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Final Refinement

Due During finals period


  • Learn how to incorporate feedback from an evaluation of a user interface into the next iteration of a prototype.
  • Plan and pilot a formal usability study.
  • Produce a final iteration including a project summary and a design recommendation.


  1. Revise your design and prototype.  Post a writeup of your design changes by Friday December 2nd.
  2. Plan a formal usability study.  Post the protocol for your study by Thursday December 1st.
  3. Conduct a pilot of your usability study and conduct informal usability testing of your prototype.  You may use class time on December 6th for this testing.
  4. Address any residual issues in implementation and design.
  5. Present your project in the finals period on December 13th. This should be a significant report to your client. These presentations will also include your classmates and will be open to the Olin community. They will go from 12:30 - 1:30 with teams getting 8 minutes to present and 4 minutes for Q & A.
  6. Post a final project writeup on your site by the final session on December 13th.
  7. Turn in your self-assessment reflection, clear your studio space, and complete the course evaluation by 3PM on December 13th. Email the teaching team to say that you have done so.

Prototype Revision

Based on the feedback that you received during the Design Refinement phase, including the Heuristic Evaluation review, modify your design and plan the modification of your prototype.  
  1. In particular, make sure that you address all heuristic violations of level 3 in your design.  You do not need to fix any violations you cannot reasonably fix in this short period, nor any violations whose severity rankings your group disagrees with the evaluators on.  In either of these cases, you must provide a written justification for your decision.  [If you included this in your Design Refinement, you may just point to it here.]
  2. In addition, you should fix any other violations that are easily addressed.
  3. Finally, you should make sure your prototype will work for another round of usability feedback from real users. You will need a stable version of your interface for these tests, since participants (who are not in your group) should be able to use your interface to perform your task scenarios.
  4. By December 9th, post on your project page a description of the changes that you made to your prototype in responding to heuristic evaluation. This should be brief -- no more than 2 pages plus any images/screencasts -- except that you may include additional information on the heuristic evaluation response if it is extensive.
  5. For this portion of the assignment we are interested in your responsiveness to HE feedback and overall improvement of the prototype. (Did you understand the issues raised? Did you respond appropriately to them? If you didn't, did you have good reasons for not doing so? Did you carry this out in a professionally appropriate manner?)

Presentation and Open House Demos

On Tuesday December 13th, your team will give a final presentation about your project as though to your client.  The presentation should make a significant point; it should not merely be a report of all of the things you have done this semester.  Your team will have a slot between 12:30PM and 1:30PM. You will have 8 minutes in front of the class and guests. You will have 4 minutes of Q & A.

The presentation order will be:

 12:30 Gates of the Arctic
 12:42 Death Valley
 12:54 Zion
 1:06 Rainier
 1:18 Badlands

By December 9th, you will have a 4 or 5 one-page (can be double-sided) PDF print outs of final presentation / demo aids that justify key design decisions for the project. Each team member produces their own. At least one interface image should be included, along with the team member's consideration. These can be drawn from the phase write up.

Your presentation will show transitions from user exploration to professional (designer) assessment and from paper prototyping to building an online interface. You will share what you learned about implementing your interface and evaluating it through one or more of the techniques that you have tried.

You should take this opportunity to reflect on where you have been and what you have learned about design. Your team should make the time to have a conversation about this -- perhaps as a part of a design critique a la Scott Berkun's How to Run a Design Critique -- and these thoughts should find their way into your presentation.

From 1:30PM to 2:00PM
Your team will then take your handouts to one of the tables in the room where a laptop has your interactive prototype running. You will engage visitors and classmates as they ask you about your final design and your HFID / CUED experience.


Your writeup for this phase should be a single final report explaining to your client what you have designed and why this design is justified (in terms of your research as well as in contrast to alternatives that you considered).  You may incorporate any of your prior materials by pointing to them rather than copying them.  However, you may wish to include a brief summary so that your final writeup is readable as a single synthesis document, with prior documents serving as elaboration.

  1. Your writeup for this phase should hang from a single page on your project site.  You may include as many subsidiary pages as you need.  
  2. Please inline images where they are illustrating accompanying text, i.e., make it possible to view both  words and images simultaneously.  
  3. Include only enough to make a compelling case for your final design, to explain how you arrived at it and why it is justified in terms of user needs and other usability criteria, and to demonstrate that your approach is grounded in research.  Curation is a key metric here.  
  4. If your web site were a printed report, it would probably be between 3 and 5 pages (not counting any comprehensive documentary appendices, such as comprehensive prototype documentation).
  5. Please also update your effort chart with rows that account for your work in this phase.


This assignment will be judged on the clarity, coherence, and compelling nature of your report: the design solution you have chosen, the alternatives you considered, the justification of your choices through research and evidence.
  • Do you communicate your final design clearly?
  • Do you provide a strong rationale for this design in terms of user needs?
  • Do you demonstrate that you have made appropriate, justified choices, grounded in evidence and observations, and improved your design over the course of the semester?  Alternatively, do you provide alternatives, either in the form of distinct designs or variants that you considered along the way, and make it clear why and how you made decisions?
  • Have you identified shortcomings (or deliberate simplifications/omissions) in your design, where appropriate?
  • Do you tell a compelling, goal-directed, appropriately supported and curated story?  Have you excised unnecessary and irrelevant distractions?  Have you presented the package in a suitably professional way?
Note that comprehensive coverage is not one of the criteria against which your work will be measured.  This is a class project, and in any case time management always requires tradeoffs. However, you should document concerns, shortcomings, or areas not adequately investigated, as well as indicating why these tradeoffs were made.