Context, for mobile computing, is unpredictable. A person might use a smartphone while walking in the park, sitting at a desk, visiting a construction site, or sitting on a boat far from cell service. Context offers more than a design challenge, though: location and environment can become part of how a person interacts with the device.
As we spend more time moving through a place – living in a place – we tend to grow fixed in our understanding of that place. We know the fastest routes, the best stores, and the quietest spots to rest. Your task is to use mobile tools to unseat a user’s settled understanding of Washington, D.C. or another locale.
Imagine a smartphone application or mobile website that aims, somehow, to alter a local’s view of this place. Choose a purpose and a topic yourself. You might focus on a person’s perception of a single block, or you could cast a net across the entire city.
Explore the possibilities of mobile devices, network connectivity, and rich interfaces. This project should use location, device orientation, acceleration, live audio/video/images, or other environmental cues as inputs. The user’s world should be part of the interface.
Design that website or application. Create design documentation that explains the idea. You must explore more than one design direction for the first few weeks of this project.
Examine the ways in which real-world context, interactive media, and a user’s background come together to create an experience. Experiment with media that change depending on their position in space. Consider ways of using prototyping to develop and present a more complex idea.
Design for a smartphone or tablet, of roughly the size and capabilities of current devices. You may use touch inputs, as well as audio in/out, video in/out, geolocation, acceleration, and orientation.
You may conceive of this as an application or a mobile-specific website – your preference. The project may include a map, but the map should not be the central part of the user experience.
Your materials should adequately explain your idea. Deliverables vary depending on the nature of the project. You will need some variation on:
- A poster that explains the key concepts.
- A paper, screen, or video prototype.
- Additional wireframes, flowcharts, text, or illustrations, on paper or on screen.
25% Concept 25% Usability and navigation 25% Visual design and screen typography 25% Quality of documentation
Plan on presenting final work on 3 October.
Published 2012-09-05. Modified 2012-09-06.