Project Groups

Due Jan 24th IN CLASS and IN CANVAS


If you haven't read it already, you may want to read the course project overview.

Over the course of the term, you will work with a set of users as they conduct specific tasks. You will need to be able to:

  • Interview these users.
  • Observe them as they work.
  • Get their opinions on designs that you create.

This assignment is intended to help you form and find project groups with shared interests.


For this assignment:

  1. Bring a hardcopy of the information submitted to Canvas to class and turn it in.
  2. Submit to Canvas:
    • A PDF of the group name and group members, along with a description of the users whom you wish to study. You can list more than one user group (i.e., list all possibilities you have in mind).

The goal of this assignment is to ensure everyone has a project group by the second week of class and to give us a chance to comment on your proposed user group.

Project groups should be 4-5 people in size.

Keep in mind that you will need to be able to interact with your users throughout the term. Thus, while it might be interesting to study astronauts, the chance of you being able to interact with them throughout the term is slim. FOR EACH PERSON IN YOUR GROUP YOU MUST INTERVIEW ONE PERSON. For example, if you are a group of 4 you need to interview 4 people with the same role.

Remember, you will be studying people and their tasks. To make your job easier, your proposed user group should be experts with a specialty. For example, the following would make ideal users to study:

  • Wet lab scientists
  • Accountants
  • Architects

Each of these users have very specific tasks that an average lay person could not do without training. Stay away from tasks that anyone could perform without training. To the extent possible, seek out friends/relatives who are professionals working close by. As a last resort, if you have no contacts close by, you can study other students, preferrably those in a completely different major (e.g., chemistry, physics, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, etc.). As a rule of thumb, the less you know about your users' work, the better.

Note that you cannot study people in "special populations." These include the following:

  • Minors
  • Medical patients
  • Prisoners
  • Those with mental disabilities or who otherwise cannot provide informed consent

If in doubt, contact the instructor.