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Course Outcome:

To understand the basic principles of the user-centered design (UCD) process, how UCD is integrated into software engineering, and how to design, prototype and evaluate software and systems from the user’s point of view.


The Challenge:

Create an augmented reality based app prototype by implementing the design process to help people learn Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding

The Process

A video demonstrating the entire process

Formative User Research

Surveys (30 Responses)


1. Understanding what level of skill in Origami do people identify themselves with.

2. What do people use to learn building new Origami models?


Most people identified themselves as intermediate artists. They learned using four methods - reading instructions through a book, watching  a video online, reading instructions online or through an app, predominantly using YouTube videos.

Follow up:

We asked for some of the instructions which people followed in each of the four mediums - books, videos, online instruction set, apps. This allowed us to understand what works well for our users.

Interviews (8 face to face interviews)



Understanding people's expectations and frustrations while building Origami models. 



Most people made Origami models as children and were still interested in the art, provided that there be new and interesting designs to do. They found it difficult to follow written instructions for making advanced models and thus preferred to watch videos. Sometimes, the videos had to be paused and seen multiple times to understand.

Contextual Inquiries (8 interviews)



To observe and empathise with users building Origami models, to understand what works and what doesn't work for the users using master-apprentice method



By conducting contextual inquiries, we could triangulate our formative user research. We learnt directly by observing our users build Origami models using written instructions on app, books and YouTube videos. We could notice the subtle quirks such as:

 - Users made markings on notebook, which they couldn't do on app or Video.

 - Users paused at specific intervals on videos which was mostly because of hand placement in videos.

 - Videos which were shot from the opposite side of hand were more paused than the videos shot from front side.

 - Users saw the whole video by fast forwarding it, before making the model to judge their skills


These, and many other observations came up which helped us shape the project further. 

Story Boards and Sketches

Based on the results of our formative user research, we made 2 story boards. Through these storyboards, we identified the three main tasks of our app - To utilize camera to scan and recognize steps in the design, To display set of instructions for different Origami designs, and To display a gallery of designs.  

We took feedback from class peers during our group discussion and iterated these story boards. Based on the iterated story boards, we came up with 6 designs for our primary interfaces and secondary interfaces respectively. We selected 2 of the best primary and secondary interfaces. 

During the next class discussion, we took feedback from 8 of our classmates for our primary and secondary screens. Based on this feedback, we iterated our interfaces further and came up with first draft of designs


Paper Prototypes

We created low fidelity "Paper Prototypes" based on our first draft of interfaces. This was inspired by Nielson Norman's paper prototyping - How to video. My teammate and I worked to make 1 paper prototype and the other two teammates made another prototype. We did a pilot user interview with each other. Based on the results of this pilot interview, we iterated our paper prototypes - ready to test them with the users. We tested 2 designs with 4 users in 2 different settings.

You can watch a video demonstrating the paper prototyping process along with 2 of the user interviews below

Mid and High fidelity prototypes

Based on the results from the user testing for paper prototypes, we made our mid fidelity prototypes. These were made on Adobe XD. We presented it to the class and got feedback from our peers. We also got feedback from professor and the TAs. Based on this, we made our high fidelity prototypes on Android Studio. 

The android studio prototype was a 21 screens interactive prototype which demonstrated our three main tasks successfully. 

Challenges and Outcomes

  • Since the project was done as a part of the course, there were limitations on the amount of time to be spent on each process. We used this to our advantage by making appropriate timeline since the beginning.

  • We could not iterate the process every time as in ideal cases, due to restrictions. We still managed to do the design as iteratively as possible. Whatever designs were not tested with users, were tested with our class peers. It was ensured that the class discussion was done group to group with a different group every time.  So effectively, we got to get a feedback from different people for our project. 

The project was well received and we even got extra credit for good work!

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