Assignment 2: Princeton Pathfinder

ELE 469/ COS 436 – Assignment 2 : Individual Design Exercise

1)      I watched the IDEO video:  My favorite parts were the examples of how you do something first and then ask for forgiveness later, such as the bike hanging. I also liked the system of combining prototypes.

2)      Observing: I sat in the Friend center in between classes and observed students going in and out of class. What I found:

  • Some students arrive early,
    • They are already at the library, studying  and come down to class
    • Some print homework and rush around the library getting paper and stapling problem sets before rushing to class
    • Some just happen to come in and stand around outside the class room or go in early, not doing much except texting or checking their phones and computers
  • Many students arrive on time or a minute late and go straight into the lecture room
    • This is 5 minutes right before class that the halls are the most crowded
    • People meet their friends, form small groups just outside a big lecture hall and go in
    • Some people say hi in passing to friends
  • Then there are some students that arrive late
    • Some rush in, at a semi-running pace, jogging through the hallway and then quietly opening the lecture room door to not disturb the lecture
    • Some, even when late, just walk at a steady pace and walk into class
  • Some students, at the end of the class, walk out and back in if they forgot something
  • Many times students walk out in pairs or groups talking with friends
  • Sometimes, classes ended late, and if it was particularly late, some students would rush out trying to make it to their next class on time
  • When I chose specific students to observe as they waited for class:
    • One student was talking to friends outside of the classroom before they went to their respective classes
    • Another student tried to walk into the class room, but there was a lecture inside that had run over time, so they just waited outside. He looked at his phone and sat down by the window until students came out of the room
    • A third student as she was waiting for class sat down and crossed her arms and closed her eyes for a few minutes, just listening to her headphones before getting up to go into class. She took off her headphones as she walked into class and put them in her pocket.
    • A fourth girl walked toward her class room, then stopped midway to check her phone, respond to a text or maybe an email or facebook message. People swerved around her as she stood there texting. Then she looked up and put her phone away and walked into the classroom.

3)      Brainstorm:

  • 1)      More efficient way to print : Additional printers and printing stations
  • 2)      A printer outside the library with  “all clusters” access
  • 3)      App to find optimal path to get from point A to point B : Shortest path or fastest  path
  • 4)      App Record exact time that it will take to get form point A to point B on campus:  Uses student’s average walking pace to calculate time
  • 5)      An indicator light to tell students outside if a lecture is going on in a classroo
  • 6)      An indicator light to tell when an optimal time to enter class room unnoticed
  • 7)      An application in a phone or a separate device that will alert a person if they are blocking the path for others, such as when they stop to text with their head bent
  • 8)      A button to press so that doors will open without needing to grasp the handle
  • 9)     A way to share music that different students are listening to before class
  • 10)   A booth for quick naps with built in alarm for sited students between class
  • 11)   Icebreaker gam app for students to make friends in class: Students can collaborate later for projects
  • 12)   An app for students to find walking buddies before or after class:
  • 13)   An app to show where the nearest free food source is for a between class snack

4)      Two favorite Ideas:

  • 1)      Indicator Light for optimal time to walk in when class is already in session: This would be very useful, especially for late students wanting to walk in unnoticed
  • 2)      App to find optimal path to get from point A to point B : Shortest path or fastest path: This is what I would find most useful because I find that me and my friends constantly wonder which the shortest path is or the fastest path is as we walk to and from class.

5)  Paper Prototypes:

  • 1)      Paper Prototype I did not test: The indicator light prototype ended up being two lights drawn onto a postcard that would go outside the lecture room door. I could also make a paper prototype of the detector of the in-class noise that would send a signal for when there is enough noise that a student can enter unnoticed, but that would not be part of the usual user interface
  • 2)      The paper prototype that I did test: Princeton Pathfinder, a set of index cards representing an app that will take into account a user’s walking pace and suggest the fastest or shortest or most scenic path. I also included a bike path option

Paper Prototype windows

6)      User feedback:

Brian’s Suggestions :

  • Brian found that the difference between shortest path and fastest path were confusing so I may need to remove those two choices, or insert a short description about their differences that can be seen if the options are clicked on
  • He did find that the app would be very useful for him but also noted that a standard map would not include all the shortcuts
  • He suggested that the option to add in short cuts and paved or unpaved paths to the app would be a great way to make it more accurate


Victoria’s suggestions:

  • She found that the “calibrate” button being at the bottom was confusing, so moving it to a more visible location, or making a whole separate screen right after the welcome screen is the best way to have users calibrate their walking pace before selecting locations
  • She also found it un-intuitive to have a “next” button that needed to be pressed before the map was displayed. Just pressing enter should work.

















Jingwen’s suggestions:

  • She found that there was too much writing for the user
  • She also commented that the app could also have a “very fast” option, that would draw a path cutting across grass and areas that are not walkways if a student needs to get to a place as fast as they physically can.

General insights:

– I found that users were a bit confused as to how to move from one window to the next

– I observed that they did not like to read text to follow directions, so the app may need to be more intuitive, with the buttons speaking for themselves

– I also observed that users were confused with needing to click the “next” button

– I should add in a feature that allows users to fund the fastest possible way and input their own shortcuts


A2: Individual Design Exercise

                                                                                         Assignment 2

-Joseph Turchiano

 Observations: (Transcribed from notebook)

1. Preceptor for CS/Math course.

–          Arrives approximately 5-10 minutes early for precept.

–          Places books on table. These books are never opened.

–          Stands around awkwardly doing nothing waiting for students to arrive.

–          Side note: students do more or less the same thing.

–          When precept starts, seems somewhat unprepared to actually teach the lesson.

2. Late friend.

–          Shows up approximately 5 minutes late for lecture, sits down next to me.

–          Spends the next 2 minutes picking up what he had missed so far.

–          Explains that he lost track of time doing other work.

–          Apparently spent the 10 minutes prior to lecture running to lecture.

3. Student in large lecture hall.

–          Has 2 subsequent lectures in the same room.

–          Does not leave after first class ends.

–          Instead continues to surf web with laptop, already open from previous class.

–          Continues to view facebook until about 5 minutes into next class.

–          This is just one student. 10 more are doing more or less the same thing

Brainstorm Ideas:


  1. Laptop computer app that sends you a reminder when a class starts.
  2. Phone app with quick notes; supports mathematical notation
  3. Phone-to-Phone/Laptop video streaming app (watch lecture without being there)
  4. Laptop quiz app that uses automatically-inserted note documents
  5. Local multiplayer phone app – enter as many words in the following category as possible
  6. Checklist app – make sure you have everything ready before class – resets
  7. Laptop app that pulls up a random problem from entered list of problem sets
  8. Phone app to automatically lower the volume on your headphones at a set time
  9. Web/mobile app – daily list of events on campus
  10. Mobile app – order coffee from Frist on the go to have it ready for your next class
  11. Phone app – calendar schedule/daily event planner linked with contact info
  12. Phone app – 10:00 min countdown – write as many things about next class as possible
  13. Web app – “Course Memes” – make memetic mutations specific to your course!
  14. Phone app – tell jokes over local wi-fi.
  15. Phone app that gives you a quick summary of events from all registered social media.


 Chosen Ideas:


1. I decided on the mobile app to order coffee – called P-Café On the Go – since it seemed to be both relatively straightforward to prototype and also useful to a large number of people – anybody who drinks coffee.

2. I decided on the “Course Memes” app because I thought it was a genuinely fun and funny idea, which people would want to take part in voluntarily.

Prototype Photos:



4 of the 8 slides from the P-Cafe Prototype. On the upper left is the opening screen, which leads directly to the upper right – choose a location. Also visible are the exit screen (lower left) and the selection of pastries (lower right).


On the flip side are the rest of the P-Cafe screens. After choosing a location, the user chooses a category of items (upper left) and then a specific item from a category (upper right). This leads into a loop where the user can select another item (lower right) or enter a netid to place the order (lower left).


The Course Memes website prototype. The top page is the first screen – log in with netid and course number. This screen takes you to the overview – where you can view other people’s memes or make your own. Underneath that is the Meme Creation page – with buttons for text and image upload, as well as a preview image.



The other option is to view memes instead of making them, and this takes the user to a page with thumbnails of memes. Upon clicking on one, it brings the user to a page with a larger image, where it can be rated or commented.

Prototypes in Action:



After viewing a Course meme image, a user (my roommate) decides to make an image of his own.



When the user uploads his image, a preview with the text overlayed fills the square.



