Thursday, November 18, 2010

Solar Decathlon Design

Building on the the last three blog entries, my task for this week was to design a web-based interface for the solar house's home management system.  Balsamiq provided a free copy of their wireframing tool to aid me in this task.

The initial design process was extremely difficult because it was a first in designing a web-based user interface.  The first round of designs were a failure because I did not have a good grasp on what constituted a great web design.  After receiving feedback, some key elements were ironed out.  The most important element was to accompany each data visualization with an interpretation and offer a way for the user to respond.

A subsequent round of design brought an improvement to the user interface, but it still lacked the most important element described above.  For the third round of design, I was assigned to work in a team of four (Team 3) and to practice issue driven project management.

2nd round of design.
3rd round of design.

As seen above, the quality of the aquaponics page improved in each round of design.  Users are now able to see statistics easily, have the system recommend a course of action, and respond accordingly to the situation.  We took the best ideas from each team member's design and combined them to make a higher quality page.  Individual members' previous designs are available here.

With the bulk of our pages complete, the final steps were to create the homepage, iron out any glaring inconsistencies between our team members' work, and then link everything together in preparation for the presentation.

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