Project M (Spring 2018)
Due: Sunday, April 29, 2018, by 11:59PM UTC-12 (Anywhere on Earth).
Answer the following prompt in a maximum of 6000 words, with a recommended length of 5000 words. Including more than 6000 words may incur a grade penalty. Note that only the overall assignment length limit is enforced; per-section lengths are provided as recommendations, but are not enforced.
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. For example, you might include copies of previous assignments, copies of your surveys, raw data, interview transcripts, raw notes, etc.: anything that does not directly address the assignment’s questions, but rather helps understand your progress as a whole.
Over the last few weeks, you’ve individually gone through one iteration of the design life cycle in your chosen area. For the final team project, you, together with your teammates, will iterate through it again, either continuing one (or more) of your individual ideas or examining a new task, interface, or problem. Rather than walking slowly step-by-step through the design life cycle the way you did for the individual assignments, instead you will deliver the results of this iteration all together at the end. This should leave you the flexibility to schedule and distribute labor as necessary to complete your project. Your final deliverable should include the following sections. The percentages indicate the percentage of the grade contributed by each portion of the project.
- Abstract (5%). Begin your final deliverable with a summary of the overall project. Briefly describe the problem, the needfinding approaches, the prototypes, the evaluation strategies, and the salient results.
- Introduction (5%). Briefly introduce the problem area that you are addressing. Provide the necessary background for the reader to understand the following sections. Do not assume the reader is another OMSCS student (if, for example, you’re redesigning Piazza, do not assume the reader has used Piazza before).
- Needfinding Planning (10%). Outline a plan for needfinding. You should borrow from M1 for the structure and coverage of this section, but you do not need to select exactly three methods: you may select more or less depending on what information you need to gather, but make sure to justify your plan.
- Needfinding Execution (10%). Execute the needfinding plan outlined above and report the results. Borrow from M2 for the structure and coverage of this section. Again, you do not need to perform exactly three needfinding exercises, but you should report on the ones you perform similar to how you did in M2.
- Design Alternatives (10%). Perform both individual and group brainstorming activities for design alternatives. Outline a general brainstorming plan, including rules for individual brainstorming, a plan for group brainstorming, and heuristics for selecting from these alternatives.
- Prototyping (20%). Prototype at least two of your ideas. Aim for medium fidelity; even though you may not be ready for medium fidelity based on the needfinding you’ve done so far, this is still a good chance to practice polished wireframes, card prototypes for several screens and tasks, or physical prototypes. If these are not possible, more complete Wizard of Oz prototypes are also acceptable. Functional prototypes are also acceptable and encouraged, but not required. You may use the same type of prototyping for both prototypes, but otherwise borrow from the second half of M3 for the structure and coverage of this section.
- Evaluation Planning (10%). Plan your evaluation approach for these two prototypes. Use the same evaluations on both prototypes if possible to facilitate direct comparison between the two. You should evaluate the prototypes in multiple ways; these could be multiple evaluations within the same category (e.g. interviews, surveys, and think-aloud protocols), or they could be multiple evaluations across categories (e.g. think-aloud protocols, an experiment, and a heuristic evaluation). While predictive evaluation may be employed, your evaluation should not only be predictive evaluation; every group should include either qualitative or empirical (or both). Borrow from M4 for the structure and coverage of this section, and make sure to justify the evaluations you selected.
- Evaluation Execution (10%). Execute your evaluation plan and report the results. Borrow from M5 for the structure and coverage of this section.
- Conclusion (20%). Summarize the findings from this iteration through the design life cycle, emphasizing how the understanding of the user, model of the problem, and design of an interface have evolved. Then, outline what the next steps of your project would be if this cycle was to continue. What new questions are there about the user? What is the next step for the prototype development, increased fidelity or testing new improvements and changes? What type of evaluation would you be ready to use after those changes?
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 a group assignment. One member of your group should submit the assignment. Make sure to coordinate who will submit in advance.
Late work is not accepted without advanced agreement except in cases of medical or family emergencies. In the case of an emergency, please contact the Dean of Students.
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.
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.