Tools for living

Interactive Web Design I · DM2280B spring 2013 · Corcoran College of Art + Design
Instructor: David Ramos

Imagine a way in which a software/hardware tool can help people in their everyday lives. Develop a concept and a design through critiques and usability testing. Produce a poster and a PDF booklet that explain your idea.

In this project, you will develop an idea for some sort of interactive tool that helps people achieve some end. Design the tool and how people use it. You will need to define, as precisely as possible, the set of users whom your tool is intended for, and the purpose that the tool should serve. Provide this information in your documentation.

Note that we’re not calling this an “app.” It might be one. It probably will. Then again, it might not. It might even live as a standalone device, or users might interact with it through a mechanism other than the screen. You are constrained by today’s technology, but not by costs or likelihood of commercial success.

Part 1: Discovery/ideas

You’ve been assigned a subject area. Survey the existing tools in this area, and choose three to evaluate. For each of these three tools, write up a one-paragraph critique of the tool, gauging its intent, its intended audience, and its value to that audience.

Decide what your tool should do, and for whom. Come up with three ideas for how you can achieve that end, and explain those ideas on paper.

Part 2: Design development

Design the physical form that your tool will take, and the interface that users will interact with. If your project is screen-based, provide screens; if it is an object, make a 3d mockup or good sketches. In any case, create a flowchart that explains how people will use the tool.

Part 3: Prototypes and usability testing

Make paper prototypes for the tool, and perform usability tests with your classmates and people from outside the class as subjects. Refine the design, using what you have learned from the testing.

Part 4: Documentation

Prepare the final deliverables for the project: produce a poster and a PDF booklet, both written for people who have a familiarity with design and technology. The poster should explain your idea, in brief, and convince the reader of the idea’s value. The booklet should explain the workings of your design in more detail. It should summarize your design process, and should include information about how usability testing informed your decisions.


Published 2012-09-16.