Individual Design Project

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Students will complete one, in-depth design project on their own, where they will explore one of the design challenges from the weekly exercises more deeply and from different perspectives. The outcome from this project will be a more thoughtfully developed ubicomp product or system design, comprising at least 20 sketches or prototypes (or facets of a single, more complex sketch, e.g., stills from a video or multiple points in time along a Balsamiq interaction sequence) using at least three of the techniques introduced in the course (e.g., a suite of artifact design sketches, a foamcore model of the artifact, and a video sketch of how the artifact might be used in a real-world scenario).

Your individual design project may build on (and, in fact, may re-use content presented as part of) your original individual sketching exercises, but you should be aware that they will be evaluated against a much higher standard than the weekly exercises. It may be to your advantage for your to iterate on the original work and re-create the sketches with a higher degree of polish and fidelity. If you choose to expand on one of the two small-group exercises (i.e., the video sketch or the interactive sketch), all three of your prototypes must clearly reflect your own individual work and thinking.

You may also consider the design constraints for the individual projects to be somewhat relaxed. That is, if you choose to expand on the "Ubicomp in the Home" exercise, you might look at ways that your proposed technology would integrate into other areas of the home beyond the entryway. Or if you choose to expand on the location-aware computing exercise, you might explore other scenarios in which a location-aware family coordination technology might be useful in the context of a visit to a theme park. If you have questions or ideas that you would like to vet, please check with me via email.

Deliverable: One design portfolio, including at least 20 representations of your final, high-quality sketches and reflecting at least three different sketching techniques from the class, along with one, 2-3 page (single-spaced) narrative explaining your design process and why you chose to utilize the sketching techniques that you did.

Your portfolio should be a cohesive and professionally assembled collection of your sketches, and it should clearly communicate the relevant facets of your design in a thoughtfully organized manner. Overall, your submission for the individual design project should demonstrate a much greater degree of polish than the weekly exercises, and they will be evaluated more rigorously, as a result.

If your sketches include electronic, video, or interactive prototypes, you should capture representative imagery to include in your portfolio and then provide a link where I can retrieve the associated electronic artifacts. You may also include optical media (e.g., a CD or DVD) as part of your portfolio with this material included, if you prefer.

Some guidance for assembling your portfolios -- both for the individual and group projects -- can be found here; note that this overview is for a more implementation-heavy version of this course.

Deadlines: Please bring any initial artifacts to class to solicit feedback about your design and/or its presentation from your peers during the design crit on Monday, June 4. This will be like the other design crits -- an informal chance to show off your work for 3-4 minutes and receive 3-4 minutes of critical feedback from other students at the beginning of class. You do not need to turn anything in related to the individual design project on June 4.

Your final portfolio submission is due at the beginning of the final examination period, Monday June 11.

Evaluation criteria: Your submission will be evaluated out of a possible 480 points.

  • 15 points for each of the 20 required prototype/sketch representations (300 points, total):
    • 10 points for the quality of each sketch (its completeness, communicative clarity, and aesthetic value)
    • 5 points for the originality and thoughtfulness of each sketch
  • 60 points for your written overview of the project. You will be assessed on how well you defend your choice of sketching techniques and how effectively you narrate your design process, from the initial idea through the final sketch development. Points will be deducted for poor communication skills (e.g., bad grammar and spelling, shallow and unconvincing argumentation).
  • 60 points for your overall ubiquitous computing technology design. Your submission should represent a plausible ubicomp technology, and it should take into account technical and social constraints appropriately. I will evaluate your design project as if it were a proposal for a real-world research or development project to take place over the course of the next 3-5 years. Unrealistic, uninformed, unoriginal, or socially inappropriate designs will be penalized. (Your written overview can go a long way toward convincing me that you have created a thoughtful and plausible design, and that your work reflects the definition of ubiquitous computing technologies that we have covered during lecture.)
  • 60 points for the overall organization and presentation of your portfolio. Your submission should be clearly organized and should make sense to a viewer without any accompanying verbal explanation. It should be professional and appear neat and polished.