CS449 — Team HCI Course Reflection

Project Goal

This term as a part of Human Computer Interaction, CS449, at the University of Waterloo, every person joined a team to help design a mobile app addressing a different role in Improving the Culture of Waterloo at the University and Beyond.

Problem/Features/Benefit diagram — initial analysis of our problem and how we would solve it

Product anticipated users

Our team initially came up with 5 personas that would represent our target users.

Bill Anderson Persona
  • Scared that people don’t like him
  • Feels uncomfortable with new people
  • Classmates are somewhat quiet and he keeps to himself
  • Dresses in standard jeans and t-shirt
  • Generally polite, but on the quiet side. Only speaks if spoken to
  • Enjoys going for walks and working at coffee shops
  • Will study on campus between lectures
  • Measures success by happiness and self-improvement
  • Fears people only pretending to like him
  • Has stage fright

User Interviews

To gain a better understanding of our users, we interviewed them to help us in narrowing down our assumptions and verify that they were correct. We ended up interviewing 8 people, and the average age was about 22–24 years old. The focus around this youth/young adult range was in line with our assumptions that users around this age are tech-adopters and users of social apps such as ours. Our interviewees had equal representation from different gender groups and was very diverse, and we feel that they were a representative sample for our user base.

  • What was the last artistic performance you remember? +Follow Up Questions for discussion
Affinity Diagram
Sequence Model for Organizers and Performers
Artifact Model
  • Finding a good venue for performance is hard as well as coordinating location use
  • Users use many different apps and services to plan and communicate. Sometimes info is lost in this network as information exchange takes place across many artifacts.

Initial design ideas

Our initial design ideas drew very heavily from our imagined personas, model diagrams, and the interviews which we had conducted up until this point. The first common trend amongst the data we collected was that it was hard to find other performers and find a group. This led to our conclusion that our app needed a feature to find other performers to create groups. Naturally, this led to another design requirement which was to have some form of messaging system. We recognized that there are many messaging platforms already, but felt that it was a feature which would be frequently used and we could automatically create chats associated with groups and performances.

Richard (Jian) Cai’s Crazy 8 sketches (Not the best artist)

Paper prototypes and evaluation

After deciding on our favourite design for each feature, we wanted to get our “app” in front of users to have them interact with it. In order to achieve this as fast and efficiently as possible, we used paper prototyping. For those unfamiliar, paper prototyping is a method of making the product out of paper and interactions are emulated by a person moving and replacing pieces of paper for menus, buttons, and screens — here’s a great example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrV2SZuRPv0

Paper Prototype flow for creating a popup event

Design Iteration

One of the biggest takeaways from this course is how few people you need to actually do testing.

High fidelity prototypes and evaluation

For the high fidelity prototype, our team decided to work with Adobe XD. We experimented between Adobe and InVision during class, and we found that Adobe was easier to work with and fit the needs of the project more. Our main goal for the high fidelity prototype was to confirm that the color scheme and design choices we chose for our app gave it a simplistic and approachable atmosphere. We also wanted to consolidate the three features we decided to create: profile creation and editing, event creation and editing, and messaging.

Features from our high fidelity prototype
Users testing our high fidelity prototype

Final Artifacts

Poster for final presentation


All-in-all, our team learned a great amount throughout this term. We began as five computer science students with little expertise with human-computer interaction and design, as well as negligible knowledge about the pop-up performance space. However, as the term progressed we were able to grow together by merging the content from class, the information retrieved from interviews, and the feedback obtained through testing to continually improve our product to the state it’s in today.

Team HCI



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