AARP Gives Awards for HCI Student Team Projects

On Tuesday December 13, 2005, the last class day for the fall semester, a representative of the AARP selected three of the 13 undergraduate team projects for awards. These projects were part of the senior undergraduate course on Human-Computer Interaction CMSC 434 taught by Ben Shneiderman in the Dept of Computer Science at the University of Maryland. Kate McFadden, AARP's Business Operations Manager for Web Strategy & Operations in Washington, DC made the award presentations following student project presentations and demonstrations.

The award text was: "We three, Amy Lee, Kate McFadden, and Mike Lee, reviewed the projects considering AARP's current business situtation of internal organizational, and member needs and wants. We also debated the subjective qualitites of aesthetics in the project interfaces, and looked for evidence of understanding of the AARP mission and brand. While the web team is very responsible for completely understanding AARP's goals, our team is not typically involved in the selection of member services, products and discounts, and our choices do not necessarily reflect what those groups would find interesting."

"AARP Web Strategy & Operations wishes to thank Dr. Shneiderman and all the student groups for considering AARP's strategic needs in delivering social impact and member value to its constituency during the planning and development of your projects. We realize that a semester is not enough time to develop a market-ready prototype when you are a small team with limited resources that, in a few weeks, had to become subject matter experts, review scientific literature, assess the marketplace, define requirements to solve a user problem or need, design and prototype a user experience, and test it too! In light of the ambitious nature of ALL of the projects, we were impressed with the results overall."

And the winners:

3rd place - AARPG: AARP Game

The prototype for AARPG was an honest attempt at envisioning what an engaging game experience would be for AARP members, but missed an opportunity to provide a high score ranking to hook game players into repeat visits and build a competitive atmosphere amost all the registered players. However, we award this team third place because of their proactive involvement with our staff during the course of the semester. We feel that these face-to-face conversations with our staff and consultants provided the team with valuable real-world experience.

2nd place - DFS: Diabetes Forecast System

As stated earlier, we aren't medical experts, but we wanted to give an award to one of the mobile medical device/PDA prototypes as they are a significant platform in the marketplace. We simply liked the easy-on-the-eyes layout of the DFS user interface. The collapsible stacked menus were well-simulated in the Flash demo. We agree that the icons could use more refinement, but overall, the interface seemed to take the spirit of Palm and PocketPC interface guidelines.

1st place - Patient Information and Entertainment

We were most impressed with the overall DVD-type approach to managing multiple interactive tools for hospital patients in PIE.Though more work needs to be done to make the navigation scalable to accomodate more or different features, the network-connected nature of the system affords some huge opportunities to offer sponsored or advertising-supported services such as free web-based phone calls, two-way video teleconferencing with family members, and perhaps a connection to online multiplayer games (chess, for example). And AARP would want to be in the interface too! Cable companies would also be interested in this system as a portal to offer a version of their video and music-on-demand content.

In a follow-up email, McFadden wrote:
It was great meeting you and thank you for the opportunity for AARP to be involved with your class' project. I thoroughly enjoyed the presentations this morning and learned quite a bit as we reviewed the papers. They're all doing very exciting work!

last edited: 20.12.2005

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