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Introduction to Design Assignments

Introduction to Design Assignments

A considerable number of points (35%) for the course comes from assignments 4 to 6 that are based on a design project that you will develop as you progress through the course. One reason for this is that UX design is first and foremost a skill. You get better at design by designing. As such, assignments in these weeks are intended to help you begin to do UX design—by guiding you through the steps of conceptualizing user interactions, sketching them out in the form of wireframes, and testing them through a low-fidelity prototype. Another reason for this assignment structure is that the assignments are intended to help you develop your design portfolio by focusing on the creation of artifacts—wireframes and prototypes—that you can include in your portfolio.

To complete the assignments, you will need a design problem that you will address through the system you design in this course. We offer two options for defining your design problem:

As these assignments build on the material from weeks 1 to 3, we expect that a significant number of learners will be continuing weeks 4 to 6 as a follow-on to weeks 1 to 3. If you are one of those learners, we suggest that you continue to develop the collaborative system you began to design in the previous weeks. For learners who did not complete weeks 1 to 3, or who are not happy with the design project they selected in those modules, you can select a new design problem to work on in these assignments. Whether you decide to develop the project you started in the previous modules or work on something new, your design project should have the following characteristics:

It should focus on developing a screen-based application, such as a smartphone app, a watch app, a website, or a desktop application. The reason for this is that wireframes and the type of low-fidelity prototyping that the assignments require are less applicable to interactive technologies that are primarily based on other modalities of user interaction, such as voice-based personal assistants. Your system should be complex enough to support at least 10 to 15 user interactions, including entering of data and presenting the user with different types of output. To get a sense of what we mean, think about a to-do list application. A to-do app needs to allow users to create a task, add different types of metadata (due date, project, priority, etc.), sort to-dos in different ways, check them off and so on. Each of these operations is a user interaction. Aim to design a system that would support at least a dozen such interactions. Most of the collaborative technologies learners worked on in week 1 to week 3 would fit this requirement well. You should be able to explain what the system does to an intelligent lay person. Stay away from highly specialized professional applications which would be hard to explain to someone who is not in that specific industry. Imagine that someone asked you what you were working on when you both got into an elevator. You should be able to briefly explain what your system is about before one of you exits the elevator when you reach your floor. This is important both because you will need to find other people who can test your system when you create a prototype—and, therefore, that person will need to understand what he/she is testing—and because your peers in the course will need to understand your assignments. Finally, pick something you find interesting. You will spend a fair bit of time thinking through how this system should work, so it would be good to work on something you actually care about. This will make the work on the assignments more enjoyable, as well as improve the quality of your design. Enjoy your design work in the upcoming weeks! We look forward to seeing what you come up with.

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UX Design: From Concept to Prototype

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