Usability and Design Project Overview

What: A Usability and Design Client Report
When: Wednesday, 25 April

For this assignment, you will work in a group of 3–4 people to design the user interface for a ubiquitous and seemingly simple device: an alarm clock.

The Scenario

Alarum Technologies is a manufacturer of cheap, but functional, alarm clocks. The company has contracted with our firm (Indelible, Inc.) because they're interested in adding value to their existing line of products through better design and usability. Alarum hopes that by redesigning their core product, they can

  1. differentiate their line from the competition in both form and function;
  2. define and build what has previously been an anonymous, unheralded brand; and
  3. add value and customer satisfaction to both the product and the brand.

In order to do these things, they want Indelible to design the user interface for their next, new alarm clock and to develop a set of usability heuristics for future products. More specifically, Alarum has has asked us to

  1. identify the key usability strengths and weaknesses of existing products;
  2. develop and describe the user interface for an inexpensive, digital alarm clock to be developed immediately;
  3. compose a set of usability heuristics for future alarm clocks.

It may seem odd to think of an alarm clock as having a "user interface": most people typically reserve this term for computers and software. But as should become clear through this project, a user interface is found anywhere there is an artifact and a user.

The Process and Products

The user interfaces that we develop for this project will be entirely in the form of lo-fidelity prototypes. That is, we won't actually be building any physical clocks, but rather we will be describing their intended interfaces through written (and possibly illustrated) reports. We are not expected to concern ourselves too much with the clock's internals or general "look"; Alarum Technologies performs their industrial design and engineering in-house, so most production details will be handled by those groups. Our job is to prepare general interface designs and usability recommendations that those groups can use in creating future products. Those industrial designers and engineers, along with their managers, will be our primary audience. Secondary audiences include me, as your boss, at Indelible, Inc.

The specific process and products for this assignment are:

  1. Evaluate existing designs.
  2. Develop the interface for an inexpensive digital alarm clock.
  3. Compose a set of usability heuristics.
  4. Produce and deliver a report for the client.

Creative Commons License
This assignment description and associated
images are licensed by Jim Nugent under a
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