A user decides to add a croissant to her order after choosing to order tea.



A user notices that there’s no bar to enter his password after his netid.


–          One brilliant user quickly pointed out that it would be a good idea to require a password as well as a net id before P-Café could be ordered.

–          Another suggested sending email confirmations of orders to users, which I definitely think is a natural expansion of the system.

–          Also necessary was a “Back” button for the inner selection menus of the P-Café app, in case the user changed his/her mind – and perhaps even a “Start Over” button if the user messed up.

–          During the Course Meme prototype, one user suggested an anonymous mode for creating memes as well as the normal login method.

Assignment 2 — Jae Young Lee


I observed a bunch of random people and purposely did not get their names or tell them I was observing them.

2:20 to 2:30, McCosh 50, before ECO 100 lecture on Thursday, 2/21 (about 300-400 students)

  • The professor, Harvey Rosen, was there before 2:20, and he spent his 10+ minutes drawing graphs and figures that he would need for lecture on the blackboard, as well as setting up his PowerPoint slides. 
  • A large number of students (I would approximate about 200) were doing nothing other than chatting with friends or sitting in silence.
  • Lots of students would walk into the giant lecture hall and spend some time just looking for their friends or walking around to find someone they knew. This caused a decent amount of traffic in such a large class.
  • One student was coding on his laptop during the 10 minutes.
  • One student mentioned: “I wish I could be doing my math homework right now, but my textbook is back in my room.”
  • Lots of students pulled out their phone to catch up on texts, emails, and Facebook.
  • A surprisingly small amount of people (I could only count about 20 on the main floor of McCosh 50) pulled out their laptops. I would guess that laptops are not allowed during lecture, or at least not ideal for taking notes because of the large quantities of graphs in that class.
  • I left immediately when the lecture started.

1:22 to 1:30, Woolworth 105, before MUS 103 precept on Tuesday, 2/26 (about 15 students)

  • The preceptor had a class in the same room beforehand, so there were some students who stayed behind to ask questions, which took up about 5 minutes of the preceptor’s time. 
  • The preceptor spent his remaining time writing a few things on the blackboard that he would need later on in class.
  • One student walked in, thinking he was in the right precept. He looked around and quickly realized he was an hour early for his actual precept, and he scurried out, looking slightly embarrassed.
  • The preceptor started taking attendance at 1:31. He does it the old-fashioned style by just calling out names (since there are only about 15 people). However, there were 4 students that walked in while he was taking attendance, so whenever one of them walked in, he had to check if he had marked them as absent and then fix it if he had. It seemed highly inefficient.
  • A good amount of students pulled out their phone during the waiting time.

2:54 to 3:00 in CS 104, before HCI lecture on Tuesday, 2/26 (about 60 students)

  • Dr. Vertesi (guest lecturer) spent pretty much all of those 6 minutes fiddling with the projector, the lights, and other technology in the room. A student helped her and seemed to get it working, and the lecture didn’t start until 3:03 because of technical difficulties. 
  • A good amount of students were eating/drinking things. I observed a lot of coffee/tea, a banana, a churro, and a granola bar.
  • The auditorium is terrible for seating: people seem to naturally like sitting towards the edges of each row, which makes it really difficult for people to get to open seats because of how narrow the rows are. I observed about a half-dozen students even climbing over seats just so they wouldn’t have to squeeze through a bunch of people. This problem is made worse by the fact that students want to sit next to their friends.


I collaborated with Gabriel Chen.

  1. Hand warmer mats on desks, activated when they sense force.
  2. Attendance (done quickly and automatically, perhaps by proxing in) at entrance of lecture hall/precepts for classes that take attendance.
  3. Attendance (done quickly and automatically, perhaps by proxing out) at exit of lecture hall/precepts to discourage people from leaving early.
  4. An app that automates taking attendance by using GPS: you “check-in” at the beginning of class and “check-out” at the end of class so that the professor knows that you were both on-time and stayed for the entire lecture.
  5. Sensor on every seat that connects to an app that tells you where your friends are and whether the seats are occupied.
  6. An app that has a general map of the classroom that you can use to “reserve” seats for friends; this is useful because it can be awkward telling other students that seats are “taken” when they aren’t actually “taken”.
  7. An app that shows you the outlet locations in lecture halls and whether they’re currently being used or not.
  8. An app that lets bikers press the crosswalk button automatically (so that they don’t have to get off the bike) by using proximity detection techniques.
  9. An app that electrocutes you (really gently…) when you start dozing off in lecture or even before the lecture starts: detects “nodding off” by using an accelerometer on your head.
  10. A live chat with OIT that is accessible on all computers built into lecture halls (for example, in CS 104, both Professor Fiebrink and Dr. Vertesi have had issues with the technology in that room even though they are obviously very capable with technology).
  11. An app that releases Febreze or some other subtle odor cancelling substance when it detects that you are farting or burping in a lecture hall.
  12. A device or system that lets professors see what they’re writing on the board from the back of the room perspective, so they can determine how large to write on a blackboard.
  13. A portable device that can project things clearly onto a blackboard: some professors spend the 10 minutes before class writing material or drawing graphs that they will use later on during the lecture, and they need to use the blackboard because they have lecture slides to show on the projector screen.
  14. A device built into the top of a blackboard that releases a torrent of water so that professors can erase the board from a previous class with a gesture or touch of a button; there is also a drain at the bottom, and a dryer for the board.
  15. A system that allows for delivery from restaurants directly to your lecture hall so that they’ll be there with your food by the time you get there.
  16. A device that automatically scrolls your phone if your eyes are at the top or bottom of the screen; students are often carrying lots of things and don’t have a free hand to actually use their phone.
  17. Phone keyboards that sense where your hand is positioned so that when you want to type with one hand, the keyboard is condensed onto one side of the screen; this is another problem for students who are carrying a lot of things to class.

Ideas chosen for prototyping:

  1. An app that automates taking attendance by using GPS: you “check-in” at the beginning of class and “check-out” at the end of class so that the professor knows that you were both on-time and stayed for the entire lecture. For classes that take attendance, I have never seen a good system for doing so. Some classes pass around a sheet, which often takes a really long time and inevitably skips over some people because students decide to pass the sheet in whatever direction is most convenient for them. Some students also come just to sign-in, and then leave. This app would automate the attendance process and also help discourage students from leaving lecture.
    A typical iPhone screen. Attendance Made Easy is the name of my app.GosmsPhoto1362193410743
    Users need to sign in with their Princeton NetID and password to verify their identity. They can stay signed in to make it easier to use day-to-day.GosmsPhoto1362192108740
    The home screen for the app itself. There is easy-access to turn GPS services on/off since GPS is required for the app to work properly. There are three main buttons for signing in, signing out, and leaving a comment for the professor.GosmsPhoto1362193507637
    The sign-in screen. Based on GPS, it tells you what building you’re located in so that you know you’re signing into the right class. There’s an option to recalibrate if the GPS reading is wrong.

    The sign-out screen. Based on GPS, it tells you what building you’re located in so that you know you’re signing out of the right class. There’s an option to recalibrate if the GPS reading is wrong.

    The comment screen. It tells you what class you’re in and the professor that will be receiving your comment. Basically, I envisioned using this option for any extenuating circumstances if a student was late or needed to leave early but had a legitimate excuse.

    The waiting screen if you click recalibrate. Basically the GPS would just refresh your location.

    The screen you see after successfully signing in. There’s just a single button to exit the app.

    The screen you see after successfully signing out. There’s just a single button to exit the app.

  2. Phone keyboards that sense where your hand is positioned so that when you want to type with one hand, the keyboard is condensed onto one side of the screen; this is another problem for students who are carrying a lot of things to class.This seems like a feature on phones that should already be implemented. As phones have been getting bigger and bigger, it’s become increasingly harder to type with just one hand (especially for people like myself with small hands).GosmsPhoto1362192192024
    This is what the normal phone keyboard looks like when it senses two hands using the phone (the default keyboard, no different from a phone in its normal state).GosmsPhoto1362192162797
    When it senses that you take your left hand off, the keyboard becomes condensed on the right side so that all keys are easy to reach with just your right hand. For users who have big hands and have no need for this feature, they can press a button to revert back to the default keyboard.
    When it senses that you take your right hand off, the keyboard becomes condensed on the left side so that all keys are easy to reach with just your left hand. For users who have big hands and have no need for this feature, they can press a button to revert back to the default keyboard.

