Report 2: Design Alternatives
October 30, 2009
The key goal of part 2 of the project is to use the knowledge gained in part 1, as well as that from class, to develop a set of design alternatives for your problem. Further, you must provide a set of initial usability specifications for your system and a plan for usability testing of it.
In this part of the project you only need to provide mock-ups, storyboards, and sketches of your interface designs. That is, you should provide pencil-and-paper or electronic images of the interface at various stages; You do not need to build a working prototype. Your design sketches should be sufficiently detailed for a potential user to provide useful feedback about the design, however. Along with your design mock-ups, you should provide a brief narrative walk-through of how the system will work. Perhaps most importantly, you should also include your justifications for why design decisions were made, and what you consider to be the relative strengths and weaknesses of your different designs.
Accompanying your designs should be a set of usability specifications for the system. What are your objectives through the design? For example, if you are working on a calendar manager, you might specify time limits in which you expect a user to be able to schedule or modify an appointment, or a maximum number of errors that you expect to occur. Basically, you should list a set of criteria by which your interface can be evaluated.
Finally, this part of the project should include an initial evaluation plan for the system. Suppose that your interface is implemented through a prototype. What kinds of benchmark tasks would you have users perform to help evaluate the interface? What kind of subjective questionnaire would you deploy to have a user critique the interface? You will need to actually carry out some of this evaluation in part 4, so you should do your best to set it up now.
Your project report should include all the explanatory material mentioned above as well as all the design sketches, drafts, storyboards, etc., that you generated. If some of your sketches are on paper, we will provide you with access to a scanner to scan in these images. Make sure that your report adequately reflects the design process that your group undertook.
We will use one full Lab day as a poster session at the end of this part of the project. Each group will post some of their design ideas on a poster in the Lab. Everyone will then circulate and interact with the designers. The idea here is that each group can use this opportunity to get feedback about their design ideas and to iteratively refine their design as they head into part 3 of the project.