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Project Component I - Group Formation and Topic Definition

Group Formation

The project is to be completed in teams of three. The idea here is to work as a group to generate a wide breadth of alternate and varied design ideas -- just as you would in the real world.

Here are Randy Pausch's Rules for Working in Teams. I cannot emphasize this enough: those tips are probably some of the most important lessons you will get from this class.


Your team needs a binder to hand in the deliverables for each part of the project. The idea is to compile all your project material in one place so it will be easier and faster for the instructor to mark in the end.

Defining the Project

We are surrounded by a vast amount of information - to the point that many people suffer from information overload. The goal of the project is to figure out an application running on a certain device (that you can pick) that can show us the information we need at a glance. Currently many apps send us emails or push notifications to make us aware of information we need. This is not very creative - how can we do better?

The goal of the next four project components is to build an effective information application for a group of people that you have to choose. Your mission is to find a group of people, figure out a device that is suitable for their needs (e.g. mobile, laptop, tablet,...) and design a personal information system for their needs. The potential users could be, e.g. students at a university, parents at home, professors at work, bus drivers, tourists, etc.

Problems to think of in this space:

  • What should the device show? Email, weather, calendar, news, ...?
  • When should information be shown?
  • How important is the context of use to what is being shown?
  • How does the size of the screen influence what should be shown?
  • How would alerts look like, would they be needed?
  • How would the display look like for specialists in an area (e.g. if you pick musicians would John Lennon's display look different than Michael Jackson's)

Your Deliverables

  • Get a binder. In the binder put in the following order:
    • A piece of paper with the names and email addresses of all group members
    • A grading sheet: Download and print the grading sheet here
    • A description of your project idea: Briefly describe your project. Explain what your personal dashboard will do, how you expect it to be used, by whom, and in which context it will be used.
    • Description of users and stakeholders: Figure out who is impacted (in one way or another) by this system -- these are stakeholders. Note that stakeholders and users overlap, but are not always the same. For example, the primary users of self-checkout at a grocery store are customers, but cashiers still make use of the system, and the owner of a grocery store (who is likely paying for its installation) is someone who cares about the system, too. Create a list of these stakeholders, and describe them (particularly the users) in terms of: how much training/experience they might have, their background knowledge, etc.

Handing-in Instructions

The binder is to be handed in at the beginning of the tutorial on January 28th.

Late Policy

For project deliverables we will deduct 10% for each day (including weekends) the deliverable is late.

Plagiarism Policy

Deliverables should consist primarily of your original work, building off of others' work--including 3rd party libraries, public source code examples, and design ideas--is acceptable and in most cases encouraged. However, failure to cite such sources will result in score deductions proportional to the severity of the oversight.

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