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Final Project

Teams will decide on a specific technology that will impact people in some way. You should start by brainstorming and deciding on a really important and interesting social problem or issue. Then think about how you can design something that will raise awareness or provoke thought about the social issue. You will then create a low-fidelity prototype of the design, reflect on the idea, and then iterate the design to create a medium-fidelity prototype. Next you will deploy this prototype to people for a period of a week where they can use it, for real.

You must work in a team of three people.

Medium-Fidelity Prototype

The goal: The objective of this project is to provide students with an opportunity to design in a futuristic setting where they can be creative and explore design from a variety of perspectives (art, design, and HCI). As equally important as this, however, is actually testing out a design in a real world setting and getting critical and reflective feedback on it.

Design Focus: Your project must be design noir as opposed to the other design perspectives we have talked about in class. That said, some of the perspectives overlap so they may end up being included implicitly. Your object should be something highly provocative (creepy, dark, disturbing, etc) as you have seen in the design noir component of the course. It should also be able to create interesting and compelling narrative with a user.

Scope of the design: Designs should be simple yet sophisticated enough that they will solicit a reaction from people; thus, it needs to actually work in some form so that it can be tried by people. Designs can be computer software or physical objects; however, they must be reasonably accessible so that people will actually engage with the design.

When does the prototype need to be done? The medium-fidelity prototype needs to be complete in time to deploy it with people, see the course calendar. I highly recommend that you start your deployment as early as you can in the deployment week. Once the deployment is finished, you still need to analyze and write up your findings.

Solid space If you want to use solid space for building your design, please contact Maja Jensen. Email me for her contact info if you don't have it. You should have taken IAT 336 or 337 to use the space and went through the training procedure. Once you contact Maja, you will need to go the administrative office and pay a fee to use solid space. Please contact her well in advance of needing to use the space.


Deployments should reflect good practices of field deployments as outlined in class. I am not looking for a usability study where participants look at the design and perform some tasks with it in a session less than an hour in length. The design must actually stay with one or more people and be used over a period of time. I want you to see the reactions from "real people" and get a larger sense of how people accept, or not, technology designed from the various perspectives we have been discussing in class. Think of it as a very interesting reality check. I also want to see a story or narrative develop between your participants and the design throughout the deployment. The design should be a catalyst for this story, like we discussed for design noir.

You should use data collection methods such as interviews, diaries, observations, etc, and think about which would work best in your particular situation. My suggestion is to include the following stages in your deployment:

  1. Initial visit: establish rapport with your participants (make them feel comfortable with you, interview them to understand their existing practices (focused on the part of their lives your design is likely to affect), introduce them to your design (but don't give away all the details; let them learn through usage), give them the design, and tell them how you will be collecting data.
  2. Data collection: collect data throughout the week by having them complete some form of diary (e.g., paper, email, blog) and also visit them to see how they interact with the design.
  3. Final visit: remove the design and interview them again to see how they used the design. Ask specific questions like we talked about in lecture.
  4. Analysis: identify the key themes that emerged from the deployment. You can use the simple method of affinity diagramming to do this with your observations and notes from interviews.

You will produce a one page deployment document as part of one of your studio labs. You will also need to use this consent form and initial study description as part of your study plan.

What to Submit

You will create a final video and report that describe your final design, deployment, and deployment results:

Final documentary video: The entire group must submit a video of 5 minutes or less in length. Include visuals to illustrate how the design is used, how it was deployed, and what the reactions were from the household members. Your design is not likely to survive past the end of the course. This should be a very important record of the design and how it can be used.

Documentation: You will submit paper copies documenting your project plans and deployment. Include:

  • a description of the design (max one page not including images):
    • pictures
    • how it works and how people use it
    • the rationale for why you designed it this way
  • description of what you did for the deployment max one page not including images, excluding interview questions list):
    • where/how did you deploy the design
    • what data collection methods you used
    • what were the interview questions you asked and when did you ask them (include the questions verbatim from your interview script)
  • evidence of data collection and analysis (no page limit):
    • all of your observational notes
    • responses to interview questions
    • pictures of your data analysis (e.g., affinity diagramming)

Email a URL to your video to your instructor and TA. Email all deliverables including the written report and data collection (e.g., scan any paper sources).

You must also complete the team member evaluation by the assignment deadline. If you do not do this, you will get an F on the project. Team member evaluation is mandatory.

You will be evaluated on the completeness of your submissions, the quality of your ideas and design process, and the quality of your writing and video presentation.

The assignment is worth a maximum of 3000 XP. A grading sheet is here. Your prototype and deployment are equally weighted in terms of their importance. So make sure you do a good job of both.