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Design Prompts

For your team project, you will need to either extend or redesign features of widely-used mobile apps. This forces you to work within real-world constraints, which will make your design portfolio stand out from your peers who are creating apps from scratch. (Oftentimes those “from-scratch” apps aren't very compelling since they just replicate many well-known features like login screens or posting comments.) When you're applying for jobs, it will look more impressive if you can argue for how your design fits into the real-world constraints of well-known apps.

Choose one of the following prompts for your project:

Using a well-known banking app ...

  • extend or redesign a feature that helps a specific type of user to reduce debt.
  • extend or redesign a feature that helps a specific type of user to plan for retirement.
  • extend or redesign a feature that helps a specific type of user to save for a major upcoming high-cost purchase.

Using a well-known transportation or ridesharing app ...

  • extend or redesign a feature that helps a specific type of user find the right mode of transportation to fit specialized cargo or people requirements that are outside the realm of normal everyday rides that most people take.
  • extend or redesign a feature that fosters better in-vehicle communication between multiple riders or between riders and drivers.
  • extend or redesign a feature that helps a specific type of user feel safer in a vehicle.

App-based gig employment:

  • Using an well-known gig employment app (e.g. Doordash, Postmates, Task Rabbit, Uber, Lyft, etc.), extend or redesign a feature that helps a specific type of user who is employed by these app-based platforms better understand how the app can help them meet a specific set of goals.

Social media (but not for students!):

  • Using an well-known social media app, extend or redesign a feature that helps encourage specific types of people in one's surrounding area to get together in-person and physically interact in a meaningful way. (If you pick this prompt, the target users cannot be students of any sort.)

One final constraint is that your project should be something that you would feel comfortable showing off to your extended family at a holiday reunion; this means keeping your content “PG-rated” in movie rating terms. If you have any questions about your ideas, talk to the staff in person or on Piazza.

After choosing the desired prompt, teams will need to: 1) identify the existing target app to either extend or redesign a major feature of, and 2) conduct user research to identify a specific user type that fits the prompt. It's critical to pick a prompt that is personally motivating to you, since that will maximize your chances of coming up with a great project idea. It's OK to try out a few prompts and ask TAs for feedback (both in-person and on Piazza) since the first team assignment isn't due until the end of Week 3.

See Week 1's lecture slides/video for details about design prompts.