Homework 2: Paper Prototype of an Interface

For 17-770/46-863: Introduction to Human Computer Interaction for Technology Executives

Homework 2: Assigned: Sep 7, Due: Sep 12

Using the information that you collected in Homework 1 for what is good and bad about the real appliance's user interface for the tasks you designed, now you are going to make a Paper Prototype of a (hopefully) better design in homework 2, and then run a user test of the prototype and revise your design based on the feedback you get in homework 3.

PART A: You should decide first what are the assumptions for the hardware on which your new design will be implemented. You can either assume:

  1. The interface will be on a handheld device with a touch screen (so you will need big, finger-sized buttons), or
  2. The interface will be on a computer with a mouse.

Note that even if you pick #1, you will still be programming and user testing your interface (in Homework 4) using a mouse on a regular computer. Conversely, if you pick #2, when you user test your paper prototype (in Homework 3), you will tell the users to pretend their finger is a mouse. You should also write down any other assumptions about your hardware, like what size screen will be used, whether it is color or black and white, whether there are any additional hardware buttons, etc. Next, you should write down the assumptions about your users. What level of experience do you expect? How familiar with computers will they be? What ages? Are there any other factors about the users that will influence your design or testing?

PART B: Create a paper prototype of your device. Your prototype should have at least a place-holder for every part of the entire user interface of the appliance. For example, if you were doing a microwave oven, there should be a square on the front panel for every function that would be on the front panel of the final implementation. For all the tasks you will ask the user to do (which should include at least those you did in Homework 1), you should have paper prototypes for all the screens, menus, etc. that the user would see. For parts of the interface that you do not intend to test, you can just make place holders (for example, screens with just titles), or buttons without labels.