SWE 432, Fall 2018, Homework 5, Due in 2 parts: Nov 30, 11pm and Dec 5, 10 am

Note: There is no grace period for late submission of team formation or of parts 1-4 (the Nov 19 and Nov 30 deadlines are hard deadlines)!

Please post questions on Piazza


For your final project, you will be practicing what you have learned about sketching, lo-fi prototyping, and visual design, working in groups of size 3 or 4. Rather than continue with the MemeBase, we will change things up for this last assignment and focus instead on building a site that will include more complicated interactions (which you will design).

For the final project, you will design a system for collaboratively managing music playlists. There are many situations where you would like to be listening to music, but there are multiple people who will have to coordinate about what kind of music they want to listen to, or if there are specific songs that they want to hear. There might be multiple applications for this scenario, for instance: in a shared office space, at a party, or in a car on a road trip. In each of these scenarios, different people might have different tastes in music, and some people might want to hear specific songs. Rather than have a single person serve as the DJ (managing requests for certain songs and adding them to a queue), you will design a site that will allow for the following actions:

  • Users can view the song currently playing, as well as a history of the 10 songs most recently played, and the entire upcoming queue of songs to be played
  • Users can upvote and downvote songs in the queue based on how much they want to hear that song
  • Users can browse and search through a music library to add songs to the queue

Note that much of the assignment will be done by hand (on pen/pencil/marker/etc and paper), but you will take photos of these hard-copy materials, and submit a single PDF that contains photos of your sketches/prototypes and textual descriptions. Your submitted document should have 4 section headings as described below.

Parts 1-3 are due by 11/30 at 11pm, the remainder is due by 12/5 at 10am. Note the scope of this project: it requires you to do several things that simply require time, and hence, is not feasible to wait until the last minute. We would very strongly suggest completing parts 1-3 before 11/30, and would stress that you should leave yourself enough time to complete parts 4-5.

Part 0: Team formation (by Nov 19, 10am)

Find 2-3 other students who you would like to work with and form a team (e.g. total team size is 3 or 4). Make a private note on Piazza to the instructors with your team list, and also with a team name.

Part 1: Develop user scenarios (5 points; due 11/30, 11pm)

To guide your designs, you will want to envision some high-level user scenarios. Imagine that you are a user of this system, and that you have a specific goal: (e.g. to add a specific song to the playlist). Create a user scenario for each of the bullets describing the high level objectives of the system. You might consider not only the user’s goal, but also their personal background and motivation for interacting with your system. Each scenario should be 2-3 sentences long.

Part 2: Sketch high level designs (15 points; due 11/30, 11pm)

Construct at least three high level (sketchy, single-color, rough details) designs that show how users would view the current playlist and add songs to that playlist. Annotate each sketch as necessary to get your point across. Take photos of each design, and embed them in your submission document. Give each design a descriptive name, and for each design, in 1-2 paragraphs discuss the thought process that went into that design, and what seems to be good or bad about that design.

Part 3: Develop a lo-fi prototype (40 points; due 11/30, 11pm)

Select one of the three sketches from Part 1, and develop a lo-fi prototype, using any (non-digital) materials that you wish/find appropriate. Suggestions include: multiple colors of pens, pencils, markers, scotch tape, construction paper, and transparencies.  Your prototype should cover each of the scenarios that you developed in part 1. You should consider the various visual design guidelines that we discussed in class, and make your prototype sufficiently detailed that important visual cues are noticeable (e.g. show what should or should not be highlighted, called out to, etc).

Use your lo-fi prototype to construct a storyboard for each scenario, showing each step that the user would take to accomplish the stated goal. In your writeup, caption each frame in the storyboard with a succinct description of the operation. For each intentional design element that you have added (e.g. coloring, shading, organization) that you made and discussed as a team, include 1-2 sentences describing it.

Part 4: Test and evaluate your prototype (20 points; due 12/5, 10am)

Ask a friend, family member, or classmate (one from this class is OK too) to try out your design. Explain how the prototyping session is intended to go (e.g. that you will manually manipulate the papers in front of them to simulate actions), and ask the participant to step through at least two of your scenarios. Have one team member take notes of how the participant interacts with the system, and any stumbling points.

In your writeup, include the notes taken during the testing process, and also any additional comments from the participant. Analyze these results, and determine any changes that should be made in your design. For each issue that you identify, add an annotation on top of it on your design (e.g. write on a piece of paper and lay it in that part of the prototype) describing the issue, and include images of the annotated prototype in your writeup, showing each issue that was identified.

Part 5: Revise your prototype (20 points; due 12/5, 10am)

Finally, revise your prototype based on the identified issues. Document each revision in your writeup by taking a photo of each portion of the storyboard/prototype that was modified, and include a description of how your modification addresses the issue.


Submit a single PDF file for Parts 1-3 on Blackboard (one submission per group). Note that you must submit parts 1-3 by Nov 30 at 11pm – this is a hard deadline. Submit a single PDF file for Parts 4-5 on Blackboard (one submission per group). You have until Dec 5 at 10am for this submission (but the usual 24 hours for 10% deduction applies; the 10% will be deducted only from parts 4-5).