User Testing:

Osman Khwaja, a junior in the COS department, tested the attendance app.

  • He said there was too much text. For the sign-in and sign-out screens, he didn’t want to bother reading all of that. Just have a couple words that list the location, time, etc.
  • He never used the comment button. He didn’t really know what it was for, and wasn’t really sure it was necessary even when I explained what I envisioned it being used for (a student with an excuse for being late or leaving early).
  • He said that the app would be useful overall and make things easier.

Ross Smith, a sophomore in the ECO department, tested the attendance app.

  • He said he would never use the comment button because there are already easy ways to interact and communicate with professors. Afterwards, I told him I envisioned it being used for students who had an excuse for being late or leaving early, and he said that made more sense. He suggested just renaming it to an “Excuse” button.
  • He said it’s obviously not a viable system unless everybody has a smartphone.
  • He didn’t really understand how it worked when he was first going through the home screen and sign-in screen. When I explained that it knew what classroom you were in through GPS, he immediately understood the entire app a lot better.
  • Overall, he thought it would be a very streamlined way for professors to take attendance and make sure that students stay for the entire class.

Stephen Wang, a junior in the ORF department, tested the attendance app.

  • He actually knew what the comment button was for. He said he would use it to explain to the professor why he was late. He said it would obviously not help for telling the professor why you’re absent since you can only use it if you’re in the right classroom.
  • He also mentioned that it requires all students to have a smartphone.
  • He said that it would motivate him to go to class more often, which is a great side effect.
  • He said it was easy-to-use and a really good idea.


  • Each button needs to have a clear function and a simple yet descriptive name. I created the comment button thinking students would want to leave comments to professors if they had any relevant issues with their attendance that day. However, when users saw the word “comment,” many of them just assumed it meant general feedback for the professor about the course, and they were confused about the functionality or just didn’t bother using it. I should rename the button to say, “Leave the professor an excuse.”
  • People are lazy. They don’t want to read a lot of text. The app should be as streamlined as possible since it’s something that students would potentially use multiple times a day.
  • It’s unrealistic to implement this for actual attendance since it requires all students to have a smartphone. I kind of realized this from the beginning, but still wanted to prototype it and get feedback.
  • There’s potential. My testers all said it would be useful, and that there’s really no good way for professors to take attendance right now without being inefficient or annoying in some way.

Assignment 2

How I conducted my Observations

On Tuesday February 19, I watched another student in HCI, sitting behind them, as they came into the lecture hall until class started.  My second observation was during a COS 448 class in the COS 104 classroom on Wednesday February 20 . This time I watched a student sitting behind me as they came into class and then spoke to a student behind them.

The third observation is actually a set of many. I took notes in Frist Gallery and outside Sherrard Hall on Wednesday February 20(typing on my phone to look like I was texting – I didn’t want to weird people out and change their behavior) and took notes on people as they went to class. Because most of the time in between class is spent walking to and from class, I thought this would be a useful place to observe. Most people were in a rush, so I was not able to stop and talk to them, but could observe trends in the crowd.

Lastly, I spoke to a student on Wednesday February 20 who had been late to a 10am COS 461 class earlier in the day, and took notes on the interview, as well as some notes on their entrance into the class

Observation Notes

Obs 1

  • getting a seat – everyone is on the edge and want a seat in the middle
  • check email – as a side note, many other people in the room are checking their email as well
  • looking over slides for this class
  • needs to move in repeatedly for other students coming in later
  • facebook
  • seems to be clicking through tabs as thinks of them, no real agenda


  • talking to another student
  • turned around in seat
  • kind of awkwardly looking at the other student
  • the person they are talking to is leaning over their computer

Obs 3

-this last category is a large collection of small observations from many people.

  • Frist
  • diagonally on stairs
  • up one side of the stairs over at the gap in between the rails and up the other side
  • talking to friends
  • multiple steps at a time
  • walking quickly
  • heavy bags
  • average pace of passerby increases with the proximity of the next class time
  • so does the number of people in the area
    • creates traffic
    • dodging around people
    • stuck behind slower walkers
    • almost a collision!
      • one person walking with food from gallery, another with a backpack about to run up stairs
      • the one walking with food was distracted looking for a table
      • the one with backpack was only looking at the top of the stairs – their destination
  • In front of Sherrard
    • down Prospect Street
    • some come from over grass in front of Robertson
    • some walk behind Sherrard
    • in front of woody wu
    • sprinting
    • hold their head down to keep the wind out
    • fast walk
      • hand pumping at sides
      • head straight forward toward destination
      • legs reaching out as far as possible
      • swinging backpack – problem for moving quickly?
      • bulky jackets, tight jeans, bad shoes – “
      • walk across grass
      • quick nod to friends
        • what if they think it is rude – way to say hey later?
        • fighting the wind
        • bikes and people running close together – almost accident

Late student

  • Observations:
    • Rushes in, but tries not to make noise
    • looks for a free  iClicker (used for answering questions during lecture)
    • takes a middle row seat, walking past two people who have to get up and lift their desks
    • takes off all their jacket and scarf
    • opens laptop
    • opens notes
    • searches online for the slides and pulls them up
  • are you often late?
    • yes
  • why do you think this happens?
    • the last professor runs late
    • long distance to travel
    • run into a friend in between (I talk a lot)
    • getting up late
    • take too long at lunch
  • what made you late today?
    • got up late
  • what made you late at the last class you were late to?
    • the last professor had run overtime
  • what could improve your time in between classes?
    • printing reading, hws
    • sometimes i have to print out reading, slides, lectures
    • context of lecture
    • having notifications of what the class topic will be about  – based off of syllabus
    • more time
    • guest lecture – look him up

General Insights from Observations

When I was watching people in between class, I noticed overall that everyone seemed to have their own route, even if they were going to the same place. This makes sense for those taking different modes of transportation – bikes or skateboards. But it doesn’t make sense that there should be so many ways to get to one place. There was also a lot of efficiency lost with people and bikers swerving in and out trying to avoid each other or figure out how to not run into each other at junctions in the sidewalk.  Even indoors people ran into these problems, like in Frist where two students actually almost ran into each other.

Much of the problems of getting to and from class seemed to do with hurried people trying to navigate the physical world around them– from bikes, to stairs, to other people, to seating.

Once they were sitting down, students seemed to do mostly one or more of the following: settle in, check email/facebook/course sites, talk to their neighbor. The specific people I chose to observe mostly did these things, and I noticed that many around them seemed to be as well. It is hard to tell whether these activities are helping with productivity or relaxing between class or whether they are simply filling the time in which they would otherwise be bored.

I boiled my observations down to a set of problems that I thought would be interesting to address and focused my brainstorm around them.


– organized by problems addressed

Avoiding Collisions

  • A device that beeps when you are too close to a person/object
  • Control traffic with lanes and lights installed in the sidewalk
  • Each person gets a signal in headphones telling them how to avoid congestion
  • Chairs that can move themselves in Frist so that there is a better arrangement for the flow of traffic
  • Sky-lifts for students going to class
  • Beeping sound from bike that tells you you’re going to run into something.

Late to class

  • Sensor to tell you how much faster you need to quicken your pace to get to class on time
  • Google glass app that tells you how to get to class efficiently
  • Extra loud/ annoying alarm clock to wake up in time for class
  • Variable time alarm clock to keep you guessing about what time it actually is
  • Google glass app that shows you slides and summaries of readings for today’s lecture
  • Alarm shoes that make noise and start walking away until you have put your feet inside them.

Boredom While Waiting

  • Smart desks in every classroom preloaded with games and quizzes on the material
  • Random dance party or flashmob event in between classes, coordinated by a computer


  • Smart seating that tells the best places for many students to sit

Looking through Email

  • A 3D filesystem for email.



1. Lecture Prep App

Why : I chose to do prototype an app that summarizes the class you are walking to with slides and summaries of readings for the day because it is a new way to prep for class in only a few minutes, a useful activity as you are running late to class and will probably not get a chance to orient yourself when you sit down.

Description :

This app will be displayed on google glass for mobility, combined with a source for taking video and processing the images of the user’s hands make simple interactions with the space around them, including swipes, grabs, and reaching to certain locations.

The app itself gives the user the option of viewing the syllabus, slides, readings and summaries drawn from Blackboard, Sparknotes, and course sites, all while walking to class.

The app also alerts the user to how much time is left until class begins. The UI is meant to be used easily with simple swipe (to move slides) and grab (to select) gestures.

