ICS 4 • David G. Kay • UC Irvine

Fourth Homework (Mini-Project Part I)

This assignment is due by 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 20.

The first part involves a little reading and some software experimentation, which you'll do individually, but the main part involves work in a group of three to five students; these groups will probably stay the same for subsequent assignments. Everyone is fundamentally responsible for arranging to be in a group; do this sooner rather than later so you can find a compatible group. It's best to try to identify your partners in person, right before or right after class, but you can also use Piazza as a kind of Facebook to arrange partnerships.

The amount of work in this assignment isn't much different from the last one, but it requires more coordination (within your group and with others), so it would be wise to start right away.

Part (a)

Do this part individually.


Read each of the following brief items. They'll show up in future lectures, later assignments, and/or the final exam:


If you haven't already, visit Mockingbird (gomockingbird.com) and/or Moqups (moqups.com). These are "wireframe mockup" programs for building low-fidelity prototypes of web sites. They let you place user interface items on a screen to create a page, they letyou create multiple pages, and they let you establish hyperlinks between pages. Then you (or a user) can run the prototype, following the links to test out the behavior you want to examine. Read about Mockingbird or Moqups on its web site; then click "Try it now" and spend 15 or 20 minutes experimenting with the software. (For a concrete task, try to reproduce (part of) a simple web page, like google.com. Try to get the elements in about the right place and create a couple of sub-pages that some of the main page links can link to. Don't go for high fidelity.)

There's nothing to turn in for this part; just develop a little familiarity with wireframe mockup tools, since you'll be using one later. (To save your work, these sites ask you to sign up. On Mockingbird you can sign up for a free account that has a few limitations that won't affect our work, or for an inexpensive paid account that's less limited; on Moqups it's just free.)


As you're using the Web, look out for sites that use typography or color particularly well (or poorly). Write them down in your HCI notebook. There's nothing explicit to turn in for this part, but we may ask you to share some of your examples in class and the good examples may give you ideas as you start the next part of this assignment.

Part (b)

The main part of this assignment and most of the remaining assignments this quarter will be to design, or redesign, part of a web site. You may pick an existing site or you may come up with a new site, either based on existing sites or entirely new.

We'll be referring to this as "your web site," but of course it does not have to be your personal site or a site that you will eventually own or control. It may be any web site, currently existing or not; by "your site" we just mean the site your group will be working on.

As usual, you will combine all the written parts of this assignment into one document, which one member of your group will submit via Checkmate (making sure that all the group members' names appear at the top of the document).


Form a group of at least three and at most five students. You'll need at least three to do a user walkthrough (part of a subsequent assignment, not this one); more than five leaves too many people idle unless your site is very ambitious (in which case you should check with us, because six people should normally split into two groups).


Choose the site you will work on, either existing or new.

As you decide, think about the functional requirements of the site (what you want it to do) and the characteristics of your users. You'll be more formal about the requirements process later on, but thinking concretely about these issues now will help you reach an informed agreement on what you're going to work on.

It doesn't matter whether you pick a "big" or "small" site; if you pick something big, you won't have to (re)design all of it.

In at most half a page, describe your site and summarize its broad functional requirements and the characteristics of the users you expect. You'll be doing this more thoroughly in the next part; you might think of this as an abstract or executive summary.


Determine and describe the requirements of your web site.

Consider the issues we've covered: Who are the users? What is their age, experience, familiarity with the site or the tasks or the subject matter? Are there other stakeholders to consider as you design the site? What are the functional requirements, the data requirements, the usability requirements?

You can probably answer many of these questions just in discussion with your group. But you should at least talk with some potential users (e.g., in informal conversations, with a questionnaire, with a focus group).

For this part, turn in:

Combine all your answers into one electronic document and submit it via Checkmate. Make sure the document includes the names of all your group members.