Reflections on HW1

Mick McQuaid



Read the fine manual!

  • Only one group convinced me that they read all the specs!
  • There’s not supposed to be padding in the specs
  • That means you should parse them carefully

Think about stakeholders

  • Customers, sure
  • Competitors
  • Clients who manage customers
  • Suppliers


You didn’t say enough in HW1

  • You probably have ideas, but what are they?
  • Most of your explanations are vague

Conversation with me based on feedback

  • Don’t tell me you’re ready to go without following up
  • Use office hours or brief emails

Conversation with others

  • Talk to each other: Discord, FtoF
  • Talk to your family and friends
  • You’ll be surprised by the volume of feedback you can get
  • You don’t need much output to start a conversation


You don’t have any!

  • Or they’re not very specific
  • You need them so you don’t need them
  • You probably won’t enforce them
  • They need to be measurable


Too narrow

  • You want to slightly modify something bad
  • You have a todo list of fixes
  • You’re playing it too safe
  • There’s no journey here

Too wide

  • The next Spotify
  • Something a large team took years to do
  • Something that needs partners


Too technical

  • It depends too much on what the coders can do
  • You can easily make something that would work, if only …

Too marketing

  • It depends too much on good marketing
  • You’re challenging Spotify or some similarly large entity


Extra work

  • Should I give you credit for making personas?
  • Should I downgrade you for not doing them as well as perhaps you could?
  • Better not to include extras but instead try to get the milestone right


  • You don’t get extra credit for a nice website
  • To me, it’s just an information container
  • But to a recruiter, it may mean more
  • You may want to make it easy to navigate in any case

Discovering problems

  • Should I praise you for discovering problems?
  • Should I downgrade you for depicting your targets as idiots?
  • Be nice

Goals for HW2

Start a conversation

  • Make your prototype so it inspires people to talk about it
  • Worst thing would be to make it slick
  • Worst question they could ask would be “wow, how did you do that?”

Recognize constraints

  • Design is all about constraints
  • You have to understand then to work with them
  • If you’re lucky, you’ll find synergy

Make choices

  • Don’t be tempted to turn in everything you did
  • In your choice lies your talent
  • Don’t be afraid to throw away yesterday’s rehearsal
  • The best work happens after you throw some things away