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2. Efficient Class Navigation

Why : I chose to make prototype for a Google glass app that efficiently get you to class(a Google glass app again, because of the superiority of the interface for mobility)because it seemed to be the biggest problem with getting to class on time –how to do it efficiently—and there is no existing definitive answer for it.


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The app has a very minimal UI in order to give the user maximal visibility of where they are going.

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Footsteps on the ground show the user exactly where to step (whether it is cutting across a lawn or going at an angle on the stairs).

The footsteps adjust for both the user’s pace and the minimal pace for the user to arrive at their destination on time.

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If the user is going too slow, the app alerts them and the footsteps adjust to help the user quicken their pace appropriately.


User Testing – Lecture Prep App

User 1

What they did while using app

  • just looked at the screen and wondered what it was for — > I need a welcome screen
  • swipe for ppt slides not intuitive, down makes more sense
  • “swipe to remove text” not clear what to do
  • no way to get text back

User comments/suggestions

  • There’s no annotation!
    • If I’m reading I want to be taking notes, highlighting
    • I would like it linked to my notes
    • It would be useful for quick review before precept etc
    • Syllabus would be helpful – I would use that feature
      • link calendar- put in assignments, meetings –> from syllabus
      • Pop out words while the app is reading them out loud
      • Use Wikipedia instead of Sparknotes
      • Could go to syllabus, “grab” a word and wiki it

2013-03-01 23.55.11

User 1 tries to change slides by swiping down instead of the intended swipe to the left.


User 2

What they did while using the app

  • tried to  move slides with one finger right to left
  • did not use autoplay feature on slides (probably did not notice it)
  • did not reach as far as expected to “grab” their selection
  • clicked through tabs in order then went back to home
  • surprised/confused that he had to “grab” to select

User comments/suggestions

  • full readings are not necessary
  • Syllabus is unnecessary – I only need to know the section for today
  • I would like the first thing I see to be the paragraph from the syllabus that is related to today – not just the topic
  • I would expect grab to make the object go away, not to select it
  • grab is very vague, maybe pinch instead

2013-03-01 23.53.00

User 2 is confused by the “grab” to select gesture.

2013-03-01 23.53.30

User 2 tries to change swipe slides with one finger instead of the intended whole hand.


User 3

What they did while using the app

  • also tried to move the slides down
  • looked for a scroll bar with the text
  • thought the button to turn the speaking feature off would just mute it, wanted a way to pause it -> I should differentiate between the two

User comments/suggestions

  • I mostly look at my calendar on the way to class, you should integrate that
  • I wouldn’t use the full readings, they wouldn’t fit in the 10 minutes in between class
  • I would be afraid of bumping into things, can you make it more transparent
  • maybe make it more transparent as I get closer to running into an object


Insights From Feedback

The user feedback was extremely helpful. If I were to go forward with this design I would first look at the interactions that I have created for the user. It was not clear to them exactly how to use the app.  This may be partly because it is a new form of display but also because there are many conventions for the tasks the user may try to accomplish (such as flipping through slides). There is not any standard way to do these actions, which are usually done on  a desktop or mobile, in a 3D space, and what I thought was intuitive – sliding the hand from left to right to change slides—was not for one user who thought that they should be pushed down. (It is important to note that the exact mechanism for taking user input from gestures is not determined yet, as this would likely affect the final gestures available for interaction.)

I would also spend more time testing the way that users actually use the features. It is possible, as several of them suggested that showing any text would only distract from walking. Or that certain features would be useless, such as full readings, and others would be helpful, such as the ability to search online about a given topic.

I liked the “grab and search” idea that one user mentioned. I might want to convert the project into a way to search easily using only hand gestures and a head mounted display and camera. For example, I would like to test a system that allows users to reach out to “grab” a word from given text and pull it in a certain direction indicating that they would like to search for the word on wikipedia or google it. This would make common internet searches very simple in an interface without any clear easy way to type words explicitly. This could even involve being able process text in front of them in the physical world and allowing a user to search for a word in the text recognized. This could allow users an easy way to interact with text around them without having to use inconvenient mobile UIs for internet searches.



Horia Radoi – Assignment A2


 Most observations were done in my day to day activities, by identifying issues I confronted myself with while at Princeton. Some came up during discussion with my friends in Colonial Club, and others during my daily activities or my past experiences.

I have observed both people rushing to class, both in golf carts (injured athletes or students) and on bikes (who had to slalom between studeents wearing headphones or just not paying attention to their surroundings).

In my PHI 203 lecture, I see a lot of people come into class, and just spending the full 10 minutes on Reddit or on Facebook. I overheard some people discussing the readings, but in the context of one of the students not having read the materials for class.

I remember some heated discussions in German class, in which people were debating how a word should sound like. I went into East Pyne and asked some students if they have such problems, and they said it is usually hard to say who is right because everybody is a beginner (Perhaps some professor input might help – similar to an audio version of Piazza).

My friend does not like squirrels and is completely terrified of them!

It is a pain to be in a new building (think engineer in McCosh or English major in the EQuad) and not know where the bathrooms are. Or worse, to know only about one bathroom and that to be full.



Some ideas were discussed with John O’Neill. Most of them came up during dinner discussions in Colonial (various members).

1. Autonomous Golf Carts – A self-driven golf cart that can pick you up from class and drop you off at your next one. This way the golf cart is no longer bound to one person, and more people can be serviced during a break time.
2. History of my seat – Since a lot of people use PFML, leave a trace of your thoughts as you enter the class and sit on your seat. Can be seat-specific or class-wide messages.
3. Class finder – for when you go in a new building for the first time and you don’t know where that class is supposed to be.
4. Classroom anonymous chat – Class-wide anonymous chat to enable interaction between classmates (have them open up rather than isolate themselves in facebook or reddit)
5. Assassins game – Game that computes all paths to class and gives you a target you might encounter. Your goal is to assasinate that target on your way to class (by taking a picture of them – with consent of course!)
6. Group doodle – a bit of collaborative and artistic fun (displayed on the projector). to be used ONLY before class.
7. Calorie counter for walks – provide basic information about your height and weight, plus your schedule, and if time allows it, this app suggests a route that will increase your walking time while not making you late (to gain that extra bit of exercise)
8. Map of closest restrooms, step by step directions and estimated waiting time. Could include some information about “quality of air” as well.
9. iDidNotReadThatTextCanYouSumItUpForMe (iDNR) – discuss and sum-up readings before class – anonymous and open to anyone. Collaborative reading notes.
10. What happened in the last hour? Twitter application that looks up the latest tweets of your friends and major information sources (CNN, BBC, Princeton, TigerAthletics etc.) that provides you a sum-up of the news that happened in the last hour – this way you will not miss anything important happening while you are in class.
11. Sounds Like This – Text questions and audio answers, with a voting system to choose the best/closest spelling of a word or phrase.
12. Squirrel tracker – for people who just want to avoid these critters (or admire themon your way to class). Help a young John Nash determine their day-to-day routines, so he can develop a Theory of Games (or did that already happen?)
13. Walk With Me – an app that computes a path that you and your friends can take together to maximize the time spent together (big problem in groups of friends who don’t live in the same res college)
14. Vote on playlist – choose song to be played on speakers next. People suggest youtube clips (songs), and the class votes on them. Whichever gains the most votes in splayed next. The professor can veto at any time, and the scoreboard resets at the beginning of every class.
15. Massive TRON game on the projector – lightcycles controlled by smartphone or laptop.
16. Weighted bike map – suggests a route that avoids choke points or heavily populated areas.


1. Golf Cart
Golf carts are most of the time parked, waiting for the person they were issued to or for their friend to use. Sometimes, the users may forget to charge the golf carts, or might be reckless with them. This prototype would be able to charge itself in designated areas, accommodate and serve more people and selectively distribute the fleet to cover the whole campus, while being aware of students and bikes on campus. Useful for increased efficiency and safety of students.

This process is necessary because of the current limitations in the number of people it can service and the restrictions of who can operate a medical golf cart (it is forbidden for people to use the golf cart if their right leg is broken, or they have back problems, or hand problems). Also, most of the time the golf carts are parked, or are sometimes operated in hazardous or irresponsible ways by friends of the injured “owners”.

Prototype available at:

2. Calorie counter
We are all busy students, and sometimes we can’t find the time to exercise. Since walking is one of the healthiest and most natural means of exercise, this app suggests a route that will maximize your walking time in order to keep you fit and healthy.

