P02: Feature Design
Research is vital to understanding the people and context for whom we are designing. For this project you will work in teams to design a new feature for an existing mobile application, which means you will need to research the existing interface, interaction patterns, features, and users. This research will help inform the development of your new feature for the existing application.
This project is to be completed in teams of 2.
Applications permitted for this project are:
your lab time on
20% of your final grade.
There are a number of weeks in which to complete this project, so please make sure to read the instructions below carefully.
Starting Jan 23
This week is about completing some
research on an existing application. For the
research, you are looking to understand the purpose of the application, its users, and their goals for using the application. For the
research, you are looking at the application, its usability, and current design patterns. Please complete the following:
Explore and investigate the interface as it is now.
Capture and document in screen-shots and/or notes:
- Primary purpose of the application
- Key application features
- Interface design patterns (how the visuals work: forms, layouts, colours, icons... etc)
- Interaction patterns (how they move us through: clicks, taps, scrolls, swipes... etc)
- Intended users
Having determined the likely intended users for this application,
locate 2-3 intended users
and put together a short study which can help you see the users moving through common tasks or activities in the application. As part of the short study, capture notes and documentation of:
- What is their skill level with the application, or similar sorts of applications?
- Are there things that frustrate or ease their use of the application?
- What might they have tried to do that was not clearly possible with the application?
Having completed a review of
design patterns, complete a usability review of the interface using Neilsen's heuristics. Prepare documentation highlighting:
- Advantages and disadvantages of the interface design
- Advantages and disadvantages of the interaction design
- Problems between the interface and user's goals or mental models
Prepare a presentation
for next week summarizing your findings and highlighting
why your research
demonstrates them to be true. You will have
minutes. Make sure to cover:
- The application's purpose and features
- The intended users of your application (as personas)
- What kinds of goals your users have with the application
- Where and why they may be concerns with the usability of the interface
Due in your Jan 30 lab:
1 set of presentation slides summarizing your findings (as a PDF), brought to lab. Please note that the presentation is worth 4 points (of the 20 assigned for this project).
1 team contract signed and printed, brought to lab.
Starting Jan 30
In this week you will receive feedback on your evaluation of the existing interface and now begin proposing new features or improvements to the existing application
based on your research.
As a team, complete the following:
Working from your research, consider
what kinds of new features
would make sense for your application? You are to come up with
different options. Make sure to be prepared to answer:
is the feature?
does it help your user achieve?
will it work for those goals?
should we care about it?
might it work?
might the user interact with it?
Once you have three different feature ideas,
create a scenario
this feature may solve.
a user might make use of your feature.
in which that feature may be used.
involved in that feature.
Generate a graphic
illustrating the user's flow through
of the features. Do not worry about the look or layout of the feature at this time, but
give us a clear sense of where the feature would be located within the existing application.
Prepare a presentation
for next week summarizing your features, scenarios, user-flow, and
these are valid in the context of the application. You will have
minutes and be prepared to present this information to the teaching team in a desk crit during your lab time.
Due in your Feb 6 lab:
1 set of presentation slides communicating all feature-related information (as a PDF), brought to lab. Also, please note that the presentation is worth 4 points (of the 20 assigned for this project).
Starting Feb 6
Having received some feedback on your features in the lab, as a team
select one feature
to move forward with for the final week. Suggested process for this week is:
Refine the feature idea
to resolve any issues brought-up in the critique, including gaps in the 'why', the user-flows, the scenario, or otherwise to help solidify the feature going forward.
single, focused persona
of the primary user for your feature. Ensure it helps us connect the user to the feature that is actually being proposed, while not creating a stereotype of an individual.
for your feature. We expect the complete mockup to show us a graphically polished and complete version of the feature shown as
into the existing application. This should include:
The layout and a series of displays illustrating the feature
How the feature integrates with the existing application
The visual language specific to the feature and/or drawn from the application
real text (no lorem-ipsum)
Refine your pitch and presentation
to help us understand
why and how
your feature is fulfilling a user need in the existing application. Make use of evidence from your research or process to help support the value of the final form of the feature. You will have
Final deliverables are due to Canvas
before your Feb 20 lab
double-check all your submitted files
to ensure they can be opened. Final submission is
1 PDF of your final presentation.
Remember that Interface Design is a
course, and as a result the submitted package of materials should be considered just as much as any other design you may work on.
Your project will be graded on the following criteria, a
more detailed rubric is available on the course pages.
UI Research Presentation
— punctuality of presentation, clarity and conciseness in explanation of research findings, completeness of research, and quality of rationale explaining why research findings are valid (4pts)
Proposed Features Desk-crits
— punctuality of presentation, clarity and conciseness in explanation of features, three features presented, and quality of rationale explaining why features presented are reasonable (4pts)
Final Feature Presentation
— punctuality of presentation, clarity and conciseness in explanation of final feature, and quality of rationale explaining why and how the final feature presented is reasonable (4pts)
Final Feature Design
— quality of final feature design in standard considerations (legibility, hierarchy, efficiency/balance, consistency, feasibility), integration with existing application's standards, and quality of user consideration in the feature (8pts)