A large part of the course will be projects in user interface design, prototyping, and usability testing, beginning with the next assignment.
Start thinking about a project you and your team would like to work on -- one of those below or one of your own. Choose something relevant/interesting to you and your teammates, because you will be working on the same project for several assignments.
Consider choosing an application that contributes to some societal benefit (such as public health, social justice, environmental stewardship).
An automotive user interface for a task that a driver might want to do while actually driving, such as selecting music. Your system should be be designed to minimize distraction, allowing simultaneous use of your system while driving. But please don't test it while actually driving :-) You could test it by running a driving simulator game on a computer at the same time. Also think about making the interface suitable for the driver and the passenger. The passenger can devote more attention and might want more information displayed, while the driver should be able to operate the system with minimal attention and distraction.
A website or app that introduces alternative energy technologies to a consumer, provides information on costs and benefits, and perhaps also attempts to persuade them gently to make the choices you think are desirable.
A program for sending and receiving text messages (or conducting some other kind of brief conversation) -- but this one is specifically intended for students to use surreptitiously during a lecture.
A personal assistant for players in an Escape Room game, perhaps keeping track of clues solved and areas visited. Assume the normal rules are changed to allow you to bring a mobile phone, which can connect to your teammates' phones, but that there is no outside internet connection.
The capabilities required for your system are such that users can perform at least three high-level functions. For example, if you were designing a simple car navigation system for finding coffee shops, features should include the following:
Search for a destination (by address, by area, by landmark, etc.)
Save a particular location
Set preferences (background color of display, language, sound, etc.)
Beyond that, keep it simple. Your standard features should be just what is necessary to achieve the goals of the system. That is, in this example, you do not have to able to enter any custom addresses, just to search for coffee shops with desired characteristics near your current location, choose one, and get directions to it (via one route, no need for "avoid toll roads" or the like). The system would have a preloaded list of coffee shops and their coffee blends, friends' recommendations, friends' locations, etc.
The interface design should emphasize simplicity and ease of use over comprehensive functionality.
It is a good idea to design your interface in the abstract; that is, try not to think about the specific features and limitations of the prototyping language you will use.
In your user analysis, you should describe your assumptions of your target population. State their experience with computers or mobile devices, experience with similar systems, and whether they are novices or experts at the tasks your system performs.
You should aim for use of the system to be self-evident: that is, little or no documentation is required. Include any documentation or help screens in your design.