Online Community Design Idea

CS 4472/6470: The Design of Online Communities
Professor Amy Bruckman
Due:Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
Format:Double spaced, 12 pt. font
Approximate Length:Four to eight pages
Percentage of Grade:10%

We've been talking all term about online communities. Now it's your turn to come up with an idea for a new one! You will hand in:

  1. Elevator Pitch
  2. Mockup
  3. User Scenario(s)
  4. Initial Field Work Plan
Each section should be one to two pages in length.
  1. Elevator Pitch

  2. Describe what your new site is, who it is for, and how it will be sustained financially. Your business model could be either for-profit or nonprofit.

    Some sites will have more than one target audience. If so, describe each audience, and how the site will contribute different things for each group.

    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.

  3. Mockups

  4. Provide a few sketches of what your site might look like. These can be hand drawn and informal.
  5. User Scenario(s)

  6. Write a fictional story of someone using your site. Why do they come there, and what do they do when they are there? If you have more than one target audience, write a scenario for each.

    For example, one design handed in for this class was for "," a site for parents of twins. So you might begin your scenario with, "Susan is Mom to identical twin boys, age 5 months. Her double stroller has broken, even though it's relatively new. Looking for recommendations on a more reliable brand, she...." In this scenario, you might go on to describe how she found the site looking for a stroller purchase, but then stayed to engage in a BBS discussion about whether to dress identical twins alike.

  7. Initial Field Work Plan

  8. Now that you have an initial concept, you'll want to do some field work to explore whether your concept makes sense. Describe how you might go about getting some input from potential users to help you evaluate and iterate on your initial concept. How will you make contact with your target audience? If you are doing surveys or interviews, what kinds of questions will you ask? Be specific. If you have more than one audience in mind, will your approach to them differ?

Class Presentation

You may optionally do an in-class presentation about your design project. This will count as extra credit towards your grade on this assignment.