Prototype available at:



1. Golf Cart service:

The user logs in with his Princeton ID. After the authentication, his identity is checked against a list of people who are cleared by the health center to use the application, and his position is identified (either GPS or LAN access point).

One connection has been made, the user will be notified of the availability of golf carts, their proximity and time until available again. He is then presented with a number of default choices (Next Class, McCosh – in case complications have arised, Athletic Training facilities, back to room or eating club) or prompted to enter his own location.

After he has made his choice, the user is provided updated information about the Golf Cart locations and eta until its arrival. He is also recommended to wait in a designated waiting area, and be prepared to board the vehicle as fast as he can. He will also be notified of the additional stops of the Golf Cart and identity of the future passengers.

Upon the arrival of the Golf Cart, the user has to scan his proxmity card once he is boarded in order to confirm his departure.

The Golf carts will continue to roam around campus, using short range sensors (stereo vision image processing and radars incorporated) to navigate through students. It will use a GPS service to position itself on campus and filter its position using vision processing to better identify its location. On an average run, the golf cart can fit two people, with the possibility of servicing more people the shorter and more efficient the runs are. After every session, the golf carts will return to a base station, where they will charge and wait for the next instructions.


2. Calorie counter

Simple user-interaction program that identifies your current location and accesses information about your future classes. It then recommends a fastest route to your next class, with an eta based on your average computed speed, and suggests alternate routes that would fit in the remaining time until your class begins, based on your average computed speed.

Once you have chosen your route, it will run in the background (maybe integrate with a music player), and notify you if you are running behind or are ahead of your schedule. It will provide the option of tracking you through GPS or provide you a status bar of where you are supposed to be right now on your chosen route.


User testing:

Both products are designated for minimalistic use on the Client-side, with most of the processing being done by the server side.

1. My “injured” friend Kevin trying out the Golf cart service:



During the prototyping process, a couple issues have been raised about the Golf cart service:

1. How safe will ti be for pedestrians, and what will one do if the golf cart “misbehaves”

2. Can the passengers still drive the cart? Why/Why not?

3. How will the students be made aware of the golf carts?

4. Will there be different “grades” of severity – ie. broken leg having priority over broken arm?

5. Can I introduce any address? What if I want to pick up my friend in Bloomberg and head together to the Street?

To address them, I have asked some of my friends, as well as people in some of my classes what they would think. These are the conclusions:

1. The golf cart will be equipped with an emergency stop button (or several), that will be easily reachable and will cause the golf cart to fully stop. An authorized programmer/public safety officer can deal with the problem.

2. no. While it is fun to drive such a golf cart through campus, its manual control could interfere with the server program. Besides, the vehicle will be autonomous anyway. Steering controls will not be removed from the golf cart in order for authorized mechanics to be able to manually pilot them, in case of a malfunciton.

3. Just as the current golf carts, they will be equipped with yellow warning lights and loud horns. While this could get the autonomous golf carts confused with normal ones, a paint change, or specific stickers could be mounted on the car. Of course, in addition to the sensors and cameras present on the car.

4. In the future there might be a distinction between different grades of severity. Of course people with locomotory disfunctions should have priority over people who can still walk.

5. The golf carts will have their hours of operation only during school hours. In addition to that, golf carts are restricted to a certain path on campus, even though some of the drivers choose to ignore the specified routes. This being said, at night, alternative means of transportation will be provided for injured athletes who wish to go party, or to return from a party.

Assignment 2: Sound My Notes


1. (HCI) Wednesday 2/20 2:50 pm before class started:

The majority of students were checking their email on their laptops. Fewer students were on Facebook and a surprising handful of students were browsing through Youtube videos.  The class is relatively full and there are few empty seats dispersed in the seating configuration. There are many small clusters of students (friends I’m presuming) sitting close to each other and chatting together.

2. (COS340) Monday 2/25 2:50 pm before class started:

The nature of work before lecture differs from HCI. In this class, a majority of students are going over notes, rereading assigned readings, or working on part of the problem set. Still, there are students on their laptops checking email. I notice a couple of students listening to their iPhones. Regardless, the new theme here is that students are reviewing material before lecture. After lecture ends, students wait around in line to speak with the professor.

3. (COS333) 10:50 am before lecture:

The most striking observation made was the professor’s effort in remember every students’ face and name. He goes back and forth between referring to his printed sheets of enrolled students’ prox IDs and greeting students through the door by name if he recognizes them. Right before lecture starts, he walks throughout the lecture hall taking pictures of students.

4. (REL) 1:20 pm before precept starts:
Students in the precept are quiet and either going over the assigned readings or reviewing each student’s discussion post on Blackboard.

5. (SOC) 9:50 am before lecture starts:

It is relatively early. While most students are seated already, there is a stream of students rushing into class well pass 10 am. This goes on until 10:10 am. Before lecture starts, most students are reviewing readings for today’s lecture.  Again, other students are checking email or Facebook. Because it’s still early, several students are drinking (coffee or tea) or eating a small fruit.

General Observations

  • Laptops and phones for checking email and Facebook
  • Many students go over notes and readings, especially for humanities or theory classes
  • Clusters of students chat together

Brainstorm Ideas:

1. Review compressed notes in a flashcard app before lecture

2. Alarm app that tells a student when to leave for class on time

3. Class Q&A app for asking questions before lecture and answering them after lecture

4. Reminder app that tells busy students when and where is their next class or event

5. Classwide quiz game to review previous lecture major points

6. Platform for sharing notes organized and contributed by students so they can have quick access to a complete synopsis of class material

7. Listen to transcription of notes while commuting to class to make walking more productive

8. Rating application students use after class to rate the quality of the lecture and material

9. Guest Speaker profile app that provides and quizzes you on a guest speaker’s background and biography

10. Related Topics app that shows relevant and interesting news related to a specific class

11. Curate top news around Princeton and give updates on campus events

12. An application that gives a quick summary of other students’ discussion posts in humanities precepts

13. Automator App that automates the routine of web-surfing and email checking so you don’t have to manually redo the same actions

14. Application to help teachers remember students’ names and faces

15. Survey for teachers to gather what topics students are interested in

Top Two Favorite Ideas

I chose idea # 7 because I felt many students, who seek to make their commute between classes more productive, would benefit in optimizing their time between reviewing notes with this app as they are walking or biking to class (it is also an app that I will personally use).

2. I chose to prototype idea # 6 because I notice many students (including myself) always scrambling to get to their next class on time wish they had an automatic alert telling them when to leave for class!

Paper Prototypes

Idea # 7: “Sound My Notes” (Listening to notes while commuting)

Prototype Photos

The main screen shows the schedule of events in chronological order

The main screen shows the schedule of events in chronological order

Press the add button on the top right and a new event slot will appear and send you to the "New Event" screen

Press the add button on the top right and a new event slot will appear and send you to the “New Event” screen

Enter information for new events. Notice you can set a 'tardiness' level, which means how close do you want to cut it.

Enter information for new events. Notice you can set a ‘tardiness’ level, which means how close do you want to cut it.

See the information for the clicked event. Users can edit it as well.

See the information for the clicked event. Users can edit it as well.

When setting a new event time, users can choose to repeat the event on any day every week.

When setting a new event time, users can choose to repeat the event on any day every week.

Users can search or view the location of a specific event.

Users can search or view the location of a specific event.

ALERT! Leave now or else you'll be late!

ALERT! Leave now or else you’ll be late!

User Test Photos

2013-03-01 19.08.25 2013-03-01 19.08.18 photo 1 photo 3


Margaret Wang (East Asian Studies ’14)

My first test trial with Margaret revealed certain features of the prototype that could be improved. After login/registration stage (a relatively straightforward process), once she arrived at the main screen she found the CREATE option very ambiguous. She was not sure if CREATE was a functionality which allowed her to add a new note or if it was for recording audio. She also could not tell exactly how the EDIT option in the menu should function. Lastly, when she did want to add a new note to the current playlist, there was no clear indication where the note was placed.
Picking and playing a note from a given class lecture or a note that was most recently played was intuitive. She understood how to pick the desired note and play it.

Natalie Sanchez (Woodrow Wilson ’14)

For Natalie, she was confused between UPLOAD and CREATE. According to her, she would not really want a CREATE functionality because she would not frequently write long notes on a phone. Instead, all her writing takes place on her laptop. Furthermore, she would like visual notifications – like a status bar – when UPLOADING a file. Other than that, she appreciated how few choices there were and found the app useful.

