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Final Project

Students will work in teams of 3-4 people that represent a variety of areas of expertise. Each project group will invent, prototype, and evaluate a novel social computing experience. This does not need to take the form of an app (but it could). The goal is to create a novel social experience through some kind of technology.

Teams with ideas for other types of projects (e.g., big data analysis) should discuss them with the professor before pitching their project proposals.  A key element in the final project is to relate to the course readings and discussion. 

NOTE: In contrast with the midterm project, there is no requirement this time for your project to have an educational component or for you to measure virality. It’s much more open-ended so that you have the freedom/flexibility to work on what you want. However, a good project often provides a well-motivated rationale and evidence of impact. 

Learning Goals
  • To make a unique contribution to social computing
  • To understand how iterative design methods can be adapted to prototype and evaluate social technologies
  • To define and measure quality on an open-ended design prompt
  • To prototype technologies that involve multiple people
  • To engage online audiences beyond the classroom
  • To connect project work with insights from the readings and discussions
In class during week 7,  each team will present a 4-minute “pitch” that describes the main ideas behind their final project, the work they intend to do, and roughly how the work will be split among team members. The 4-minute pitch should cover:
  • What's the challenge or opportunity?  State why it's important.
  • What's been done in the space already?  Make sure to search for competing ideas!
  • What's your unique idea? Articulate why it's novel.
  • How will you prototype the idea?  Describe a minimal viable prototype for your experience.
  • How will you evaluate the new social experience? List the key questions you seek to answer.
  • How will you divide the work among your team? Make a plan.
Sign up your team for a pitch here:
In class during week 9, each team will have an opportunity to demonstrate and get feedback on their prototype during class. Your prototype can be build from scratch or a mash-up of existing technologies. Your team will have a few minutes to ask fellow students to visit the URL for your prototype, role play as different users, interact with each other through your system, and gather input that will help your team refine the prototype. 

  • Minimal viable prototype of your idea (can be a mash up of existing technology)
  • Short URL that points people to your prototype (I prefer or
  • Clear instructions on what people should do when they arrive at your prototype. Where should they click or write? How should they interact? What role should they play?
  • Create a survey to get feedback on your prototype. This can have its own short URL, or provide a link at the end of your instructions page. 

As part of your final report and presentation, we expect each team to conduct a user evaluation of their novel social experience. The evaluation should be aimed at addressing the most important questions about your concept. It's your team's responsibility to write these out and then create a study protocol that attempts to answer these questions.

Some of your projects will involve getting users to chat or interact with each other. Since it's difficult to recruit a synchronous group online, your team members can role play as users in order to simulate the social aspects.

Your goal is to collect data from at least 10 potential users (not counting students in the class, family members, or significant others). 

Thanks to a donation from, each student has been allocated up to three users to provide input on your social experience. As a team, you should be able to recruit 9-12 people this way.  You can also combine this with other approaches—such as hiring people on Amazon Mechanical Turk— to find potential users. Signup on the site and instead of paying use the gift code U-UCSD3.  To help you out, check out this 12-minute demo, which will cover what the platform does, and the basics of setting up a study. Or, reference the complete guide to user testing.


  • Refine your novel social experience based on input during in-class prototyping.
  • Write a list of evaluation questions. What do you want to learn about your novel social experience? What indicators might tell you if this could go viral?
  • Setup (and role play) your novel social experience for at least 10 users.
  • Collect and summarize your data. This should include both what people did (behavioral) and what people said (opinions).  Include quotes, images, videos from potential users to help validate your evaluation.
Final Presentations
Each team will present during finals week on March 23rd from 3-6pm in HSS 1346 for up to 10 minutes per team. For this presentation, please be sure to include everyone’s names on the first and last slide. Not everyone has to speak, please do whatever you think will make for the best presentation. The goal should be to discuss interesting aspects of your motivation, process, final prototype(s), and what you learned through your evaluation.

Present your Final Project during finals week. To help create a smooth transition between presentations, please create your presentation as a Google slide deck and put a link on the presentation sign up sheet.  If you must use your own laptop, please let the instructors know and sign up for the first or last slots so we waste less time transitioning between computers.  Sign up for a presentation slot below.

