Not everyone living in the same place lives on the same schedule. Without proper communication, chores and responsibilities can be missed regardless of the living situation. Homework is my answer to that problem. Homework is a “at a glance,” task sharing app and it allows users to send tasks to one another like text messages on their smartphones. What hopefully sets Homework apart from other apps is the feature of including a timeframe for each task, which means, each task has a built in deadline. If the deadline is not reached, then the user is notified via a notification on their phone.
Homework is the result of my yearlong introduction to Human Computer Interaction (or HCI). The purpose of this project was to go through all the design motions of creating an app for the masses that hasn’t already been created.
The genesis of the project came from the need finding phase and the idea that roommates needed a better way to communicate responsibilities between each other. This suggestion came from another student in the course named Christopher Griffin so I want to give him credit here.
My take was to adapt that idea and apply it to families, a way for parents to assign tasks to their kids when the parents aren’t around. These are my initial storyboards.
I like the “at a glance” visibility of smartphone notifications and envisioned Homework to operate in a similar fashion. Parents would send “tasks” to their kids and then “tasks” could be viewed in the notification page on the app. When completed the recipient could mark “complete” and that would send a “completed” message back to the sender.
Here are my original prototypes…
After running this version through some user testing, it was discovered that the messages needed a timeframe, they needed accountability so they would not be easily ignored and stand out from a simple text message or sticky note on the fridge. The timeframe feature was added so that the messages became tasks, not texts.
From there, Homework took shape. Now the tasks have a timeframe in which they have to be completed. There is also a feature for the recipient to postpone or decline the task if they know a head of time that they can’t do the task that is assigned to them. There is a shared calendar feature, so you can see if other people in your group have time in there schedule to even accomplish the task you want to send them. I would even like to set up feature where a task would need a picture or video proof sent for it to be considered “complete.” Accountability mated with simple communication.
Yes, Homework is about assigning chores to people in your home, but fundamentally it is about communication. Sending and receiving information and creating a new or better layer of communication that did not already exist. For me, that is the accomplishment I am most proud of. To boil a message down to its essential parts, allow simple interaction and help family’s / roommate’s communicate in a more effective manner. Hopefully, in time, I can truly flush out this design and bring it to the public and see if it can operate the way I envisioned. I also hope you can forgive its current, crude depiction.
Until then, I hope you can appreciate what I am trying to convey with this crude design. Appreciate the attempt I am trying to make at improving communication while also doing the dishes at the same time. With any luck, then next time you here about Homework will be at its IPO. It would also be the first time doing my homework would have ever actually paid off for me. How times have changed.