Design Project

You'll DESIGN, BUILD, and TEST your own crowdsourcing / social computing system.

Tips & Info

What do we do?

This is a team-based, semester-long design project, in which you'll create an original crowdsourcing and social computing application on your own. You'll work in teams of 3-4 people. More information about each milestone will be added to this page. Here is the timeline and grading weights for each milestone:

  • Team Formation (week 2): 0%
  • Idea (week 3): 10%
  • Story (week 5): 10%
  • Low-fi Prototype (week 7): 10%
  • Pitch (week 8): 20%
  • Mid-fi Prototype (week 10): 10%
  • Hi-fi Prototype (week 13): 10%
  • Final presentation (week 15): 15%
  • Final paper (week 16): 15%
Please note that all team members will receive the same grade for all the milestones.

Why do this?

Now that you've mastered the arts and skills of crowdsourcing and social computing, it's important that you apply what you learned to a problem you deeply care about. It's a great way to learn further, and potentially make impact.

Does my project idea qualify?

Projects are open-ended, so please be creative. But here are some requirements:
  • Your project should involve a VOLUNTARY OR INTRINSICALLY MOTIVATED CROWD, which means you cannot use paid crowds (e.g., MTurk, Upwork).
  • Your project should have some user interface. I'm expecting most projects to be a novel crowdsourcing and social computing system that can be tested by others (e.g., a prototype website or a mobile app). Data mining or analysis focused projects are okay, but there needs to be some visualization or analytics dashboard component that is accessible by others to understand your results.
  • Your prototype doesn't need to be a fully implemented platform, menaing that it needs to focus on the core crowdsourcing / social computing concept you're introducing, rather than to build all the database backend, login, etc.
  • Connecting to your own research is encouraged, but please make sure to talk to course staff early about how to make it happen.

Examples

Here's the project gallery from the 2016 class.

How do we submit?

We'll create an assignment in KLMS for each milestone.

Late Policy

For each milestone deadline, all members of your team will lose 10% for each late day. Submissions will be accepted until three days after the deadline. After then you'll get 0 on that assignment. Please note that late submissions for midterm and final presentations are not allowed.

Team Formation

Milestone 0: Team Formation

Due: 11:59pm on 9/8 (Fri)

What do I do?

You'll need to find teammates to work on an exciting project this semester. Each team should have 4 people by default. In exceptional cases we'll accept 3-person teams.

How do I find teammates?

Here are three methods you can use:

  • You can use Piazza to post advertisements for finding teammates.
  • We'll give 5 minutes at the end of two classes for in-person team formation.
  • Use office hours to talk to us about project ideas so that we can make connections, and you can also run into other classmates.
Please try to have diversity in your own team crowd, in terms of skillset, interest, and background.

How do I submit?

Please fill out the design project sign-up form.

Ideas

Milestone 1: Problem Identification and Ideas

Due: 11:59pm on 9/19 (Tue)
10% toward your project grade

What do we do?

In a team, you'll identify a problem that you'd like to tackle with your project, and brainstorm approaches to solving the problem.

Your report

In your report, please answer the following questions:

  1. What is the problem your team is trying to solve? (one sentence)
  2. How do you know this problem exists? Why is this problem important? Include both (1) external references (e.g., academic papers, news articles, or published surveys), as well as (2) internal investigation (e.g., results from making observations, personal experiences, or interviews with target requesters or workers). (maximum one paragraph)
  3. Why use crowdsourcing or social computing for the problem? Why not use machines or individual experts? (maximum one paragraph)
  4. For the identified problem, discuss with your teammates what specific challenges exist. State these challenges as "How might we..." (HMW) questions. HMW questions serve as a bridge between the identified problem and solution ideas. They are short questions that should be broad enough to allow for open ideas yet narrow enough to set meaningful boundaries. Report at least 10 HMW questions for your team's problem, and pick top 3 HMW questions. This method card from Stanford d.school should be a useful resource.
  5. Solution Ideas: Solution ideas are your attempts at solving the HMW questions. In your team, discuss how you might address these questions with crowdsourcing or social computing. Report at least 10 solution ideas per each of the top 3 HMW questions, and pick top 3 solution ideas overall. Note that these 3 ideas should be distinct from one another, covering a wide solution space. The best ideas don't necessarily have to represent each HMW; multiple ideas can belong to a single HMW.

