Assignment Three:
Design of an Online Community

CS 6470: The Design of Online Communities
Professor Amy Bruckman
Due:Tuesday, April 17th, 2007
Format:Double spaced, numbered pages, 12 pt. font
Approximate Length:20-30 pages; one paper per team
Percentage of Grade:25% + 5% for presentation
Team size: 3 people (other group sizes are possible with permission of instructor)

Design an online community. Make sure that you do human-centered design: begin with a group of people with a need, and show how you can use technology to meet that need. Begin by doing interviews with 3-6 members of your target user group. Each team member must do at least 2 interviews. Like the first interviews, these must be on the phone or in person.

In your design plan, account for each of Amy Jo Kim's Nine Principles for Community Design. For each design decision, explain why you made the decision you made.

Write a 'scenario' of your site in use--tell a fictional story of one or two people coming to use the site, and what they do on the site.

Cite the readings in your analysis. Where appropriate, note possible alternate design approaches and explain why you chose the approach you did. Compare and contrast your proposed site to existing sites, especially those we've viewed in class.

In a paint program or other prototyping tool or by hand, prepare designs for all the main screens of your system. Include these in your paper. It is not necessary to write any code or do any actual implementation work.

In your paper, make sure to cite the course readings and include a detailed bibliography. Papers must be handed in on paper; however, you may optionally also chose to prepare an additional HTML version with links. HTML papers may be linked to the course web page if you wish.

This is not an exercise in science fiction-- please make your design technically realizable. Do not include features that require major technological advances to achieve. It's acceptable to describe a feature that would require such an advance only if you also provide a currently practical alternative.

Include a page in your paper noting who on your team did what.

While you will not actually found a new community as part of this class, students whose designs are promising may be invited to do so either as an independent study or as sponsored research. However, please keep in mind that starting such a community implies an ongoing commitment to the real people who chose to become members.

Grading criteria:


Prepare a short talk (ten minutes maximum) about your findings.

The quality of your presentation and overheads counts towards your talk grade.