Informatics 131: Human Computer Interaction

Winter 2014 // UCI Department of Informatics // Ellie Harmon

Admin // Schedule // Sketching // Reading // Design

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Sketching Journal Overview

Note: This project is modeled very closely on Jed Brubaker’s sketching project for Informatics 132, as taught in the Spring of 2013.

Sketching is a common practice used by designers that fosters the ability to think critically about existing objects and interactions, and generate ways of improving them.

As part of this class, you will keep a sketchbook, in which you will think about objects or interactions in your daily life and sketch situations that are problematic or frustrating and ideas for how they could be improved.

There are two main parts to this assignment. Together, they count 20 points towards your final grade.

  1. 8 weekly sketching assignments: 1 point each, for a total of 8 points towards your final grade.
  2. Final reflection: 12 points towards your final grade.

Each week, for weeks 2-9, you will need to make at least three entries in your sketching journal. There are two requirements for these sketches: At least 1 entry for the week should be related to the specified topic (see list below). Also, at least 1 entry each week needs to be of a new idea for an object or a re-design of an existing system.

Every Thursday, in class, you will break into groups and exchange feedback and critique.

At the end of the quarter, you will write a 1000-word reflective essay about the sketching assignment.

Materials

You will need a blank sketchbook for this assignment that you can turn in at the end of the quarter. This book should be:

The UCI Bookstore sells many sizes and types of unlined books that would be appropriate for this. This does not need to be expensive. You could also make your own book if you are feeling DIY.

Weekly Topics & Peer Feedback

Each week, we will have an open-ended topic or theme to tackle where you will do at least one sketch related to that topic area. For the open-ended questions, you just have to come up with any new product idea or improvement to an existing product. For example, if the theme was “Cooking & Eating,” you might redesign your toaster knobs, come up with a new recipe organization tool, or a smart refrigerator. The idea can focus on an entire system (e.g., smart refrigerator) or one specific interaction (e.g., new toaster knobs). The focus is on the quantity of sketches and communication of your ideas and not the quality of your drawing. The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas. Futuristic, off-the-wall, and original ideas are welcome and encouraged!

You must bring your sketchbook to class every Thursday with at least three new sketches related to the topic for that week. Each sketch must be on a single page, numbered and dated. The back of each sketch page should also be left blank to leave room for notes and critique signatures. You will break into small groups to discuss and critique each others’ sketches and get feedback on your ideas. Each critiquer will sign your sketches to indicate that you’ve discussed them. Take good notes during these sessions, as you’ll need them for your reflection assignment. At the end of the quarter, you will write a short reflection upon your sketching experience:


### S1: Objects and interactions in daily life

Due in class, Thursday January 16.
This assignment will be started in week 1 discussion

Sketch three ideas for things that would change your daily life as a student at UCI. To help you get started, you might want to think about questions like:

For example, you might redesign your toaster knobs, come up with a new recipe organization tool, or a smart refrigerator. The idea can focus on an entire system (e.g., smart refrigerator) or one specific interaction (e.g., new toaster knobs).

The antplanner website is a great example of something that you might come up with if you were thinking “wouldn’t it be great if I could see these classes I’m taking in a calendar format instead of just a list?” Try to capture moments like this – when you or someone you know is frustrated and find yourself imagining a way to improve something you deal with as part of your regular day.


Each week, 2 of your sketches can be just like the first week – anything you notice about your daily life. At least 1 sketch should be related to the week’s topic area.

S2: Time Management

Due in class, Thursday January 23

For this sketching topic, you might try to pay attention to things like: individual or group scheduling, calendaring, keeping track of tasks and chores, coordinating plans with other people, etc.

S3: Experiencing one’s surroundings

Due in class, Thursday January 30

For this sketching topic, pay attention to how people around you are experiencing (or not experiencing) their surroundings.

Some questions to get you thinking:

Are people texting while walking? Is it sometimes a problem? What would make it better? Do you wish you could more easily send a message to someone while you’re on the move? How could you do that? Do you notice event fliers posted around campus? What would make you notice them more? OR would help you ignore them if they’re bothersome? What do you know about the places where you are walking – do you know their history, who else has been there? What things would you want to know when you’re out and about? Do you get lost riding bikes? Do you know where you’re allowed (and not allowed) to skateboard?

S4: Mobile working

Due in class, Thursday February 6

Your sketches can have anything to do with mobile working or studying.

But, if you are not sure where to begin, here are some things other students in class are thinking about:

Make sure to upload one sketch (from any week in the quarter so far) to the EEE DropBox before class on Thursday.

S5: Transportation

As discussed in class – anything relevant to the transportation experience.

Due in class, Thursday February 13

S6: Shopping

As discussed in class – anything relevant to the shopping experience.

Due in class, Thursday February 20

S7: Sketch your project area!

Due in class, Thursday February 27

You should be moving towards making a decision about what to prototype for your final project this week. Sketch some of your ideas for possible solutions.

S8: Cooking

As discussed in class – anything relevant to the cooking experience.

Due in class, Thursday March 6

Sketch Grading

Each weeks’ sketching assignment is worth 1 point towards your final grade, for a total of 8 points for all 8 weeks of sketching. You must have all three sketches complete, signed, and dated from the Thursday activity in order to earn this point. If you do not have three sketches complete, or you do not have your sketching notebook with you you will receive zero points for the week. It’s only worth one point, there will be no partial credit.

Ben & Ellie will circulate during class to check as many sketches each week as is practical. If you are missed one week, your sketches for that week will be checked at the end of the quarter.

Final Reflection

**Due in class, Thursday, March 13. **

  1. You must turn in your ENTIRE sketch notebook at this time, with all sketches dated and signed from class meetings.

  2. Review your sketches, and spend some time thinking about how your relationship with sketching has changed (or not) over the duration of the quarter. Then write a reflection essay. The objective here is to thoughtfully reflect on your experience overall. However, I would like you to specifically note your favorite and least favorite sketch, what feedback you received on these sketches during critique, and include photos of these sketches (in super high quality please!).

Additional questions you should respond to in your reflection:

What to Turn In:

Final Reflection Grading

The final reflection counts 12 points towards your final grade, and will be graded as follows: