Third project milestone: Ideate


The goal of this milestone is to identify tasks and do a task analysis, refine your design direction as needed, generate a prioritized list of requirements, and then explore conceptual design alternatives through storyboarding.

Reality check: At this point you would normally iterate on the problem description based on the feedback you received from your Define milestone. A clearly articulated problem statement usually takes a number of iterations to get right. Having a solid problem description is an important part of any research project.

1. Three Task Examples

You need to create three key representative task examples. They should be directly related to the human activity you are trying to support. Use the format that was discussed in class, namely a scenario (informal narrative description).

Remember that task examples are interface/design independent; or as as independent as you can make them. That is, a task example should not include details about a particular interface design, technology, or interaction methods, but should be defined such that more than one interface design could potentially be used to execute the given task.

Make your task examples as succinct as possible, while conveying the essential details. Each task example should be labelled as one of:  frequent, infrequent but important, infrequent and incidental.

Length: Each task example should be about one medium-length paragraph or several short paragraphs (supporting images and figures can be added, as appropriate).

2. Task analysis

You need to analyze/reflect on each of your task examples and determine to what extent they are supported in current practice (perhaps through existing technology, or through non-technological means), identifying both the positive and negative aspects of this practice. This helps to further clarify the problem.

Length: Document your analysis in one paragraph for each task (supporting images and figures can be added, as appropriate).

3. Prioritized list of Requirements

Because it may be unrealistic to fulfill your full system concept for all possible target users, you must prioritize the aspects of the system that you will develop based on: (1) the data you gathered during your field work (Empathize), (2) the personas you developed (Define), and (3) your literature search (Define).

The primary output of this stage is a specification of the aspects that your system must deliver/accommodate in the form of functional and non-functional requirements. It does not specify how – i.e., this stage is design-independent and usually it will be possible to implement requirements in a variety of ways.

Decide upon the major requirements for your system and prioritize them into:

  1. absolutely must include
  2. should include
  3. could include
  4. could exclude

The output from this step should be a list of your major requirements, categorized by priority. If there are requirements that are likely to be difficult to develop (infeasible), they should be flagged as such. Each category should be accompanied by a brief discussion as to why the items were placed in that category. You may find it useful to refer to your personas (and possibly other stakeholders) in your discussion.

Length: 1 to 1.5 pages to capture the list and the brief discussion.

4. Refined Design Direction

Based on the feedback you received from the Define milestone and the task analysis and prioritized list of requirements that you have just done, you now have the opportunity to revisit your design direction.

  • If you are happy with your design direction exactly as is, you can indicate that there are no changes.
  • If you want to refine your design direction, describe the revisions / new design direction.

Length:  at most one half page of text, and up to one page if images are included.

5. Conceptual design / Design Alternatives

This component of the milestone includes several steps:

  1. Individual preliminary conceptual model+sketch. Individually, each student on their own will come up with a conceptual model, based on what was taught in lecture. The goal is to do this entirely on your own in order to come up with as diverse a set of conceptual models as possible.
    • Describe the conceptual model in one sentence or a short paragraph.
    • Think about the following items as appropriate for your conceptual model: metaphor, concepts, relationships, mapping, terminology, interaction types, and interface types.
    • Create a rough sketch of your model, using one or more panels.
  2. Group assessment of the preliminary conceptual models and sketches. Come together as a group, walk through the each conceptual model+sketch and discuss the strengths and weakness of each one. Produce two bullet point lists — one for the strengths and one for the weaknesses — for each conceptual model+sketch.
  3. Final conceptual model+storyboard. Create a final conceptual model by either refining one of the individual ones or by refining a combination of the individual ones. Specifically:
    • Identify which individual conceptual model(s) you are drawing on.
    • Describe the conceptual model in one sentence or a short paragraph.
    • Identify each of the following items as appropriate for your conceptual model: metaphor, concepts, relationships, mapping, terminology, interaction types, and interface types.
    • Create a storyboard for your conceptual model. You can use whichever storyboarding technique you want. Your storyboard must be a minimum of 12 panels.
    • Identify its strengths and weaknesses in separate bullet point lists.

The individual conceptual models+sketches as well as the bullet-point strength and weaknesses lists will go in an appendix.

The final conceptual model+storyboard and the strengths/weaknesses bullet lists will be in the main body of your report.

Length: 1 to 2 pages for everything except storyboard, unlimited for storyboard  (+ appendix)

Note: there should be strong coherence between the different sections of your report. For example, there should not be key functionality that shows up in the conceptual model+storyboard that was not a requirement.

Presentation and report:

As with the previous milestones, your team will briefly present your work on this milestone in class: 5 minutes per team. Reminder: at least 2 team members must present and team members are expected to rotate across the project milestone presentations  throughout the term. Thus, any team member who did not present last presentation, needs to present for this one. You need to touch on each of the elements above, so will necessarily need to be very selective in what you cover.

For your report, include an appendix that identifies each team member’s contributions. You many optionally include additional appendices for content that does not fit into the main sections of the report.

Teams need to submit two pdfs — a pdf of the presentation, and a pdf of their report — in one single post to Canvas. Please give your pdf files name “Ideate-report-<team name>.pdf” and “Ideate-presentation-<team name>.pdf”



Title slide (project topic, team name, student names)- 1 points
Contained the right content at the right level of detail (Three task examples, Task analysis,list of requirements, Refined design direction, Conceptual Design / design alternatives)- 5 points
Clear, easy to read/absorb slides- 1 points
Well timed-1 points
Clearly delivered- 2 points
1. Refined problem definition (clearly and crisply written, human activity/practice identified, stakeholders identified, need for support substantiated)- 4 points
2. Three task examples (quality and appropriateness – i.e. interface independent, distinct, fairly broad coverage, consistent with personas and other parts of project)- 9 points
3. Task analysis (clear discussion of pros and cons of current solutions)- 6 points
4. Prioritized list of requirements (appropriate, consistent with data an analysis in project to date, and well justified)- 12 points
5. Refined design direction (approach identified accompanied by justification, supporting images/figures as appropriate)- 4 points
6. Conceptual Design / design alternatives:
6.A. Individual conceptual model+storyboard (for each team member: short description, items of model appropriately and clearly identified, detailed storyboard that is easy to follow)- 15 points
6.B. Group assessment of conceptual models and storyboards. (well thought out pros and cons lists for each of the individual models+storyboards)- 6 points
6.C. Group selection of most promising design (well chosen from alternatives considered)- 2 points
Appendix – Team members contribtions (done and with sufficient detail)- 1 points
Appendix – bibliography in appropriate and consistent citation style- 1 points
Appendix – all but one chosen conceptual model+storyboard and assessment appear in appendix- 1 points