CS 4634 – Design of Information


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Homework assignments






carried out in teams



Class Project:

The Fall 2015 project will be to create an information system for communites on I-81. The phases of work will be:
  • A: Audience Research
    The first step is to understand the audience. We have divided into two research groups to identify the various components of the audience. The audience reports will be put on the course wiki so that we can all use them to develop the project. Grades and comments are here.
  • B: Content Research
    As we develop some understanding of the audience(s) for an information system, we need to document our sources and leave traces to share with the rest of the class so that we can return to it as we design and implement the prototype.

    The Audience (including persona) and Content will be reported jointly in a presentation. The reports are posted on the course wiki.

    Grades and comments are here.
  • C.1: Team Formation
    Everyone should talk amongst themsleves to form 7 groups. Groups of three must not consist of all graudating seniors. Each group may have only one person from any category: Earth, Air Fire, and Water. To help form groups, everyone should enter their idea for a semester project on the Individual Concepts page.

    When you have a group please edit the "concepts" wki page.

  • C.2: Conceptual Design
    The design is the hard part of step C – it is also the fun part. Plan on lots of intense team-time to get a concept that truly represents your creative abilities and the potential for you to carry out. Your concept should be an information system for the communities of I-81. This concept should be comprehensive and be accessible in many different venues such while driving and when shopping. That means being clever about interfaces and devices. It also means thinking about what is wanted when.There are two basic approaches: the most common is to brainstorm problems and then come up with solutions, the other way is to just brainstorm ideas. (Sometimes brainstorming problems mixes in brainstorming ideas.) Regardless of the approach your group takes, you must come up with at least 5 ideas (more are better) that you would be willing to develop into a project. You should pick ONE to move forward on. Moving forward means using Dan Roam’s “Back of the Napkin” heuristic to figure out “brand”, “content”, and “function”.

    At this stage, great ideas – even risky ones – are more important than a “perfect” design. You will revise
    the design based on feedback you get (from me and your classcritics in Phase D) as well as problems you encounter during implementation. There are four parts to the design: (A) the information system (b) the information architecture (c) the media, technology, genre of the implementation, and (d) some initial idea for layout, programming languages, information sources. Use the analytic and design methods we have discussed and practiced. Brainstorm ideas. Tell us how up with the conceptual design and what methods you are using. Reflections on how they have worked for your team are valuable.
  • D: Feedback
    First review the presentation of the team your group is assigned to review. Working as a team, you are to do an in- depth critique of the other team’s conceptual design. Besides the written description, use the team presentations to further under- stand the ideas. The review should evaluate: How well the design suits the intended audience. Is it sufficient to convey all the information? Is it clear to potential users? If the concept is engaging? Please explain what works best about the concept and what does not work. Give some direction, if you have any.
  • Project Planning / Project Management.
    Each week, each group will figure how many hours they have put in and how close they are to being done.
    Week 10 - 2015.10.29
    Week 11 - 2015.11.05
    Week 12 - 2015.11.12
    Week 13 - 2015.11.19
    Week 15 - 2015.12.01
    Week 16 - 2015.12.08 (Final presentation/demo)

  • E: Design Review
    The ultimate goal of the project is a complete fully realized design populated with real content. (Of course, if the design calls for user-supplied content, that may need to be simulated.) At this stage, you must present the design fleshed-out as it will be when the working project is presented. Therefore, while this presentation is about the design, progress should be made on other aspects of the implementation. The design should respond to the feedback that was provided to you in the previous phase of work. This is the specification for the project you are implementing.
  • F: Final Presentation, Report and Demo
    Grades and comments are here.


Copyright © 2015 Steve Harrison