& Class Notes
3724 - Human Computer Interaction - Summer 2005 -- Pardha S. Pyla
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Topic, Client, and Product Concept Statement
Due as per
In this project
assignment you get started by establishing a client, a target system that
you will work on for the client, and a product concept statement.
of the short duration of the summer semester, each project phase has been
scaled down and the deliverables are made considerably shorter. Also,
instead of the students finding a "real" project by themselves,
I have assigned a generic project for all teams for this semester.
As a semester
long project you will be building the user interface for a ticket despensing
kiosk that can be used at train stations, bus stations, entertainment
locations, etc. So, in the description below all references to a client
should be treated as a person who owns or manages a travel location or
an entertainment location based on your choice of the type of kiosk. For
certain phases in the projects, I will be pretending to be your client
and I will be imposing constraints that real projects have.
What To Do
- Establish a client for
- Establish a client application
system for which you will develop the user interaction design (read
- Write and refine (several
times) a product concept statement for your target system.
How To Do
- Pick an imaginary client
for a ticket despensing kiosk. Select a name for your client organization.
- Choose the type of kiosk
(travel ticket kiosk, entertainment ticket kiosk, etc.). Have reasonable
assumptions as to the complexity of the kiosk.
- Write a product concept
Your product concept statement is to be a short and
sweet (absolutely not more than 75 words) summary of your project,
to be used as a synopsis or "boilerplate" description of
your project in all of the deliverables. This is a high-level mission
statement of your project. Include the name of the system, name of
client organization, kinds of users, brief statement of what users
can do with it, and why it's useful (what problems it solves). Your
audience for the product concept statement is broader than that of
the rest of your project documentation. The audience here includes
your manager, your manager's manager, potential investors, and the
The product of this stage (product concept statement)
is a much broader description of the system than you will actually
develop in subsequent stages of the project for this course. To get
started, we want you to take a broad view of the system and in later
stages you will select a few key parts (subset) of the overall system.
The 75 words (or fewer) you write here will be the most important
words in the whole project; they should be highly polished. That means
you should spend a disproportionate amount of time and energy thinking
about, writing, reading, editing, discussing and rewriting it. If
you don't know how to do this, ask in class. Don't wait until you
get the graded deliverable back to find out.
In your product concept statement, be efficient with
words; chop out "empty" words that don't say anything new.
On the other hand, be as specific as possible within the word limit;
do not be vague and try to communicate by implication. I.e., don't
leave it to the reader to fill in the blanks. You should use positive
statements about what will be done. This point is best made by example.
EXAMPLE: "This information system allows user
to keep track of which products are currently products in stock at
the store." This (by implication) seems to be an inventory system
(more specific than "information system"). Plus, doesn't
it help keep track of the products that should be ordered, too? If
so, say so.
EXAMPLE: "The goal is for the XYZ System to
be easy to use." It's more specific to say how you expect it
to be easier to use, such as "Sales clerks on the floor will
be able to update inventory as a routine part of sales."
EXAMPLE: "The XYZ System handles accounting
information and allows the accounting people to post results."
What does "handles accounting information" mean? Those words
are to vague. What kind of accounting information? What operations
are implied by "handles"? Is it used by all accounting people?
There could be lots of different kinds of accounting people and only
some are users. What does "final results" mean? That is
the most vague term of all here. What does "posting" mean?
Are they posted in accounting statements, or on the Web? Are they
printed and put on a bulletin board?
Get a binder
to hold all deliverables for the semester. The best type of binder to
use is an Accopress or a Duo-Tang, both available at any office supply
place or the bookstore. The kind we want has two metal tangs each about
three inches long. You put these tangs through the top and bottom holes
of 3-hole punched paper. You then fold the metal tangs over and slide
a little metal collar over them to hold them in place. Do not use a regular
3-ring binder; they are too bulky for us to carry for the whole class.
Also please don't use one of those slippery plastic binders.
You will add
to this binder the deliverables for each stage of the project as it comes
due. Punch and bind your project deliverables in this binder. Put a label
on the outside of the binder with (in this order, please):
- Your team number
- Your overall project name
(e.g., Acme Pizza Inventory System)
- Name of client organization
- One-line overall project
description (e.g., New inventory system, including point-of-sale inventory
adjustment and wireless "terminals" for verifying inventory
- The names of all team
- "CS 3724– <current
binder, create a "tabbed" section labeled "Project 1",
containing its own separate cover page with (mostly the same as on the
front of the binder):
- "Project 1: Topic,
Client, and Product Concept Statement"
- Team number
- Project name
- Name of client organization
- One-line description of
- Team member names
- "CS3724 – <current
Project 1 section (please number and label your items per this list):
- Begin after the tab for
this section, with a blank printed grading
- Then include a Table of
Contents for this particular deliverable (not the whole folder).
- Then follow with these
items, numbered as they are here:
- Name of client organization
and name of client contact person (name, phone and/or e-mail). Write
a brief description of the group or subgroup who will serve specifically
as your client.
- Product concept statement,
high-level conceptual description of your system. The product concept
statement should not be more than 75 words. The audience for this
part is very broad, including vice presidents, high-level managers,
stockholders, investors, and the general public. Read carefully the
"Write a Product Concept Statement" section, under "How
to Do It" above.
- A more detailed (half
page, up to one page) technical summary of your target application
system. You can further motivate usefulness and capabilities in terms
of what users can do. Make it clear if the system exists or not. This
is a proposal, so use the future tense and state capabilities in terms
of what users can do. For example, say, "This system will allow
such-and-such a kind of user to do . . ." If the system itself
does exist, make it clear what you will do to improve it, distinguishing
what is new and what is not. This description should be more technical
and more complete than the product concept statement in part 2 above.
The audience for this part is me (your boss, the project manager).
Read what you
write, because someone else will! Work on writing as a team. This is the
time to really get the spirit of this project and nail this assignment!
Beyond trying to assess objectively whether all requirements are met,
we try to assess subjectively how well requirements are met.
This is based on our own knowledge and can sometimes be somewhat relative
among the projects of the class. Your grade is based on our perception
of how much you put into it and how well you understood, interpreted,
and applied the material covered in class to your project. You can be
sure this is done is the fairest way possible. Please don't expect us
to just skim each deliverable and hand out all high grades.
the importance of the product concept statement to each successive project
deliverable, it is essential that we work together, as needed, to get
it just right. This might require iteration between your team and me (outside
the calendar of deliverables). In such cases, I will ask you to rewrite
(one or more times) your product concept statement and hand it in, again.
for all your project reports (except the product concept statement above)
is your technical manager, who is not involved in the day-to-day development
activities and is not highly knowledgeable about the usability engineering
process, but wants to be kept up to date. Use clear, plain English. Don't
use esoteric, domain-dependent terminology, jargon, or acronyms.