MHCI Capstone Project presentation

PROGRAM 

 

 MHCI Capstone

The MHCI Capstone Project course is a one-year-long (two semesters) project for the Masters of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) program and integrates everything the students have learned in their coursework into one "end-to-end" experience.

Students work in interdisciplinary teams with an industry sponsor to produce a working prototype that serves as a proof of concept of a novel service or product idea. The students come from a variety of backgrounds including Computer Science, Psychology, Design, and other related programs.

In the first semester, students conduct user research and brainstorm product ideas. The user research phase begins with students conducting methods such as contextual inquiries and background research to understand the nature and needs of the customer/user and tasks relevant to their problem. Based on that understanding, students go through an innovation phase producing product ideas situated to meet the identified needs. With strong sponsor input, they narrow down their ideas and select one or more to pursue further. Then, in the second semester, students engage in a prototyping and user-testing phase where they produce prototypes with increasing fidelity and iteratively test them with users to improve the design. They do weekly iteration cycles, so by the end of the course, product prototypes are well refined and adapted to user needs. The end goal is a working prototype that serves as a proof of concept of the product idea.

This year, there are three companies sponsoring the MHCI Capstone Project course, which includes SAPO, Critical Software and PromoSoft. On December 14th, 2009, in Madeira, the MHCI students will present what they have accomplished. Projects range from solutions for micro finance institutes in Africa, mobile services for lifestyles and next-generation web for kids. There will be presentations, posters as well as demo sessions. Guests, companies, students and faculty are all welcome to participate.

Promosoft
Team: Eugene Danilkis, Frederik Pfisterer, Josh Coe, Joydeep Sengupta and Sofia Nunes.

"The Promosoft Mobility Team is designing a new online software service to enable microfinance organizations to better manager their client and loan portfolios. The new design presents both a long-term vision of the service as well as more immediate needs, which are designed as both a service and as software interfaces. The team addresses the microfinance needs from the design, business and technical perspectives to create a compelling project for a company to pursue. Their work is backed by extensive research including two weeks observing, discussing and learning form microfinance organizations in Mozambique."

Critical Software
Team: André Dória, Daniel Wagner, Mariana Lopez, Mary Barreto and Nuno Laginha.

"Critical Software is interested in the impact of using mobiles in people's lifestyles. We have identified that the increasing proliferation of mobile phones and other communication channels leads to an ever-growing amount of people that are obliged to be connected in some sort of communication network. These expectations have profound impacts in our society and its norms, namely to what regards availability (for example answering calls, sms or emails in a timely and often disruptive manner). We identified a clear mismatch between the expectancy of how available one should be, and how available one can afford to be. We approached this problem and coupled it with the increasing need to be connected to people who are close to us, and came up with an innovative way of bridging this gap, bringing people CLOSER to each other. We are developing a different contact list, one where people not only have customized status messages, but they also have a stated availability and their preferred method of communication."

SAPO
Team: Brad Copenhaver, Iryna Pavlyshak, João Rodrigues, Joshua Zuniga e Katia Serralheiro.

"SAPO project aims to provide contents and services for children in the range of 7-12 years old. The strategy as it was defined by Portugal Telecom, extends through three main axes: contents delivered by its multiple partners, interactive applications for PC to provide a safe access to online and offline content, and community services like internet messaging and email with parental control. In accordance with this strategy, our group must address several requirements that pose specific challenges. Our objective is to deliver a rich and playful prototype web portal which: “Supports how 7-12 year old children play, communicate and socialize, and look for information online in a safe and secure environment supported by multiple platforms”."