Appendix 3. Design Ideas for Design Situations

This page lists a few possible system situations that you may want to use for starting your design project. Of course, many other projects are possible. You may suggest your own project, but get permission of the T.A. and/or instructor just to make sure you are on the right track. You may also suggest projects that complement work done in other courses, with permission of both instructors.

Important: Ideal projects are ones that you personally find interesting. These projects will have users you can talk to, requires some transaction processing, and will require a modest level of design sophistication. Ideal projects will also deal with fairly simple situations---avoid complex domains (that rules out air-traffic control systems :-) ). Ideal projects will also be something you can relate to. Look at things that you and your friends do (e.g., in part-times jobs), or that family members do (e.g., as part of their work). Also, consider non-work fields: recreation; systems for kids; education.

Be creative!

Some ideas.

Your company is about to design, build, and market a new software system based upon one of the following ideas:

  • A photographer with a huge set of photos in her stock library wants an on-line system to help her track the photos (which includes adding and deleting photos) and to manage sales of them.
  • A digital camera company wants a system that they can give to customers. The system would be used by customers to do photo management; photo browsing; photo albums; slide shows.
  • A medical clinic wants to give its front line staff something that helps them manage patient requests for appointments with particular doctors.
  • A video store wants to provide a system that lets customers and staff browse, check out and check in video tapes.
  • A bus company wants to decrease line-ups for clerks at a bus terminal. Their idea is to allow travelers to look up major route schedules, book tickets, and pay for them via a debit card on computers located in the terminal building.
  • A cellular phone company has developed a handheld phone with a high resolution but very small display (about 10 text lines would visible). They want you to design a call management system for it i.e., address / phone book, rapid redial, etc. People must be able to alter this information on their phone as well (you can simulate a handheld device on your screen).
  • A real estate company wants to let computer-knowledgeable customers browse through home listings from their homes. Their idea is that customers with Internet access can download a client program. The program lets customers indicate properties of homes they are interested in, view details of homes that fit these criteria, and select ones that they may be interested in visiting with a realtor.
  • A theatre wants to develop a new ticketing system for their clerks. Through the clerks, customers order tickets for various events. The clerk responds to customer requests for information as well as actual ticket reservations and sales via the system.
  • A gas station wants to computerize its manual system, where attendants can use the machine to observe the pumps, to collect payment for gas and other supplies, to track air-miles, and so on.
  • A sales office wants to supply its sales staff with PDAs that helps them track their customers (and that updates information about them) and that helps them process orders in the field.
  • A telephone company wants to create a dedicated screen-based telephone system for home use, where it integrates all the services now commonly found on telephone / computer / paper. The company is also looking for new features that would help them market this system as an innovative product.