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:


Before your lab time on Feb 20.


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 exploratory and evaluative research on an existing application. For the exploratory research, you are looking to understand the purpose of the application, its users, and their goals for using the application. For the evaluative research, you are looking at the application, its usability, and current design patterns. Please complete the following:

  1. Explore and investigate the interface as it is now. Capture and document in screen-shots and/or notes:
  2. 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:
  3. Having completed a review of interface and interaction design patterns, complete a usability review of the interface using Neilsen's heuristics. Prepare documentation highlighting:
  4. Prepare a presentation for next week summarizing your findings and highlighting why your research demonstrates them to be true. You will have five minutes. Make sure to cover:
Due in your Jan 30 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:

  1. Working from your research, consider what kinds of new features would make sense for your application? You are to come up with three different options. Make sure to be prepared to answer:
  2. Once you have three different feature ideas, create a scenario illustrating:
  3. Generate a graphic illustrating the user's flow through each of the features. Do not worry about the look or layout of the feature at this time, but do give us a clear sense of where the feature would be located within the existing application.
  4. Prepare a presentation for next week summarizing your features, scenarios, user-flow, and why these are valid in the context of the application. You will have five 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Create a 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.
  3. Create a complete mockup for your feature. We expect the complete mockup to show us a graphically polished and complete version of the feature shown as intergrated into the existing application. This should include:
  4. 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 five minutes.

Final Delivery

Final deliverables are due to Canvas before your Feb 20 lab and 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 design course, and as a result the submitted package of materials should be considered just as much as any other design you may work on.

Grading Rubric

Your project will be graded on the following criteria, a more detailed rubric is available on the course pages.

  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. 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)
  4. 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)