The Internet is now being accessed by more and more diverse sections of the population. Unfortunately, many existing sites provide only limited support for these new user groups. There are few on-line resources that are specifically devoted to more elderly users. Similarly, relatively few sites are devoted for younger generations of computer users. In pragmatic terms, this represents a considerable opportunity that has yet to be fully exploited.
Global Educational Enterprises Korporation has asked you to develop a digital toy. By a digital toy they mean an interactive web page that is intended to entertain, amuse and inform its users. The toy is intended to appeal to children from 3 to 6 years of age. It will join a collection of similar toys that will be presented on the company's site. These pages will eventually also host advertising and marketing information about more conventional products for children and their parents.
You must pay careful attention to the design challenges of product development for this user population. A useful starting point would be the children's section of a public library (eg Hillhead Library on Byres Road or Glasgow's Mitchel Library). There are also a small but growing number of similar sites such as eplay.com and metoo.net. You may also justify your design in terms of the child development literature. Some of this is available through on-line resources. For example, you may choose to design a toy for children with particular learning disabilities. Furrther information is available via the education sections in the University library.
There is also a growing body of research on the effective use of games and play in learning. For example, Maria Klawe's paper entitled Is Edutainment an Oxymoron. There is also a briefing by Philips on product development for girls. Finally, there is a recent interesting paper on the effects and effectiveness of web advertising on teenagers. These are only starting points to help you design your toy - please look more widely for references and research in this area.
You must focus your development activities by making a number of important design decisions that MUST be documented in your final report:
The second stage of the project involves the development of initial designs and presentation formats. These should be as INNOVATIVE as possible. GEEK will not accept any toys with a violant or "anti-social" content or which infringe copyright.
The third stage involves implementation. It is VERY important that your web pages are well documented and easy to maintain. Your solution must make use of AWT or JFC/Swing.
Finally, summative and formative evaluation must be conducted to test out your ideas. You must use a recognised technique described in the lecture notes and you must document your results in the final report.
This exercise is degree assessed. It contributes 30% to the total marks associated with this course. The body of the report should not exceed twenty A4 pages. The report must be printed out and must be submitted in a secure binder (i.e., one that will keep the pages together and in the correct order). It must include:
The following marking scheme will be applied:
Important: you must ensure that any media which you use in your prototype has been placed in the public domain and DOES NOT infringe copyright.
This exercise provides you with a realistic design task. You are designing a product that has the potential to be of practical benefit beyond the duration of your course. I will retain the best solutions on the Departmental web site.
You have a wide range of possible options and your task is to choose the best one that you can come up with. Please remember, however, that you have limited time and resources to complete your work. The marks will be based on the written submission. However, everyone will also be expected to present their solution during the final practical session of this course (Tuesday 14th March). An international panel of HCI experts will be asked to judge the best design solutions and prizes will be awarded to the winner and runners up. If possible, I will also try to arrange for a panel of potential end-users to evaluate your designs.
Back to the main index...