Expectations, Status & Progress

Coming into this UCOSP project course, my ultimate goal was to be able to utilize the human-computer interaction (HCI) and user experience (UX) design knowledge that I’ve acquired from both school and work to enhance the usability of MarkUs.  Through this experience, I’m hoping to solidify my understanding of various usability concepts and familiarize myself with more projects out there.

Up until now, I feel that I’m on track with the work that I’m doing with MarkUs.  I’ve been spending most of my time redesigning and reorganizing a lot of features and functionality MarkUs currently offers.  There’s no better way to do this than to keep prototyping and getting user feedback through usability sessions.  Because of my full-time position, I have not been able to collect as much usability feedback that I’d like to in person.  But I’ve found that running these designs by the team is often just as helpful.  But most importantly, having a supportive supervisor to help collect the user feedback certainly helps me since I am working remotely most of the time.

In short, I think I’ve stayed on track because: I have already redesigned quite a few views; and have made various suggestions to the overall MarkUs interface.

Things I’ve learned thus far

In the past, I’ve done very little usability work for web-based applications, and I’m also very new to designing interfaces from scratch.  Thanks to my team, I’ve learned quite a few things about designing web interfaces in particular.  For example, small things like screen resolution will have a huge impact on the usability and presentation of the entire user interface.  So it’s certainly something that needs to be considered early in the design cycle, and kept in mind at all times.

Another key thing that I’ve learned up until now is the prototyping tool, OmniGraffle.  Instead of seeing the tool as being a burden, it has now saved a significant amount of my time.  For example, I am now more comfortable using new canvases and layers in my prototypes wherever I see fit.

Next Steps

In the remainder of the course, I plan to continue working on the UI of MarkUs.  I focused on the Grader Assignment and Group Formation views for the first half of the term, but those have now been addressed.  Next, I am planning to tackle the Properties view – our goal is to make the Properties view intuitive to not just regular users, but also those that are using MarkUs for the first time.  New designs for the MarkUs Dashboard are also to come.

I’d also like to maintain the good communication and coordination we’ve had as a team in the weeks to come.

I’ve had an awesome time working with the team, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the term!