Luke Cheng (ORFE ’14)

Luke volunteered for the last user test. He found the app convenient but offered lots of critiques. First, UPLOAD is not useful. Most likely, students would work on their personal computers anyway. The app is better off syncing those files on the phone, so UPLOAD is a rather weak feature. Also, he experienced MENU confusion. After clicking through several layers of buttons, he sometimes found that BACK and MENU brought him back to the same page. Those options were overloaded with similar functionality.
Luke actually wanted an ADD or NEW note function. However, he would like it if there were fewer choices in the menu screen. Instead of having the original configuration from my prototype, he would rather have a LISTEN and ADD/NEW option. Finally, a lot of the interactions with my prototype did not take advantage of touch gestures like swiping. I could rely on gestures instead of explicit control buttons on the app.


In the next few iterations, my current prototype could be further simplified and refined. A common theme among the test users is that the UPLOAD feature is not useful. Students generally work on their computers or laptops, so it would be sufficient for the app to sync note files from their primary computer to the phone.

Users will probably not write long notes on their phones. The main function of the app is to take existing notes and listen to their audio on the go. There is probably no desire to write pages of notes on this app. However, users still have a need to jot and record small notes. The app could accomodate for that by having a audio-recording functionality.

Naming and labeling each option matters. I intended for CREATE to be an option allowing a user to write a new note and add it to the current playlist for listening. However, that name was ambiguous. Labeling should be clearer and more explicit, like ADD or NEW instead of CREATE. This reduces confusion for the users and makes it obvious what they intend to do.

However, designing good interaction needs to a balance between over-explicitness and intuition. Instead of representing every possible action with a button (as I did in my prototype), it is a cleaner approach to take advantage of touch and intuitive gestures such as swiping or pressing. Such actions leads to a more flexible app while reducing clutter. Taking all this into considering, interacting with the app will be more intuitive and cause less confusion than my current prototype.








A2 – eugene L


Person 1.
Student –  Female, outside COS 326 Lecture.
Status – Next class in the same building
Activity – Sitting. Doing work on paper, chat with friends about what they are doing.
Time taken – 14 minutes of waiting.

Person 2.
Student – Male, outside COS 326 Lecture.
Status – same as above
Activity – Sitting. Using their phone (texting), while eating lunch. Pulls out laptop for a bit to check something. Once in the lecture hall, before class starts, he checks several websites on his laptop, particularly his calendar and email.
Time taken – 10 minutes of waiting

Insights: When they are sitting, people are able to do things that involves both their hands and their full visual attention. They have to check every once in a while to see if they can enter their lecture hall. Once in the lecture hall, they are much more likely to take out their laptop.

Person 3.
Teacher – Male. Medium sized classroom.
Status – arrives 10 minutes early to class
Activity – spends about 5 minutes getting everything set up. Spends the next 5 minutes looking around.
When interviewed: said he was preparing what to say

Insights: teachers spend a substantial part of their 10 minutes physically setting their classes up.

Person 4.
Student. Male. On bicycle
Status – comes from somewhere south campus somewhat hurriedly. Arriving just on time.
Activity – just biking

Person 5
Student. Male. Walking
Status – comes from somewhere west campus. Well before class begins. Walks pretty slowly, taking their time.
Activity – using their cellphone sometimes. Otherwise just walking.

Insights. When alone, people spend a lot of time simply focused on transportation. Little usage of devices, especially on vehicles

Person 6+7. Male and Female. Walking together to a class
Status – somewhere north campus going to south campus
Activity – Talking about their project they are working on. Complaints about their workload, other typical Princeton-esque blather.

Insights. When with others, people spend the majority of their time talking. Very little usage of devices.

Overall insights: There are many kinds of usages of these 10 minutes, depending on the following factors:

  • Distance needed to travel – the longer it is, the more time is spent in transit. While in transit, people are less likely to perform useful activities (besides transportation)
  • Transportation method – vehicle users are much less likely to use their devices in transit. However, the time spent in transit is significantly less, meaning they have more time to sit and use their less mobile devices.
  • Number of people in your group – More people means less device use. Most of their attention is focused on the conversation
  • Amount of time before their event – less time means more attention spent on travel. No time for distractions


  1. Bicycle HUD display allows for use of devices using ‘motorcycle’ Handlebar controls
  2. See the current inventory of your bag, and be warned when you don’t have something you may need
  3. Interact with people leaving from/going to the same class through a network you automatically join once class ends, and leave once class begins
  4. Compares friends’ walking paths to see if you can meet up with them after a given class
  5. Review for class by quizzing you questions based on your notes; or through the network in 3, optional ungraded questions from the teacher that allow you to see how well you fare relative to others in the class and relative to expectations. You choose if you want to study for your previous or some future class.
  6. A device that allows you to close your eyes as you walk, guiding you with vibrations, leaving you with more energy when you arrive
  7. Quick on-the-go food carts along busy paths selling quick food/drink/supplies
  8. Public bike system
  9. Wireless energy allowing you to charge your devices as you walk
  10. Virtual classes – completely remove the 10 minutes between classes, because you don’t need to move.
  11. Better planned classes – use closer classrooms so the general populace of Princeton has less movement.
  12. A nap alarm that you don’t need to set that will wake you up in time for your next class in time, including travel time. If you’re still in bed, then including preparation time
  13. Partially access your computer as you walk by accessing the few files and websites you were most recently accessing on your computer – can read your text files to you: good for proofreading
  14. A feed of single things (emails, texts) that you handle one at a time to reduce your attentive strain
  15. Persistent UI (glasses/holographic screen) that you don’t have to hold, which switches mode contextually based on if your in a class, in transit, working, talking, etc
  16. Smart paper/files that knows which class its for and automatically uploads its contents onto your computer. (Paper = a physical data storage device that always displays its contents.) (related to 13)


  1. Combination of 2.13 and 2.16: Access your most recently used files and papers related to your class as you travel.
    Rationale: Your binder and your computer are two things you cannot access at all when you travel; this opens up that capability. 
  2. 2.2: See the inventory of your bag, and be warned
    Rationale: Particularly when you are rushed, you often will forget to include certain objects in your bag that you can’t afford to go back to get, like papers you have to submit.


This allows you to be able to access relevant files allows you to select the files you need, without being swamped. This is also related to ubiquitous computing, as it allows you to access information you created on a non-mobile device (including paper). You don’t even need to have your actual computer or papers with you – you can just bring the device, and it’ll have the things you need.


Here is the wearable device, which takes data from your computer and papers and gives them to whatever output device it is linked to – be it a HUD, a cellphone, or another computer.  In this case we chose a cellphone.


On the display, we can see documents organized by source. In each sublist, the documents are ordered by time accessed (the computer sublist) or by importance (the binder sublist). Importance is based primarily on which class is coming up.

Clicking on one will open an app capable of opening this file


Another important part of the technology is being able to easily sort which files are connected to which class. Therefore, there is an app that allows you to switch modes. When you are in a particular mode, all files you access and papers you print are tagged to that mode unless specified otherwise. However, papers and files can be pre-tagged to other modes; such as pre-tagged handouts you receive, and emails sent for a particular class.

This could be on the device itself, but in this case I chose to use a cellphone (as a physical device could not be as easily prototyped). This app allows you to create and set which mode you are in.


The technology to tag pieces of paper is obviously far in the future, but could involve some kind of printed tag through a printer.


Desired functionality:
Your object checking bag can tell you easy omissions like forgetting your wallet or cellphone or to bring an umbrella, but your bag would also checks your schedule. It could tell you things like – bring a lunch, because you don’t have time to eat today.


This shows the device with current vs future technology. Currently, object recognition is only guaranteed with RFID chips or some other tag indicator. In the future, objects will be recognized through some 3D sensor, or perhaps all objects will come with some form of tag defining the object.

The app has two lists, an ‘in’ and an ‘out’ list that tells you if something is in or out of his list (pictures in the feedback section to avoid redundancy).

The bag will also rate things of higher or lower importance, based on the context. For example, a laptop is of critical importance immediately before a COS class (usually). An umbrella is not of importance if it is not raining. it will list things in the ‘out’ list according to its importance.


