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Project Component III - Low Fidelity Prototype


Now that you understand your users and their problem, your job is to brainstorm designs for them. As I said in class, the best way to come up with a good idea is to have lots of them, and narrow down. In this component, you will brainstorm many designs, and then use some basic criteria to filter and select the best ideas. You will then polish these ideas, and create a storyboard for at least one to show the entire scope of the interaction.

The goal of this component is to show you that if you have an open mind, your first idea is (unlikely) to be your best idea. Instead, the process of brainstorming, discussing and affinity diagramming (particularly with a deep dive group) can help you find good ideas that you had not considered before.

Your Mission

Brainstorm session. With your group, schedule a mutual time that you can get together and work for at least an hour together. Brainstorm and sketch ideas -- one each on a single sheet of paper. The goal here is to sketch as many distinct ideas as you can -- you should aim for at least -- at least -- four sketches a person (at least 12 sketches). Anything goes: crazy or boring, whole system or even just a small piece of the system. You are aiming here for variance: the ideas should be different from one another. You are allowed to build off of one another's ideas, but make sure that they're different. If you end up with a bunch of sketches that are essentially variations on the exact same idea, try again, because you didn't do it right.

Time permitting, I will make time available for you to do this session during tutorial time.

  • Affinity diagramming session. This can be part of your brainstorming session, or a different one altogether. As a group, go through each of the sketches one by one, discussing the main idea of the sketch. Construct an affinity diagram with these sketches, or with ideas extracted from the sketches. At the end of this, you will have several different groups (say 3-5 groups). Discuss each of these groups in relation to the design requirements you identified in Component II, their weaknesses, strengths, feasibility and originality.
  • Select and polish ideas. From your affinity diagramming session, select the three most promising ideas (four if you are in a group of four), discuss them, and re-sketch them on a sheet of paper neatly. Add annotations and/or provide descriptions where appropriate. Each person should do one sketch.
  • Refine ideas and create storyboard. Take these three (or four) promising ideas, and construct a storyboard each that illustrates its context of use, how it would be used. This should depict some of the interface, and how a user would interact with it. Each person in the group should submit one storyboard.


  • The grading sheet (print and add)
  • Turn in a written document in your portfolio binder (which will be handed back to you on the day the document is due).
  • Provide a summary of the brainstorming process and affinity diagramming process, articulating: (a) the range of ideas that were explored, (b) what major conceptual groupings you came up with in your affinity diagramming process (likely 3-5). Briefly describe these conceptual groupings, and how they relate to the design requirements you specified in Component II and what you learned from your user research: are users likely to find these ideas palatable?
  • Provide the three or four sketches that you selected as having the most potential. Provide a brief description of the ideas, justification as to why each sketch is appropriate given user needs, constraints, and/or the design requirements you specified in Component II.
  • Provide a polished storyboard for these designs (you can provide more storyboards for extra credit). The storyboard should illustrate a usage scenario, and depict how the interface functions in the context of that scenario. You want to provide some detail here (see evaluation criteria on lecture slides). You should aim to have between 6 to 12 slates (no more than 24).
  • As a general guideline, you should expect to have roughly 6-9 pages of content but it can be more.
  • You should provide evidence of your brainstorming session mainly as an appendix (e.g. a photo of the assorted sketches, or the raw sketches themselves).

Handing-In Instructions

The binder is to be handed in at the beginning of the tutorial on February 25th.

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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