Grading

  • Problem (10%)
    • Clearly presented in a sentence?
    • Unique?
    • Non-trivial?
  • Problem Background (20%)
    • Clearly presented in a paragraph?
    • Convincing evidence or references presented?
    • Importance of the problem highlighted?
  • Motivation (20%)
    • Clearly presented in a paragraph?
    • Suitable for crowdsourcing or social computing?
    • Convincing reasons for using crowdsourcing or social computing presented?
  • HMW (20%)
    • 10+ HMWs submitted?
    • Scope not too broad or narrow?
    • Distinct, broad, and creative?
  • Solution Ideas (30%)
    • 10+ solution ideas submitted for each HMW?
    • Top 3 ideas are noted?
    • Distinct, broad, and creative?

How do we submit?

One report per team. Your report should be submitted as a zip file. The main report should be written in Markdown (please use the .md extension). We're going to publish your reports on the course website. Submit your team's report on KLMS.

Story

Milestone 2: Tasks and Storyboards

Due: 11:59pm on 9/29 (Fri)
10% toward your project grade

What do we do?

Your team will now further develop the ideas that you came up with in Milestone #1. You'll create two types of artifacts that will capture your design process. Please follow the order presented below.

  • Tasks: Based on the three solution ideas your team came up with, brainstorm three major tasks your solution wants to support. Tasks represent what the user (including but not limited to crowd workers, requesters, or community members) wants to achieve, rather than specific system features or UI elements. For each task, list three requirements or design goals that a solution should support. Some tips:
    • Make sure the three tasks are distinct from one another and cover different levels of complexity.
    • Be specific, and include details and context. "The user wants to learn math." is way too broad. Think about a particular user with their likely demographic, constraints, and motivation: "Seung Hyun, a 20-year old college student, wants to learn Chinese in his spare time. While he doesn't have time to take classes or get a private tutor, he wants to use his commute time to learn useful words and phrases."
  • Storyboards: Create 3 storyboard sketches, one for each of the three tasks you identified. A storyboard is a set of comic-strip-like drawings that visually walks through a concrete scenario and a task that your user experiences. Show the challenge the user encounters, what environment the user is surrounded by, what motivates the user to use the solution idea you're suggesting, and how your solution idea actually addresses the challenge. The storyboard shouldn't be about specific system features or UI elements. You don't even need to show the detailed screen layout of your UI at this point. Focus on the concept and context, rather than pretty UIs or sophisticated system features.
    • Make sure to hand-draw your storyboards, with a thick pen so that sketches are visible when digitally scanned and excessive details are not included. Using a pencil or a thin ball-point pen is not allowed.
    • Here are some good examples (Verbivore and Let's Read), except for the fact that some of them are not drawn with a thick pen.
    • Resources: Amal Dar Aziz's guide to storyboarding is a highly recommended resource. Also, watch the first 6 minutes of this video by Scott Klemmer, which gives a nice introduction to storyboarding.

Your report

Your report should include the following:

  • Tasks: Description of three tasks, each about a paragraph long. For each task, include three requirements or design goals, and explain why they matter.
  • Storyboards: Three storyboards, hand-drawn.

Grading

  • Tasks (40%)
    • 3 tasks submitted?
    • Are the tasks distinct from each other?
    • Do the tasks contain detailed context?
    • 3 requirements of goals submitted per task?
    • Strong rationale provided??
  • Storyboards (60%)
    • 3 storyboards submitted?
    • Flow easy to follow and understand?
    • Easy to read (thick pen used)?
    • Not solution-driven but user- and scenario-driven?

How do we submit?

One report per team. Your report should be submitted as a zip file.

  • Tasks: In Markdown (please use the .md extension)
  • Sketches: Scan in png or jpg. Images need to be in a directory called images.
Submit your team's report on KLMS.