This project was designed to introduce 3rd undergraduate students to the basics of Interface Design principles and a goal-oriented design thinking process via a short 2 week project that tasks them with studying an existing app, understanding its users' goals and designing a new feature for their assigned app.
The typical student this project is meant for has some experience with design and is practiced in graphic and web design but has little to no experience with Interface Design principles or Goal oriented design.
The project begins with an introduction to these topics which is usually delivered via a lecture that focuses on the core principles, which include the user's mental model vs the representation model, understanding user goals and UI design principles derived form Nielsen and Tognazzini. This is followed by adivce on understanding users, creating effective personae and choosing manageable apps to learn from and design for.
Students are then tasked with practicing these skills outside the classroom by conducting a focused study of their assigned app interface, researching the target user and then ideating potential gaps, pain points and opportunties in the app that can be enhanced via a new feature desgin.
In the second phase of the assignment, students work to design and prototype one of their proposed features. Gaining experience with wireframing and workflows, rapid prototyping tools such as Axure and Framer, and visual design skills through a final mockup of the feature.