Assignments

Assignment #9: Final App Design

By Thursday 12/13, please submit your final app design. You may submit a prototype or static screens, whichever best showcases your app.  If you don’t think your app needs any modifications after your final presentation (e.g., you receive rave reviews) you’re welcome to submit your work before the 13th.

  • Prototype: If you submit a prototype, please include directions for walking through the prototype, ideally 2-3 key scenarios.  I’d also like an app map with thumbnail images to reference in case I get lost.  The directions and app map can be in one PDF file.
  • –OR–
  • Static Screens:  If you submit static screens, please annotate each screen with relevant scenario information, e.g., “Amy reads the instructions and taps on the Continue button.”  I’d also like a site map to help me understand how all the pages fit together.  All of these elements can be in one PDF file.

Assignment #8: Final Presentations

For class next Thursday, 12/6, I’d like each team to present a 10 minute introduction to their app.  At minimum the slides should include:

  • Elevator Pitch: What your app does and how it’s different from the competition. (about 1 slide)
  • User Profiles:  Who your app is targeting and why. (about 1 slide)
  • User Research Summary: What you learned in the user research conducted earlier this semester. (1-2 slides)
  • Prototype OR Static Screen Walkthrough: Please include the first time user experience as well as 1-2 key scenarios. You may want to explain how certain aspects of the design evolved based on usability study findings.  If you’re showing a device-based prototype, please test it with the phone projector that’s available in the IT office.  (remainder of presentation)
  • Android and Multi-Platform: You don’t have to include a slide but please be prepared to explain how  an Android version of your app may or  may not differ from the iOS one.  Also, be prepared to answer any questions about introducing your app on other platforms, e.g., tablets, desktop, TV.

Assignment #7: Prototype Test & Top Findings

By Thursday, 11/29, 9 AM (deadline extended!) please test your prototype and post your findings and recommendations on your group page.

  • Recruit a minimum of five prospective users via Friends & Family.
  • Develop a research protocol that includes 1) a brief background interview, 2) scenario-based prototype test and 3) brief set of closing questions.
  • For the scenario-based prototype test, be sure to test the new user experience.  Really show these prospective users what they’d see the first time they open your app.  Ask them what they think the app does and whether or not they would continue based on their understanding. In addition to the new UX, try to test at least 2-3 key app scenarios.
  • For the brief set of closing questions, don’t forget to ask each participant if they’d use the app and why or why not.  Your app may be usable but not useful if it doesn’t meet users’ needs.
  • Via affinity diagramming or team debriefs, develop a list of top findings (~10-15) from your research. Each finding doesn’t have to be more than a few sentences.
  • Based on the findings above, describe how you plan to change your prototype.  This may also be a bulleted list with short descriptions or integrated with the findings.

Assignment #6: Prototype

By Thursday, 11/8, I’d like each team to submit an interactive prototype of their app.  A few notes:

  • Scope: Ideally you should prototype the storyboards you submitted in Assignment #4.  If you can’t get them all done, start with the most compelling ones.  Most importantly, the scenarios prototyped should have a clear beginning and end.
  • Tools: Axure, Keynote, or HTML/CSS for interactivity (please ask me if you plan to use something other than these three).
  • Fidelity: The screen designs in your prototype may be black/white/gray with limited visual design (e.g., no icons, gradients, type or color treatment) but please move away from hand-drawn sketches and create electronic sketches to scale.
  • Deliverable:  Submit a URL so I can view the prototype on my phone.  If that’s not possible, send me an email with a brief explanation.  In addition to the prototype, include instructions for walking through the prototype (these “instructions” could simply be a scenario).  Lastly, please describe how you plan to deal with orientation changes (landscape vs portrait) in the application.

Assignment #5: Mid-way Presentations

For class next Thursday, 10/25, I’d like each team to present a 10-12 minute synopsis of their work thus far.  I’d like everyone to have an opportunity to present this term so for teams of four, perhaps two people present for the mid-way presentation and the two others for the final presentation. You can use any presentation tool, e.g., PPT or Keynote, but at minimum the slides should include:

  • Elevator pitch: What your app does and how it’s different from the competition. (about 1 slide)
  • User Profiles:  Who your app is targeting and why. (about 1 slide)
  • User Research Findings: What you showed prospective users and what you learned.  Please keep this very brief since many of you already shared findings in class. (1-3 slides)
  • Storyboards:  Show at least one of your storyboards using the scenario(s) you created.  This should be the highlight of your presentation so please spend the most time on this part.
  • Prototype: How you plan to approach the app prototype, e.g., what tools you’ll use and which parts of your app map you’ll tackle first.  If you’ve already started your prototype, please feel free to share your progress though it’s not required. (about 1 slide)

Assignment #4: Scenarios, Storyboards, & App Map

By Thursday, 10/18, 9 AM, please create 3-5 key scenarios for your app. These scenarios should then be translated into storyboards that illustrate your app in action.  Finally, use the storyboards to start creating your application map. All 3 items can be posted together in a PDF. Details below:

  • Scenarios: ~3-5 scenarios focused on the core app tasks. Each one can be one short paragraph in length, or longer if you find it valuable.
  • Storyboards:  The storyboards for your scenarios may be hand-drawn or electronic. If you’d like some examples, please refer to the ones included in the lecture “From Research to Design.”
  • App Map: The application map may also be hand-drawn but I suggest electronic (e.g., Omnigraffle) since you are likely to update the map as your app evolves.  Starting with simple boxes , arrows, and annotations is fine for now. Later in the term, you may want to plug-in more finished sketches and tap areas.

