Fall 2017»CSCI 380 Homework 1

CSCI 380 Homework 1

Assigned: Wednesday, Aug 23, 2017
Due Date: Wednesday, Aug 30
Due Time: 2 hours before class time

Last modified on May 24, 2018, at 07:04 AM (see updates)


Create an innovative user interface idea and present it to the world.

This is an individual assignment. You must work on your own.


Develop a new computing application (web-based, laptop-based, and/or smartphone-based), which includes a user interface. The system should be interactive and innovative, i.e., it should not exist out there. Our goal is to work to develop a new interface, not to duplicate (or mimic) an existing one.

For example, see:

Remember: This semester, you will design the user interface. You will not have to write any code to implement the system.


  • What problem are you solving? (It is OK if other solutions exist - yours has to be different and better...)
  • What needs are you addressing? (If the users are not motivated to use your system, they will not. There are hundreds of other systems out there to capture their imagination and time...)
  • What new opportunity to offer enjoyment are you exploring? (Users will flock to things that make them happy, for one reason or another. Whether something solves a difficult (or easy) problem more easily, or just offers new forms of enjoyment...)
  • Who are the users? (If you think they are people just like you, you are probably wrong...)
  • What is your proposed solution?


  • Your app should perform an interesting, useful, important, or entertaining task (or set of tasks) for the user.
  • To get some inspiration, see Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (3 mins), or other. What makes people tick? What needs do they have? How can you meet them?
  • Your app should have a clear and interesting interactive component. It is by interacting with the application that users will accomplish their tasks. For example, consider your favorite calendar app, or Google maps, or Facebook, or messenger, or calculator app. At some point, these were just ideas. Or, think of a new way to make music with your smartphone, or a way to interweave art into your daily activities. Or something that adds value, or enjoyment in a person's life. Or better connects people together, or helps them find others. Or allows a person to be more productive. Or allows a person to be more musical; or artistic. Or allows a person to be more meditative or reflective, i.e., to become a better person, and/or give back to others.
  • Your idea needs to be something that has not been done before. Or something that you can do better.
  • Grab a pencil and paper and start writing ideas. Sleep over it. Draw a few diagrams. Who are the users? What are they accomplishing with your app? It doesn't have to be complicated - it can be something simple, yet important, or different.
  • Your idea (if selected) will be developed by a team of 2-3 people during the semester. Again, you will not be developing the whole system (i.e., no coding the functionality) - you will be developing only the user interface.

Video of your system proposal

  • Create a video that presents your idea to the world.
  • This should be similar to a Kickstarter video. See useful Kickstarter video instructions.
  • A target duration is 3 minutes in length (+/- 2 minutes or so). But use as much time as you feel / think / sense is needed.
  • Your video should start with a title page, and include screens with words to separate the video into meaningful sections (as needed).
  • The video is due two hours before class on the due date. It should be uploaded in the Videos folder (Google Drive).
  • Here are some video editors you can use (there are others): YouTube video editor (easy), iMovie (Mac), Movie Maker (Windows), and WeVideo (this adds a watermark).


  • Name your video 'Firstname.Lastname.CSCI380-hmwk1.ext', where
    • 'Firstname' and 'Lastname' are your first and last name, respectively;
    • 'ext' is a common video format extension (such as .mp4).
    • For example, Mary.Smith.CSCI380-hmwk1.mp4 or John.Manning.CSCI380-hmwk1.mp4.
  • Upload your video to the shared Google Drive folder, called 'Video (Hmwk1)'.
  • You can see others' videos, but do NOT modify them in any way. (Google Drive keeps track of all changes - so be careful.)
  • Do not make any changes to the shared folder structure (e.g., do NOT create any other subfolders, rename files, etc.).


Your grade will be based on the depth/quality of your work (e.g., 80% of your grade).

You may also be asked to evaluate the video presentations of your classmates (e.g., 20% of your grade).

Relevant Quote

"We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely." ~ E.O. Wilson