Planning Your Project

A large part of the course will be projects in user interface design, prototyping, and usability testing, beginning with the next assignment.

Choosing a project

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).


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:

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.

Then start on your Assignment 2