The Bag

He was intrigued by the idea, noting the fact that he often forgot things as he left.
As he added a mouse into the bag, the mouse appeared in his ‘in’ list
(the list is long because he is ‘scrolling’ down.)
The user liked how the bag would audibly alert him to missing items of high priority when he left the room, such as umbrellas if it is currently raining. He did raise the concern of the subjectivity of ‘high priority”
The user adds a water bottle to his bag due to the reminder from the list. The item automatically disappeared from the ‘out’ bag and appeared in his ‘in’ bag list. (not pictured)
The user did not know how to remove an item from the list if he did not want to be reminded of it’s presence/absence. I told him to long press it and delete it. He also did not know how to switch between stuff in and stuff out of his bag, and I told him to swipe the screen to switch between the two modes.
He also seemed concerned that he could feel too safe, and thus be more likely to forget things the app cannot detect, such as printing out papers.


From the test, I realized that there should probably be a permanent ‘X’ button if you want to see the notification of a particular item or not. I also realize

Analysis of Device 1 raised the question of which files you need now, and which ones you don’t. Even if a computer asked you directly, you wouldn’t be able to answer that immediately. If a user uses the device and isn’t able to find the file they need, they will get frustrated and be discouraged to use the device.

In addition, people don’t always need things for ‘now’, but also can check things that are most urgent. This is partially covered by giving you access to files you most recently accessed on your other devices, but does not include everything

There is also the increased hassle of having to tag each file with a particular class name. This was partially addressed with the different ‘modes’ you are in, but even this is somewhat annoying.

In order for Device 2 to work fully as intended, would constantly pester you with irrelevant questions, like “did you forget your charger?” It could also make people put less useful items into their bag when they don’t really need to, thus weighing them down. On a more specific note, it could also prove counteractive to dieting if it reminds you to bring food, assuming you will skip a meal.

More importantly, this is not feasible in current day. Manually applying an RFID tag onto every object is counter to the device’s goal of ease of use.

The combination of these two technologies could prove useful, as ‘smart paper’ would allow your bag to determine if you put in necessary files into your bag. In conjunction with knowing which documents you were most recently working on would tell your bag if you printed something out or not.

Assignment 2 – Easy Menu by Green Choi

1. Observations
I made my observations in various locations on campus: Frist Campus Center, the Friend Center Engineering Library, and the McCosh 50 lecture hall. In Frist, I observed individuals who were waiting in the TV lounge outside of the C Store and not in transit to another location. In the Engineering Library, I observed individuals who were at the computer clusters and the couches in the library, as well as those sitting outside at the tables near the vending machines. In McCosh 50, I arrived a few minutes early to observe other early arrivals. My notes on these experiences, from both passive observation and contextual interviews, are as follows:

Frist Campus Center (Thursday, 2:30pm-3:00pm):
– Over half (4-5 of 8) of the students in the TV lounge only remained seated for less than 10 minutes, leading me to believe that they were students waiting for class.
– Of those that stayed very shortly, many stayed in the building itself, leading me to believe that they were in fact waiting for a class in Frist.
– It seemed as if those who stayed only shortly glanced only temporarily at the TV, as opposed to those who either slept or watched the program being screened.
– Many students had their computers with them and were checking emails, doing course readings, or visiting Facebook.

Interviews (conducted while leaving):
– KJ Park, 2016: KJ Park was in the TV lounge on his laptop. When asked what he was doing there, he stated that he was planning on securing a study location in a booth or table before going to precept.
– Krishna Kulkarni, 2013: Krishna was not waiting for class, but was taking a break after having finished his classes for the day. His next location was the dining hall (unspecified) for dinner. Krishna was also there to promote his Nacho show this week.

Engineering Library (Tuesday, 1:20pm-1:30pm):
– Couches: A surprising number of students on the library couches were napping, leading me to believe that they were waiting longer than 10 minutes before their next class. These students were not interviewed due to fear of disturbance and empathy for need of sleep.
– Computer clusters: Most students were, like those in the Frist TV lounge, checking emails, doing course readings, or checking their Facebook.
– Vending machine tables: None of the two students sitting at the tables left during the 10-15 minutes I spent observing the Engineering Library area.
– Only one of the four observed students (computer cluster) left the library in under 10 minutes of my arrival. This leads me to believe that students waiting in the Engineering Library may be waiting for a non-10 minute interlude reason, such as to avoid the inconvenience of traveling from central campus to the engineering area in between more spread out classes.

Interviews (conducted while leaving)
– No interviews could be completed, as the students were sleeping or occupied. The one candidate in the computer cluster left in a particularly hurried fashion, and I could not bring myself to the required awkward acceleration needed to catch her. This leads me to believe that she was, in fact, a student in transit because she only briefly used the computer cluster to check her email.

McCosh 50 (Wednesday, 12:15pm-12:30pm):
– There were only three students (of around 50) that arrived before me and were waiting in the lecture hall. These students were all on their computers. Two were on their Facebook accounts, while one was simultaneously checking his email and doing a class reading for that day. The remaining student had a Word document opened in anticipation of taking notes and was conversing with one of the Facebook using students. Three of the four students periodically checked their phones during the observation.

Interviews (conducted before lecture):
– Allan Jabri, 2015: Allan had arrived early to class to speak with the professor. He was not able to do so, however, because the professor was occupied until the start of class. Allan was one of the students who was continuously on his Facebook.

2. Brainstorm
1. App calculates shortest route to a certain location on campus by bus, bike, foot.
2. App pulls up and inputs personal notes/observations from past lectures.
3. App to input, view, and vote on a cloud of ideas and thoughts posted by students
5. App shows the closest bathroom, water fountain, store, food source, etc.
6. App shows the closest friend, as well as where they’re going and if they’re busy.
7. App reminds you of upcoming homework assignments.
8. App displays birthdays, significant events, historical tidbits, etc. of that date.
9. App displays project ideas/assignments to promote brainstorming or reflection.
10. App lists emails or phone calls that you need to make, and links to appropriate tools.
11. App suggests apps for you to download based on your preferences/app history.
12. App matches you with a random user to meet and eat lunch or dinner with.
13. App notifies you of relevant events/activities on that day.
14. App suggests dining hall menus of the day based on chosen taste type.

3. Final Ideas
Idea 2: Lecture Boss
– I chose the lecture note idea because it would be simple to implement and would be useful for day-to-day lecture preparation as well as testing review (such as storing small in-lecture details known to be important or on the exam)

Idea 14: EZ-Menu
– I chose the dining hall suggestion idea because it would be easy to extract menu data from existing web services, and because I have both experienced and observed the inconvenience of manually reviewing the daily menus on the food services site.

4. Prototypes
Idea 2: Lecture Boss
My Lecture Boss prototype is a paper prototype of a mobile application. Users begin at a start screen, where they select from their enrolled courses. This will lead them to a calendar view, where they will select the date on which they wish to view or input personal lecture notes. Once there, they may either simply view the current notes for that day, or use a simple text input to edit and save the notes. From this screen, they can also choose to return to the main course selection menu or export the notes to an email address.


Idea 14: EZ-Menu
My EZ-Menu prototype is also a paper prototype of a mobile application. Users begin at a start screen, where they select from different types or genres of food. This leads to a list of dining halls that have similar or related food items on their menus, or a message indicating no matches. Making a selection from this list leads to the more detailed menu listings provided by the food services website. From all of these screens there is an option to return to the start screen.

5. User Testing: EZ-Menu
– User complaints addressed in Testing Insights below.

User 1: Mitchell Vollger
– User picked the following options: European, Dessert, Whitman, Back
– User seemed pleased with the layout, asked no questions about how to use the app.


User 2: June Chang
– User picked the following options: Asian, Meat, Whitman, Back
– User seemed at ease, found the usage of the app easy.


User 3: John Richards
– User picked the following options: European, Greens, , Back
– User was confused when no matches arose.

6. Testing Insights
– User 1 suggested that users may not have a preference for any of the food categories listed.
– User 1 suggested that the categories be vegan/alternative friendly.
– User 2 complained that the menu results would still be too vague given the current options.
– User 3 complained that the categories were not customizable.
– User 3 suggested that categories be added for religious restrictions.
– User 3 was sad that his choices did not return results.

Positive Feedback:
– User 1 appreciated the simplicity of the app scheme.
– User 2 appreciated the complete touch-based nature of the app.
– User 2 appreciated the simplicity of the interface.
– User 3 appreciated the touch-based nature of the app.
– User 3 appreciated the potential convenience of the app.

Possible Improvements:
– Adding a simple voting function for the various entrees would provide even more utility, accuracy, and user satisfaction.
– Adding a choice history would allow the app to recommend certain menus or specific entrees that the user has enjoyed in the past.
– Making the categories customizable would create a more personalized, accurate experience.
– Category selection may be streamlined by more efficient categories (i.e. initial menu for dietary restrictions, second menu for types and genres, etc).
– Adding filter options () may improve accuracy and customer satisfaction.

