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Persona Lab Assignment Grades

11 Feb

The grades for your Persona Lab Assignments have been posted on The CN. Please take a look at them and let me know if you have any questions.

Overall, as a class I was impressed with your creativity and ability to bring these personas to life (and some of the names were quite comical). As empathy devices for design, it is important to give your personas a convincing story. Most of you did this with your extremely precise and rich descriptions. Purposeful descriptions and detailed narratives can reveal more about who you’re designing for – beyond the standard “22, Male, Student” information.

If you lost points, it was most likely because you were missing either the scenario or design requirements list that were outlined in the assignment description. The best way to avoid this in the future is to carefully read the assignment descriptions and pay close attention to what the actual deliverables are for each lab assignment (and any assignment, for that matter.) A few of you might have lost a small amount of points for missing the individual elements of the persona itself.

Also, if you want to ensure that I understand the content of your assignment and the requirement that you were trying to fulfill, be sure to make your headings and descriptions explicitly clear and obvious. Be user-centered, or audience-centered, in your assignments (Dr. V. and I are your audience). “Speak the user’s language.” If an assignment description asks for a list of design requirements, it never hurts to label one of your sections “Design Requirements.”

I also noticed that many of you were unclear on the purpose of a scenario. Many, if not most of you described a typical day in the life of your persona with lovely and thorough descriptions of their struggles to prepare for class. However, you were meant to create a scenario similar to what Dr. V. did in class with “Tinkerbell.” Your scenario should have included your proposed solution for your persona’s problems and needs. You can pretend the technology or interface is magical at this point, and worry about what is actually feasible or possible later. The process of writing a scenario like this helps you get a feel for the problems that your persona might run into and what your design requirements are. Because of the prevalence of confusion, I did not take points of for those individuals that did not do this. We’ll cover scenarios more in upcoming classes.

As always, please let me know if you have any concerns.


“IxD Exercise: Apply Affordances” Grades

26 Jan

The grades for last week’s assignment “IxD Exercise: Apply Affordances” have been posted on You can also find a Dropbox link to the graded version of your assignment with my feedback in the instructor comments.

Overall, I was impressed with the assignments and how thorough many of you were. The uses of constraints in this assignment were particularly thoughtful, as many people recognized how vital it is to prevent user error when they are about to spend real money. Also, many of you went above and beyond in order to make the gift card buying process enjoyable to users. Things like playful (but purposeful) animations and uses of affordances when entering gift card information and messages were great. Also, something as simple as saying “Thank you!” at the end of the transaction show me that you really took the time to think through the assignment and the interaction.

If you lost points, it was most like because you didn’t clearly explain how the concepts of affordance, constraints, and mental models were applied to your design. I’m looking for clear, concise explanations of design choices.

Again, I’ve left feedback for your assignments in the instructor comments. Please feel free to send me any questions you might have, and great job everyone!

LA1: Affordance – Grades

22 Jan

The grades have been posted for the first lab assignment over the concept of affordance.

Overall, I was impressed with how many of you grasped the concept so quickly. Affordance can be difficult to understand and distinguish from symbols and other visual cues. As a class, you really seemed to nail affordance examples in the physical space. Things like door handles are shaped to the human hand – small enough for wrapping the fingers, grasping, and turning. Things like bars on doors beckon an individual to push. Handles on the “smart boards” in the classroom indicate that they might be moved (though I’m terrified to try).

Some things that people struggled with – the signs outside of rooms that indicate room number, name, etc., are not examples of affordance. Also, many of the digital examples of affordance could have used more explaining. You may have lost points if your explanation said something like “It looks like _________. Humans know it looks like _______. Therefore, it can _________.” It’s good to be concise, but please make sure that it is explicitly clear what you’re trying to explain to me. If you lost points, it was likely due to lack of clarity in your explanation, or that 1 or 2 of your examples did not properly display affordance.

If further clarification is needed on the concept of affordance, please check this article from the Nielsen/Norman Group and be sure to watch the video below. Also, please refer to this blog post from a previous year of this class for more examples of affordance (with cats!).