Assignment #3: User Research & Top Findings

By Thursday, 10/4, 9 AM (deadline extended!) please complete your user research and post your findings and recommendations on your group page. Also, a brief status update via email is required by 9/27, 9 AM.

  • Recruit a minimum of five prospective users via Friends & Family.
  • Develop a research protocol that includes an intro, interview, concept walkthrough and closing.
  • Make sure your concepts are as clear as possible in advance of your session. Consider using Sharpies and heavy card stock instead of regular printer paper.
  • Via affinity diagramming or team debriefs, develop a list of top findings (~10-15) from your research. Each finding doesn’t have to be more than a few sentences.
  • Based on the findings above, describe how you plan to change your sketches and/or product requirements.  This may also be a bulleted list with short descriptions or integrated with the findings.

Assignment #2: Recruiting Strategy, Competitive UX Analysis, Concept Sketches

By next Thursday, 9/20, at 9 AM, please complete the following three tasks for your group projects.  I strongly recommend doing the competitive analysis before you start the concept sketches.

Recruiting Strategy: Think about how you may recruit folks for user interviews the week of September 24th. As I mentioned in class, I normally recruit via Craig’s List but it’s very time consuming.  As a compromise, you may recruit via “Friends & Family.”  Ideally the individuals are at least one person removed, e.g., not your brother but perhaps your brother’s friend.  You should aim for a balanced mix of individuals that meet your profile criteria. For example, the Graffiti group might include 3 artists (primary), 1 student (secondary), and 1 activist (secondary). There isn’t a deliverable for this task but I may ask you to briefly share your thoughts in class next week.  Don’t worry if you’re new to user research, it’s the focus of next week’s lecture.

Competitive UX Analysis: If you haven’t already, start taking a closer look at your app’s competition, specifically the user experience. What are they doing well? What can be improved? Print out some of the more compelling UI elements and note why you think they’re special with a sticky note. You’re welcome to do more but aim to cover at least the front of one of the foam core boards in our classroom (in the cardboard box in the front.) You’ll briefly (~ 5 minutes) share your highlights and board with your classmates next Thursday.

Concept Sketches: As I mentioned in class, I’d like you to translate your ideas into 3 distinct UX concepts. If possible, try to focus on the one screen that defines your app. For example, the defining screen for the Food Dictionary will probably include a photo of a dish and its description but it can be represented many different ways. Varying the navigation or layout isn’t enough to make the concept distinct. If it’s not possible to represent the concept with one screen, try to limit yourself to no more than 3 screens. These can be hand drawn sketches or electronic ones.  I’d prefer that you steer away from template programs such as Balsamiq for now and use limited or no color. Please post these on the course web site (image or PDF) and bring printouts to class (one copy of each). When you post these on the web site, please include the assignment number, group name (abbreviated), and concept number, e.g., Assign2_Food_Concept1.jpg.

 

Assignment #1: User Profiles, Hero Moments & Multi-screen Ecosystem

By next Thursday, 9/13, at 9 AM, please complete the following three tasks for your group projects. Combined they should be at most 2 pages, in 8×11 format so they can be easily printed. I envision the first two items fitting on one page and the third one on its own page. I’m open to other layouts as long as the whole deliverable doesn’t exceed 2 pages. This will be a living document that evolves over the course of your project so don’t worry if these items don’t feel complete or 100% accurate by next week.

Note: I’m planning to create group pages where you can post all of your project deliverables. If they’re not ready by next week, I’ll ask you to email me PDFs of your work.

  • User Profile: Who is your app targeting? Try to focus on approximately 3 profiles for now and please note primary vs. secondary.  You’ll be able to expand on these via user research but you first need to figure out who you would even interview. For example, for the Split the Bill group, your first impulse may be to say, “The app is for people who often dine out in groups.” But who are these people: Students? Work colleagues? Other groups? How often is “often”? You may also want to consider who your app isn’t for and explain why. For now, each profile doesn’t need to be more than 2-3 sentences.
  • Hero Moments: For the user profiles you’ve defined above, how will your app be their hero? For example, with the Track what you Wear app, it may save your user from embarrassment but what else? Similarly, for the Coupon Discovery app, the hero moment has to be more descriptive than, “It will help users save money.” These hero moments (3-5) can be one to two short sentences each.
  • Multiscreen Ecosystem: Start to think about the devices in your app’s ecosystem (don’t worry about the OS for now.) Which devices do you intend to support and why? Which devices won’t you support and why? What role does each device play? Are there multiple devices of one particular type? For example, the Urban Game Play app is multi-user and that should be represented in the sketch.  While the other 2 tasks above can be text only, I’d like your ecosystem to be visual like the Precious sketches.  Please do not include screen level sketches in the ecosystem unless they are highly abstracted, e.g., Food Dictionary could have a simple sketch of spaghetti showing up on a device.

 

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