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Individual Case-Study Write-Up

Part 1 DUE Thurs, Nov 21 at 11:59pm
Part 2 DUE Thurs, Dec 5 at 11:59pm

You're now finished with team assignments! To wrap up this class, you will turn your A1-A5 into an individual case study write-up that you can include in your design portfolio. Every student will turn in their own case study. See relevant lecture slides for details and examples. Since this write-up will take significant effort, we've split it into two parts with separate deadlines.

Part 1: DUE Thurs, Nov 21 at 11:59pm

For Part 1, we want you to create the text portion of your case study without including final images, animations, or other graphics. Just focus on telling a good story (remember the Storytelling part of APS). Think of this as a text-only prototype of your final case study.

If you feel like adding images at this time, go for it! But we won't be grading Part 1 based on the quality of your included images.

Your case study will be a single webpage, so the first step is to create a webpage with a public-viewable URL that doesn't require a login. To test this, try to open your URL in an Incognito/Private browser tab, which emulates what your TA sees.

You can use whatever webpage creator or hosting service you want. Some suggestions:

  • If you already have a personal webpage or portfolio, we highly suggest you use your existing hosting service. This will ensure your case study looks and feels like the rest of your portfolio.
  • Free options include Medium, Google Sites, GitHub Pages, etc.
  • Paid options include Squarespace, Wix, Webflow, etc.

What to submit: To turn in your case study, submit this Google Form by the Nov 21 11:59pm deadline. You can keep updating your case study webpage after this deadline to work on Part 2, but be aware that your TA may be viewing and grading it as well, so make sure that you don't upload a broken version. (You can work off of a copy as well, but make sure to update the original URL's contents before Part 2's deadline.)

What to include: We purposely don't set a required format (besides being on one single webpage) since that will constrain you creativity. Also, real-world case studies and portfolios vary in format and style. For inspiration, look at examples from lecture slides or your friends' portfolios. Here are some high-level ideas:

  • As a starting point, copy the text of all sections from A1-A5 into your own case study webpage and create section headers marking each one (e.g., background, user research, problem statement, personas, UX flows, UI sketches, paper prototypes, high-fidelity prototypes, etc.).
  • Feel free to shorten or cut out parts that don't fit into the overall flow of your story. It's not a requirement that everything from A1-A5 be present in your case study; that would probably make it way too long.
  • Also feel free to edit the writing in any part to your liking. This is your own case study now! You and your teammates can turn in different write-ups to suit your own personal styles.
  • Again, don't worry about putting the final images in there yet. Instead, add text captions as placeholders for the images so your TA knows what will eventually go there.
  • REQUIRED: add a personal introduction at the top of your case study to convey what you personally focused on in this project and what your main roles were; it's OK if your teammates shared many responsibilities, but try to give this case study an individual flavor to differentiate it from what your teammates will write up. For inspiration, look at case study examples from lecture and from your friends.
  • REQUIRED: add a final reflection section at the end of your case study to summarize lessons learned or other personal reflections from this project. For instance, what interesting, surprising, or unexpected insights did you gain from working on this design? How is your app's extended/redesigned feature potentially better than the original app's design? What challenges still remain for you to tackle in future work? This reflection will end your case study with a nice personal touch.
  • OPTIONAL: If you want, you can include a section at the end of your case study to communicate private notes to your TA or describe how you took TA feedback into account. This will help jog your TA's memory when they're grading.

Grading: This part will be graded out of 10 points. We purposely don't set a rubric here since everyone's case study will vary, and potential employers are also not judging based on a set rubric either. In essence, everyone in the real world judges on APS! Since this part is all about the writing, the Storytelling aspect of APS will be the most important. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • If it's obvious that you just copied-and-pasted from A1-A5 without polishing to make the story flow smoothly, then that will likely get points off. (Obvious errors here are having words like “assignment” or “A4” etc. in your write-up, since an employer won't know what those mean in this context.)
  • If you didn't seem to put effort into writing individual parts that differentiate from your teammates, especially for personal introduction and reflection, that will likely get points off.
  • If there are too many spelling, grammar, of stylistic mistakes that would distract readers, that will likely get points off.
  • If you feel ambitious and want to work on Part 2's goals at the same time as Part 1, go ahead! Making your case study more polished by the Part 1 deadline will work to your advantage.

We can't make any predictions yet, but your TA's grading and feedback on A1-A5 is some indicator of how they might grade your individual case study. In other words, if you produce similar-quality work as A1-A5, you will likely get similar grades.

(Your TA will be placing your individual case study feedback and grades in your Figma's team folder as a new file. It may take a while for them to grade everyone's, since there's 3x as many now as team projects! In the meantime, feel free to keep working on your case study webpage, but make sure the one whose URL they have is always in good shape whenever they happen to check it ... work off of an alternate backup file if you want to experiment.)

Part 2: DUE Thurs, Dec 5 at 11:59pm

This is the final deadline for this class. By this point, your case study write-up should be finalized. Congrats, you're all done!

What to submit: Since you've already submitted your Google Form for Part 1, there isn't anything new to submit here. Just make sure that same URL now contains your final case study. If you want to change your case study URL for some reason, follow the instructions below. Otherwise we will be grading the same URL you submitted in Part 1.

If you want to change your case study URL for Part 2:

  • Fill out the Google Form again with your new URL.
  • On your original (old) case study webpage, at the very top, add a note that your URL has changed and link to your new URL. This will ensure that when your TA is grading your final case study, they know to visit your new URL.
  • Send a Piazza message to instructors to remind us, just in case.

What to include: This should be your final case study that you feel proud to show to potential employers. At minimum, along with your final write-up, it should include high-resolution photos, screenshots, and Figma prototype UI images that look polished (overly blurry or pixelated images make a bad impression). In addition, feel free to go above and beyond to include additional prototypes and analyses if you think it would help strengthen your case study. Do whatever you think would make the best impression on readers. Here are some ideas along these lines (you don't need to necessarily implement these):

  • Expand the write-up in sections that you feel especially proud of or that you want to use to highlight your strengths. (e.g., If you're a visual designer, add parts to the write-up about font choices, color palettes, layout design philosophy, etc. If you're a user research specialist, add detail to the user research section.)
  • Add animated GIFs or embedded videos to show interactivity.
  • Add Figma prototypes to show how your app's design might handle edge cases, extreme user behaviors, or other considerations such as accessibility. Think about how drastically different or unexpected user populations might use your app.

OPTIONAL: If you want, you can include a section at the end of your case study to communicate private notes to your TA or describe how you took TA feedback into account. This will help jog your TA's memory when they're grading.

Tips for good APS: To make your Figma prototype images look more polished, we suggest you surround them with images of actual phones. You can import these templates into Figma:

Adding a drop shadow effect can also make your images look better when presented in a case study.

Finally, to export high-quality images, we suggest you export as PNG and select 4x size:

You can also try 2x size if you don't want your file sizes to be too large. Play around and see what looks best.

Grading: This part will be graded out of 10 points. Again, grading will be done by the staff holistically with a strong eye toward APS to simulate a potential employer's first impressions upon reading your case study when you apply for a job. We will also go over your case studies and individual grades in-person during our final grading meeting.

We can't make any predictions yet, but your TA's grading and feedback on A1-A5 is some indicator of how they might grade your individual case study. In other words, if you produce similar-quality work as A1-A5, you will likely get similar grades.

Finally, a few exceptional case studies that truly impress us may receive a small number of extra credit points.