Lesson 5: Feedback and Testing
In this lesson students use feedback from "users" of the paper-prototyped app from the previous lesson in order to develop improvements to the user interface of that paper prototype. The lesson begins with a reflection on the fact that designers need to translate human needs with technology into changes to the user interface or experience. Students are then given a collection of feedback and requests from users of the app from the previous lesson. In groups students categorize the feedback and identify ways the needs expressed in the feedback could be met by changes to the interface of the app. Then in groups students will implement some of these changes to meet one of the needs they identified.
This lesson introduces several skills that students will need to use later in the unit. They will learn to categorize feedback in order to organize and prioritize their response. They learn to interpret human needs with a piece of technology in terms of the changes to the user interface. They have their first opportunity to create a paper prototype of their own by designing a new screen of an app. As students move towards designing apps of their own from scratch these will be important skills that students use repeatedly.
Warm Up (10 mins)
Activity (40 mins)
Students will be able to:
- Translate user needs into changes and improvements in the user interface of an app
- Categorize and prioritize user feedback for an app
- Create a paper prototype for the screens of an app
- Print one copy of Prototype Feedback - Activity Guide for each group of 2 or 3
- Print one copy of Improve a Screen for each student
- Colored pencils or markers for the paper prototypes
For the Students
Warm Up (10 mins)
Prompt: Think about a piece of software (like an app) that was hard to use. Maybe you couldn't find something you needed, it was poorly organized, or just difficult to use. What specifically didn't you like about it? Why didn't it meet your needs? How could it have been improved?
Goal: This conversation is aimed at making the point that human needs with software can be solved by changing the software's user experience or user interface, terms students learned in the previous class. This is primarily a brainstorm, and if those points don't come out naturally in conversation make them as you transition to the main activity using the proposed comments below.
Discuss: Students should silently write down their ideas. Then move to a full class discussion of the types of issues students have had with apps in the past. Direct conversation towards what specifically about the user interface or user experience of the app was lacking, and follow up by asking how those aspects of the app could be improved.
Technology is made to meet our human needs and that's how we usually think about them. I heard lots of good examples of things you needed the technology to do better. As makers of an app we want to meet our user's needs but we need to think about them in terms of what we have control over in the app. In other words, we need to start thinking about how to translate human needs into the user interfaces and experiences we create.
Activity (40 mins)
Making Sense of User Feedback
Group: Place students in groups of 2 or 3
Reducing Printed Materials
The Prototype Feedback and User Interface screens can be reused, as long as students don't write on them. The User Interface Screens should already be printed from the previous lesson.
Distribute: Give each group of students a copy of Prototype Feedback - Activity Guide. You should also either distribute copies of the User Interface Screens - Activity Guide or display on them on the screen.
Picking Categories: Circulate the room asking groups to explain how they are forming their categories. Remind students that their user may not always say exactly what they need. You need to interpret or translate what they've said. There's no correct grouping of feedback here, but students should be prepared to justify their categories
Categorize Feedback: Working in groups students should create piles of slips of paper so that each pile is a category of feedback. Categories should correspond with similar needs or problems that the feedback is addressing. For example, several pieces of feedback might all be about the fact that the font is too small to read.
Share: Once all groups have categorized their feedback ask for a few suggestions of the types of categories they created.
Responding to Feedback
Reducing Printed Materials
The Activity Guide can be completed online or as a journal activity. Students who complete the activity online may choose to use an online drawing tool to sketch the improved user interface or submit the sketch separately on paper.
Distribute: A copy of Improve a Screen - Activity Guide to each group.
Improve a Screen
Choosing Improvements: Students may need help brainstroming good improvements to their apps. For example, if multiple users are complaining about small text then they could try to increase the size of the the font on the screen they are improving. They might also choose to add a "text size" setting in their "Settings" page. There are always many improvements to an app that might have the desired effect. For this lesson it is more important that the change reasonably address the need they chose. There will be more opportunities to investigate what is realistic to change in an app's UI later in the unit.
As a group, students take the feedback that they categorized and propose some potential improvements to the app. Each proposed improvement should be clearly connected to one of the feedback categories that were created in the last activity.
Each student will need to draw an improved version of one of the screens in the paper prototyped app. The activity guide contains one page for each screen of the app for the group to divvy up.
Share: Ask students to briefly present the screen that they have updated. Ask them to describe specifically
- The category of needs they chose to address
- Different ways they considered to address those needs
- The changes to the user interface and user experience they designed to address those needs
CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards (2017)
AP - Algorithms & Programming
- 2-AP-10 - Use flowcharts and/or pseudocode to address complex problems as algorithms.
- 2-AP-15 - Seek and incorporate feedback from team members and users to refine a solution that meets user needs.
- 2-AP-17 - Systematically test and refine programs using a range of test cases.
IC - Impacts of Computing
- 2-IC-21 - Discuss issues of bias and accessibility in the design of existing technologies.
- 2-IC-22 - Collaborate with many contributors through strategies such as crowdsourcing or surveys when creating a computational artifact.