams, drawings, pictures, etc.; these do not count against the word limit. If you would like to include additional information beyond the word limit, you may include it in clearly-marked appendices. These materials will not be used in grading your assignment, but they may help you get better feedback from your classmates and grader.

Question 1 (from Lesson 2.3): ~400 words

The current process that Georgia Tech uses for enrolling in classes is not very direct. First, briefly describe one of the processes by which people look up and enroll in classes at Georgia Tech. Make sure to describe the steps they walk through in order.

Then, describe a redesign of the system that more significantly leverages direct manipulation. Answer the question: how is this new way more “direct” than the current way? In answering, specifically comment on the new way using the vocabulary of direct manipulation covered in the lesson.

Finally, describe two specific benefits of this redesign. These benefits should go beyond it simply being “better”; in what ways is it better? Is it more efficient, and if so, how is that measured? Is the user better able to cross the gulfs of execution and evaluation? Does the interface demonstrate a better understanding of the user’s knowledge and needs?

Note that the same registration process is used for both on-campus and online students; you may write about either, but make it clear which you chose. If you choose to write about on-campus students, note there may be other constraints that you can use (time conflicts, distance between classrooms) that are not applicable to online students.

Hint: Remember, direct manipulation is more than just good design. Direct manipulation involves interacting more closely with the actual object of the task. In your redesign, make sure you’re focusing on direct manipulation, not just general improvement.

Question 2 (from Lesson 2.3): ~400 words

Select an task (besides driving) that you do on a regular basis that has become invisible by learning; that is, an interface that you used to spend a lot of time thinking about, but now ignore in favor of focusing on the task. Feel free to choose a task you perform that does not currently have a computational interface (such as a cookbook and thermometer or hand-written spreadsheet).

First, describe the components of the interface you used to think about a lot. Then, describe your thought process now, and especially explain why you no longer have to spend as much time focusing on the interface. Finally, briefly describe how you might design or redesign the computational interface to get you to the point of invisibility more quickly.

Hint: This question is best-suited for an interface with which you are now an expert despite some early difficulty. Many video games demonstrate this type of learning curve, as do many pieces of software for complex tasks. You may also think outside the box: perhaps you used to struggle with cooking or budgeting, but have since gotten better.

Question 3 (from Lesson 2.4): ~400 words.

In the lectures, we discuss three types of human perception that are commonly used in user interface design (visual, auditory, haptic).

Using the example of driving a car, describe how each of these three types of human perception are used to give the driver feedback while driving.

Then, for each type of these three types of human perception, design how it could be used to give the driver feedback about something that does not currently use that modality. For example, what kind of haptic feedback might you give a driver that they are not currently receiving? Make sure to choose features that you aren’t aware of already existing, but don’t worry if the feature actually does exist on a car you’re not familiar with.

Finally, briefly name a different kind of human perception outside these three, and describe one way it is or could be used for feedback to the drive.

Hint: Here’s a list of other senses besides the five we recognize most commonly. Many of these are already in use in cars: smell gives feedback on engine status; equilibrioception gives feedback on how quickly the car is turning; pressure perception (through the seatbelt and seat) gives feedback on braking rate.

Question 4 (from Lesson 2.4): ~400 words

In the lecture, we give five suggestions for reducing cognitive load in interface design: using multiple modalities, letting the modalities complement each other, giving the user control of the pace, emphasizing essential content while minimizing clutter, and offloading tasks from the user onto the interface.

Select two of these tips. For each tip, select an interface from your everyday life that violates the suggestion. Briefly describe the interface, and then describe violation of the tip. Then, briefly redesign the interface to incorporate the tip into its design.

Hint: If you’re stuck, try thinking of an interface that currently follows the tip, and then try to brainstorm a similar interface that does not follow that tip. Be cautious with the fifth tip: if you aim to automate a significant part of the task, then you should focus on the interaction between the user and the interface that triggers the task and captures the user’s input rather than how the task is actually automated.

Submission Instructions

Assignments should be submitted to the corresponding assignment submission page in accordance with the Assignment Submission Instructions. Most importantly, you should submit a single PDF for each assignment. This PDF will be ported over to Peer Feedback for peer review by your classmates. If your assignment involves things (like videos, working software prototypes, etc.) that cannot be provided in PDF, you should provide them separately (either through the class Resources folder or your own upload destination) and submit a PDF that links to or otherwise describes how to access that material.

This is an individual assignment. Even if you already plan to work on a team for the project, this assignment should still be completed individually.

Late work is not accepted without advanced agreement except in cases of medical or family emergencies. In the case of such an emergency, please contact the Dean of Students.

Grading Information

As with all assignments in this class, this assignment will be graded on a traditional A-F scale based on the extent to which your deliverable met expectations. This letter grade will be derived from internal scores assigned to each problem.

Peer Review

After submission, your assignment will be ported to Peer Feedback for review by your classmates. Grading is not the primary function of this peer review process; the primary function is simply to give you the opportunity to read and comment on your classmates’ ideas, and receive additional feedback on your own. All grades will come from the graders alone.

You will typically be assigned three classmates to review. You receive 1.5 participation points for completing a peer review by the end of the day Thursday; 1.0 for completing a peer review by the end of the day Sunday; and 0.5 for completing it after Sunday but before the end of the semester. For more details, see the participation policy.