Final Refinement

Due: During finals period

see the Final Refinement Checklist


  • 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.


See Final Refinement Checklist for due dates

  1. Revise your design and prototype.
  2. Plan a formal usability study.
  3. Conduct a pilot of your usability study and conduct informal usability testing of your prototype.
  4. Address any residual issues in implementation and design.
  5. Present your project in the finals period. This should be an overview you'd give about your work to a client (who hired you). These lightning presentations will also include your classmates and will be open to the Olin community. Teams will get ~4 minutes to present their overviews. Q & A will happen at team tables during the open house portion.
  6. Post a final project writeup on your site by the final session.
  7. Turn in your self-assessment reflection, clear your studio space, and complete the course evaluation. 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, because participants (who are not in your group) should be able to use your interface to perform your task scenarios.
  4. 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?)

Final Class Event

Lightning Presentation:

During the final demo session, your team will give a lightning presentation with a brief overview of your project, as though you were updating a client who hired you as a designer. The presentation should discuss an insight or two that your team discovered through your semester-long process. (it cannot be a report of all of the things you have done this semester.) The order tat the teams present will be on the final demo class session page. Your team will have ~4 minutes in front of the class to give the lightning overview. Q & A will be done immediately after the lightning talk round concludes, at each team's respective tables.

Your lightning presentation can draw from any part of the class, potentially showing a transition you made from user exploration to initial sketches of multiple ideas or from developing clickable prototype to crafting an evaluation experience.

Design Handouts:

During the last class before the final demo, each team member draft an idea for what they will offer to final demo guests via a one-page (can be double-sided) PDF print. This page will be an aid that will give visitors an idea of what went into key design decisions that your team made. You can convert material from your phase write ups for this assignment. Each team member produces their own. At least one interface image should be included, along with commentary about why the team member considers the interface change to be meaningful.

You should take this opportunity to reflect on where you have been and what you have learned about design - communicating that with your PDFs and presentations. Your team should make the time to have a conversation about what each team member will cover, perhaps as a part of a design critique (see Scott Berkun's How to Run a Design Critique).

Open House Demos:

During the demo, your team will set up your team board near one of the tables. You will put a stack of 5 of each handout on the table, along with a laptop or tablet. The team website and lightning slides should be accessible from the device. A second laptop or tablet should be available running your project's clickable prototype. You will engage visitors and classmates as they ask you about your final design and your UXD 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.

We will be using the form below to evaluate each team.

Final Refinement Phase Feedback (for display on website).pdf