Assignment 2: Jeff Snyder


I observed professors and students waiting in CS 104 and 105 for classes to begin throughout the day on Thursday. Most students arrived to class only a few minutes before lecture began, though many lectures started a few minutes late. Many of the students that arrived with substantial time to spare sat alone and used either a smartphone or laptop. As more students arrived, they began to congregate with their friends, discussing topics from problem sets to eating plans. Many complained about lack of sleep or missed meals. The professors I observed either examined their lecture slides while standing at the podium or chatted to students, though I was too far away to hear what about. I observed many students with larger screens visit Facebook, Reddit, Pinterest, PrincetonFML, the Daily Princetonian website, and Princeton Gmail. I talked to one close friend, after watching him use his smartphone for a few minutes. He was playing the GBA game Golden Sun on an emulator. He had not noticed me in the back of the lecture hall, and expressed that he would have liked to chat had he known I was there. Another friend that I briefly interviewed at the end of class indicated that she was looking for the closest study space, preferably one with access to vending machine food or coffee. We went to get coffee from the CS machine in the Tea Room, which she hadn’t known about. I walked with a third friend to check his mailbox at Frist while we talked. He typically spends the half an hour he has between class in CS and precept in 1879 playing chess with friends in the Terrace library, searching for free food if he hasn’t eaten lunch, or taking care of unanswered emails.
Any application that aims to involve large groups of students would have to support a widely varying number of participants, and elegantly handle students joining and dropping dynamically. As the number of students present in any lecture hall typically grows dramatically right before lecture starts, activities that take under three minutes are ideal. Friends I interviewed noted that they would often try to find their friends in smaller lecture halls if they arrived with plenty of time to spare, but would rarely do so in larger lecture halls. Activities for small groups might work, especially if they aimed to connect students, but would also have to find some way of including solo participants. Some expressed frustration at their inability to use the time between classes for anything other than random internet browsing, though others were able to regularly take care of small, important tasks or get ahead on reading if their classes were close enough.


1. An smartphone application that allows students to plan meal exchanges at eating clubs with their friends and tracks where they have gone so that they can complete all of their exchanges before the end of the month.
2. An application that tracks emails that need a response and other small tasks and reminds users to take care of them in small amounts of free time.
3. A 1 vs. 100 style game with questions from the previous lecture to aid student memory and to help professors gauge comprehension.
4. An application that automatically matches students in groups to work in problem sets based on schedule and current progress.
5. A class-wide online arcade with many different 2-6 player games (tetris, tron, pac-man, bomberman, missile command) that tracks high scores and overall leaders.
6. A device that allows professors to poll the class on different short (1-3 minute) lectures on their own research or other interesting topics and displays slides for the winning topic.
7. A persistent massively multiplayer pokemon-style monster battling game that is only playable in the 10 minutes before class, which starts over every semester.
8. An application that matches students into 8-person groups and simulates drafting Magic: The Gathering.
9. An application that displays a random passage from the week’s reading, solicits short responses from all students present, and performs sentiment analysis to extract common themes, which the professor responds to.
10. An application that shows the locations of free food and coffee that can be reached in the time before class starts.
11. An application that tracks calories burned walking between classes so those long walks seem a little more rewarding.
12. An application to help students get to class on time that measures distance to class, average walking speed, and time to get ready in the morning and notifies users when they have to wake up and leave their current location.
13. A paired device for couples that lets them know when they are near each other and have a few minutes of free time.
14. An application that allows Psychology students and researchers to submit short surveys that can be taken for money by students waiting for class to begin.
15. An application that plays music from a professor’s playlist before lecture, allows students to vote on the songs they like, and suggests similar music for them to listen to as it learns their preferences.

I brainstormed with Clayton Whetung and Marjorie Lam.


I chose to prototype a meal exchange/planning program as a smartphone application, as incomplete meal exchanges are an unnecessary, expensive evil and such an application would encourage students to expand their social and gustatory circles. I also prototyped the food/coffee finding application as complaints about hunger and lack of sleep outnumbered any other conversation topic and many students are unaware of the free food and caffeine available all around campus.

My meal exchange application as prototyped has three main screens.


The first shows meal exchanges in progress, and allows users to mark ones they have completed.


The second is a list of friends that users can add to that allows users to browse their friends by name, time since last exchange, and club, and also displays those users with whom the user has an active exchange.


The third displays a map of the street with logos of each club.


A touch of the logo brings up a menu and a button that allows users to find friends in that club. They can then call or text these users.


Contextual popups let users see friends in the same lecture hall to grab a meal with after class.


My free food application as prototyped, shows a map centered on the user with locations of free food and coffee marked with icons.


These icons, when touched by the user, show further details about the food and the approximate time to reach it.


The time until the user’s next class starts is displayed at the top on most screens. The user can zoom the map in and out, and a circle noting the furthest distance that can be reached with time to walk to class is noted.


A menu  allows users to report new free food, which brings up a form to do so, or indicate that the food/coffee has run out.


The application tracks top contributors on a leaderboard.


I tested the meal exchange application with fellow students Marjorie Lam, Yingxue Li, and Tim Kunisky.


Each has a very different style of meal exchanges, but their searches through the paper prototypes proceeded very similarly. All made their way through the main features of the application, exploring the options and experimenting with adding and completing exchanges, adding friends, etc.

Marjie does on the order of 4-5 meal exchanges in the average month, mostly with former roommates. She proceeded through all of the available options on the application, noting that as time between classes was limited, it would be best if the application could quickly suggest meal exchanges to you with friends you had not performed an exchange with in the longest time or those whom you needed to complete exchanges with at the next meal.


Many of her comments focused on the application’s ability to help users track their current exchanges and complete them before the end of the month. She noted that even with the limited number of exchanges she does, she often found herself scheduling many exchanges in the last few days of each month and struggling to be able to complete them all. To this end, she suggested a further revision of the application could notify users as the end of the month is approaching, or use its knowledge of a group of friend’s remaining exchanges to create a schedule that completes everyone’s exchanges.

Yingxue, as an independent student, does not have meal exchanges, but noted that independent students could still take advantage of such an application by exchanging guest meals at eating clubs for dinners hosted in independent housing. She personally takes advantage of guest meals at eating clubs as often as possible, on the order of 3-4 times a week. She noted that there were perhaps on the order of a dozen friends she would feel comfortable contacting in this way, but that she enjoyed eating meals with those friends she saw less frequently when they offered.  She also suggested an extension of the application to students who primarily eat in the dining halls. Even as an independent, she sometimes forgot to use her 2 free dining hall meals a week, and thought that the application could help her to remember those. While I was encouraged by the alternatives Yingxue suggested, I thought that expanding the scope of the application too much could dilute the effectiveness and would necessarily make the user experience more cluttered.

Tim, while exploring the application, noted that he infrequently eats meals in clubs other than Terrace, exchanging eating club meals once or twice a month. While he has many friends in other clubs, he is often rushing between classes in the middle of the day and works primarily in Terrace in the evening.  He more frequently exchanges with his friends on dining hall meal plans, which he noted was not supported by the prototype. He especially liked the feature of the application that created a contextual pop-up for friends who were in close proximity, and suggested that users could upload their schedule and find students to exchange with in the same classes, who might be leaving class together or want to work on assignments over a meal. Tim’s comments suggested to me that the application might have real potential for encouraging users to eat outside their clubs, but concerns surrounding privacy would limit the scope of the networks created using the application. Tim noted that though he would like to, he has trouble getting his sophomore year roommates together for a meal, as they are all in different clubs. He suggested that the application help users cycle through larger meal exchanges with groups. Marjie expressed a similar sentiment.


  1. The social networks of meal exchanges are small and dense, mostly consisting of former roommates and close friends from freshman year, but an application could help to expand them as students are comfortable exchanging with less close friends.
  2. The primary motivation for Princeton students to use such an application is not losing money on incomplete meal exchanges.
  3. Students do not have extensive amounts of time in between classes to browse menus, etc. Those clubs they want to eat at are those where they have incomplete exchanges for the next meal.
  4. Meal exchanges are currently only feasible as a one-on-one activity, but students would like to have meals with larger groups, which an application might help support.
  5. Users would like to track dining hall meal exchanges and free dining hall meals as well as club meal exchanges, but liked the simplicity of the application as presented.