  • Final project presentation sign-up
Final Reports
A brief final report (up to 3 pages) is due by midnight on the day of the final presentations. This report should document what you did and why, what you learned, and give a brief outline of the overall process and contributions made by each team member, e.g., Susan did about half of the back-end coding, Joe designed the UI, Jim wrote the study protocol, Sally prepared the final report.

Folder for Deliverables
You should create a Google Drive folder for your team below. In that folder, include:

  • Interim and final versions of your project prototype(s)
  • A final report (no longer than 3 pages) describing the project and why/how you created it. Provide a summary of your evaluation method and findings. Document each team member's contributions.
  • A google slide deck that summarizes the key information from the report. Presentations should be approximately 10 minutes each. 

Create your team's final project deliverable folder here:

Grades breakdown this way:

5%     pitches
10%   prototypes
           10%   evaluation
10%   evidence of team effort put into the project
30%   quality and novelty or final social computing experience
15%   final presentation
20%   final report
Team assessments may affect individual grades (up or down) by as much as 10%.

At the end of the project, we will ask for feedback on your contributions from your teammates. We suggest you keep a work log with dates, time spent, and what you did. This will help document your work.

Your pitch should be clear, concise, and concrete. What are you going to do and why? You don’t have to do exactly what you propose, but your pitch should stand on its own.

Your prototype should give a good rough idea of where your project is going. It can be mashed together from existing technology.  As part of your final report, provide evidence that your team iteratively improved the concept over the quarter.

The quality of the final product can be determined in a number of different ways, which are based on both what you choose to do and what your focus is. You will be given the opportunity to help define how you want this quality to be determined. Example ways to measure quality are (i) how well a prototype works, (ii) how novel is your proposed technology, (iii) how interesting are the lessons learned, etc.

Your final presentation should be interesting, clear, and practiced. It should convey the interesting ideas that you explored and unexpected findings. It should not cover rote material like who did what or how your project meets the criteria of the assignment -- you can include that in your final report.

Aspect 1 (poor)
2-3 3-4 5 (excellent)
Idea was not well thought out; addressed a small or non-existent problem; lacked sufficient background.

Described a real problem/ opportunity; told a complete story.
Defined a unique problem/ opportunity; talked clearly about the idea; did a fair background survey; provided understandable examples. 
Told a good story; knowledgeable about the existing attempts; proposed creative solution to the problem/ opportunity;
had a killer closing that could easily be remembered.
Prototypes  (10%) Had bugs; could not go through the whole experience; too short, barely complete.
Bug-free prototype, but does not clearly demonstrate the social experience.

Have some interesting features/ functions; easy to learn and to pick up.
Demonstrates creative social interactions; friendly to users; able to yield constructive feedback.
Evaluation (10%) Feedback from less than 10 users; poorly designed evaluation questions. 
Recruited 10 or more users; had basic analysis of user data.
Recruited more than 15 users; constructive questions; reasonable analysis of user data.
Used various methods to recruit users; well designed questions; sound analysis of user behavior; informative and clear conclusions for future work.
Team effort (10%) The team did not define tasks. Some members did not participate actively; efforts are scattered; the whole project was poorly finished.
Team informally defined the tasks but not all members understand them so not all members were able to make meaningful contributions.
Team clearly defined the task to be accomplished;  the involvement of members was balanced.
The team shared the work load and worked well together; contributions of each team member was clearly identified.
Quality and novelty (30%) Little creativity  and little attempt to develop a new idea; created an experience that is confusing or hard to use.
The idea was similar to existing social experiences with only slight differences. User experience lacks polish.
Idea for social experience was reasonably novel; experience shows gradual improvement along the way.
A truly original and polish social experience; new experience is interesting and helpful in some way.
Presentation (15%) Presenters did not have a strong grasp of information; lacked flow; little eye contact; or voice is too soft
Presenters made basic points; good eye contact and audible sound;  able to answer questions.
Presenters shared  appropriate information; ideas are organized and clearly presented.
Presenters shared information in logical, interesting sequence that was easy to follow; effectively keep the audience engaged with interesting visual aids. Something memorable.
Report (20%) Poorly organized information; no logical progression; the conclusion is incomplete or inaccurate.
Some organization; points jump around; analysis is basic or general; discussion is clear but not compelling.
Ideas are arranged logically; analysis is detailed and reasonable; readers gain some insights.
An accurate and complete explanation of key concepts and ideas; results are carefully organized; thoughtful, in-depth analysis; interesting take home message.