WINTER 2004 -- Information and Computer Science -- UC Irvine -- David G. Kay -- ICS 104


This assignment is due by noon on Wednesday, March 17. It's a long one with many parts, some involving third parties and others involving unfamiliar software, so you'll need to start early and allow for the inevitable stumbling blocks.

Summary: Evaluate the usability of a retail website chosen from the two alternatives below and propose a validated redesign of the site. The alternatives are

This assignment has three phases: Evaluate the existing site, redesign the site to improve the shortcomings you identified (including user tests of the new design), and propose the new design to the site management. Be sure to read the entire assignment right away so you're aware of everything that's involved.

You will work on this assignment in groups of two or three. We estimate that the increase in coordination and communication necessary in a three-person group roughly equals the 17% decrease in individual workload and we expect that the products of three-person groups will be at least as complete and thorough as the better results of two-person groups.

As in past assignments, when we give page counts here we're referring to single-spaced text in 10- or 12-point type with one-inch margins. We encourage helpful illustrations, but illustrations do not count towards the page limits.

Part I: Evaluate the existing site

Part II: Redesign the site

Part III: Propose your new design

If you would like to ask the site management what their goals and requirements are, you may do that through the NoteBoard set up for this class at Don't pester the actual management of the site; ask your questions through the NoteBoard and the instructor will respond as if he were the management. Everyone in the class may read the exchanges on the NoteBoard, since requirements clarifications apply equally to everyone. [Also, everyone should use the EEE NoteBoard system because we might ask an exam question about it and how it compares with newsgroups or other broadcast communications channels.] Questions on other aspects of the assignment may be asked in class, in section, or by Email to

In the interest of full disclosure, everyone should know that Levin's Shoes and Dry Goods is owned by the instructor's brother-in-law, Robert Levin We included it here as a fresh alternative to the UCI Bookstore site, which presumably is already familiar to everyone, and as a site where students' recommendations might be put into practice. If Mr. Levin chooses to redesign his site and incorporate your ideas, he may give you credit on the site (which you could refer to on your résumé) but he's under no obligation to compensate you in any other way. If you don't care for this arrangement, you have two alternatives: First, you may work on the UCI Bookstore site instead (which also has no obligation to use your ideas or compensate you). Second, you may evaluate and redesign but state clearly at the top of your proposal that you do not wish your proposal sent to the owner. In the latter case, your work will still be graded on the same basis (which means that you still have to write it in the same polite, professional tone).

Written by David G. Kay, Winter 2004.

David G. Kay, 406B Computer Science
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-3425 -- (949) 824-5072 -- Fax (949) 824-4056 -- Email

Monday, March 1, 2004 -- 6:14 PM