Reflection on iPhone App Design Session

We had a design session to sketch the interface of an iPhone app where students can view their GPA and grades. The following are the flow charts and the sketches from our team.

Major take-aways from this session are:

1. It takes great level of familiarity to the elements of the phone from the designer’s perspective to be able to design good interface. Two of us are iPhone users and the other two are Android users, so our sketches kind of contain a mixture of both iPhone and Android elements, even though the task we got was to design an iPhone app. Even for the two iPhone users in our team, we typically only use the iPhone, rather than think about it from the designer’s perspective.

2. When we designed the app, our team members did not feel the need to enable the users to view the GPA of each semester, because the hypothetical persona we produced is a college junior looking for an internship. We didn’t think he would need to look at one specific semester’s GPA. We thought he would need to provide the recruiters the overall GPA or core courses GPA, so we designed the function of viewing core courses GPA but we didn’t design the function of viewing the GPA of a specific semester. However, when we started the small tour around the classroom to look at other teams’ design, we saw other groups having this function of viewing GPA of a specific semester, then we started to drift away from our hypothetical persona’s need. We started to think that maybe the following modification can be made to enable users to view the GPA of a specific semester. This is not a technically difficult change at all, but is there really the need, or are we just influenced by other teams’ designs? We didn’t really know enough of our users to make this decision.

In summary, we need a great deal of understanding of both the phone platform and the users to produce good design. The persona needs to be carefully produced and grounded in data, because it points the context and the needs of the users. The context changes, the need changes.

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