Assignment Three:
Design of a Virtual Community

CS 8113E: The Design of Online Communities
Professor Amy Bruckman
Winter 1999
Format:Double spaced, numbered pages, reasonably large font (12 pt recommended)
Approximate Length:15-20 pages
Percentage of Grade:35% + 10% for presentation


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.

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. 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, prepare designs for all the main screens of your system. Include these in your paper. (You may use the color printer in the GVU lab.)

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 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.

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 (CS8503) 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.


Prepare a short talk (ten minutes maximum) about your design. Talks will be delivered in class on 3/10. Class will extend into the evening. If you can't stay past the normal class period, please notify the instructor in advance.