Project 1 - Shower the People 

Due - 2/8/16 at 8:59pm Chicago time

Project 1 will give you a chance to program a small interface and get used to html and JavaScript before we break into groups and proceed onto Project 2.

In homework 1 you took a look at the current variety of controls for a shower / bath. In this assignment you are going to design and implement a more futuristic interface to solve those needs. As we move towards homes that have more computer controls (lighting, temperature, door locks, doorbells, alarms, music, etc) at some point that kind of technology will move into the bathroom.

While it is conceivable that you could control your bath / shower from your phone or watch, we are going to create a system where all the controls are external to the user and placed on the wall, as they are now, just with much more technology backup.

Assume that you are creating the user interface for a typical shower / bath combination in that you have water that can come out of a shower head for a shower or a lower spout to fill the bath, but that there are no physical controls aside from maybe physically angling the shower head to get the water where you want it - all of the controls are going to be touch-based on the walls. You can decide whether you want to use 1, 2, or 3 walls for the controls - we will assume the 4th wall is a shower curtain or door or some other non-technological surface. The bathtub itself, sitting below the displays, will have no display surfaces or touch controls.

Your project will be run and evaluated on the wall in the classroom running a modern chrome browser. No matter whether you decide to have your controls on 1, 2, or 3 walls, you should show all 3 walls in the interface. You should also show where the shower head and the lower spout are in your interface. You will create a public webpage for your user interface so all we need to do is point the chrome browser running on the classroom wall to your webpage. You REALLY REALLY REALLY should check your interface on the actual wall before its time to turn it in.

You should start with a basic layout like this with the three walls and the shower head and spout shown. Assume the top of the tub is just below the bottom of the display.

Based on your work on homework 1 and your in class discussions with others about homework 1, you should have a pretty good idea about the basic needs of this interface. The user wants to quickly, easily, painlessly take a shower or bath at their favorite temperature and shower head (spray) settings.

You should start by coming up with some sketches of what your interface could look like. Try some of your ideas out in the shower / bath. Get feedback from your friends.

Here are some additional requirements:

Implementing that interface well gets you a C. To get an A or a B you need to add at least five more additional functions and create a really good user interface.

Some other things you could add (and feel free to add good ideas of your won)

clearly you are not going to be turning physical water on and off through your interface, though you should show whether water is coming out of the shower head or faucet if the user has told it to - e.g. you could change the color of the shower head or spout in the interface, or have some cute animation of water. You do NOT need to run a simulation in the background for the amount and heat of water in the system, but your interface should react to the user and change its state appropriately as the user interacts with it.

you can use static mock-ups of the time, calendar, weather, music data or use live data that you query. Either way the display and interface should match the rest of your interface and not look like it was cut and pasted out of some other application.

Implementing Project 1

There are various libraries for drawing and interacting in modern web pages. For this project we are going to use fabric.js - Fabric is a fairly simple way to draw on an HTML5 canvas, but more importantly for this class it builds interaction in, making it easier to re-position elements on the fly while developing to quickly try out new ideas. It is explicitly not a GUI builder. This is a shower, not a laptop, so you should not be constrained by interface elements designed for other platforms. The user interface should be suitable for everyone, not just people who are familiar with computers, or even tablets and their user interfaces.

You may use other publicly available JavaScript libraries for any specialized networking, sound, or data handling, but not for interactive graphics. You can use applications like Photoshop or illustrator to create images to use in your interface. If you have questions about whether a particular tool is legal, ask first.

Here is some code to get you started (and a version scaled for the classroom wall)

The total screen size in the classroom is roughly 8196 x 2188 (which is almost the same aspect ratio as two HD monitors side by side), but we will not be using the entire wall. For the shower/bath itself you should assume the physical wall area you are working on is 160 cm (5.25') for the length of the tub, and 75 cm (2.5') for the width of the tub, and the walls are 170 cm (5.6') tall. We can pretty much do this life size in the classroom with a canvas size of 3650 x 2000.

Each person will work individually on this project; this project is NOT a team project.

It is expected that all of the code used in these programs will be written by you. You can use code from the web as examples and a guide to writing your code, but the code you turn in for the project must be your own.

Any code, images, icons, or other elements borrowed from others must be fully cited in your application itself and on your webpage documentation.

I would advise that you look into getting a public webpage up quickly either through UIC or google or a provider of your choice, and start testing your interface on that website as well as locally. The page must remain visible and accessible to everyone in the class until the term ends.

Some other thoughts on JavaScript and HTML5:

Turning in Project 1

You should create a set of public web pages (available to anyone for the duration of the course) that describe your work on the project. This should include:

all of which should have plenty of screenshots with meaningful captions. Web pages like this can be very helpful later on in helping you build up a portfolio of your work when you start looking for a job so please put some effort into it.

You should also create a 2-3 minute YouTube video showing the use of your application including narration with decent audio quality. That video should be in a very obvious place on your main project web page. The easiest way to do this is to use a screen-capture tool while interacting with the application, though you will most likely find its useful to do some editing afterwards to tighten the video up. Its also a good idea to have a video like this available as a backup during your presentation just in case of gremlins. You can also shoot your video on the classroom wall if you wish.

The web page including screen snapshots and video need to be done by the deadline so be sure to leave enough time to get that work done. Once you have your webpage done, send the URL to andy before the deadline. I will respond to this email as your 'receipt'.

I will be linking your web page to the course notes so please send me a nice representative jpg or png image of your application for the web. This should be named p1.<your_last_name>.<your_first_name>.jpg or p1.<your_last_name>.<your_first_name>.png and be roughly 1024 x 768 in size.

Presenting Project 1

An important part of creating user interfaces is getting feedback and using it to improve your design. Given the class size, this can be a bit of a challenge. On 2/9 and 2/11, after the project has been turned in, we will have some group discussions and presentations about the solutions to Project 1.

On Tuesday 2/9 the class will break into groups. Each group will compare notes on their solutions to the problem and come to an agreement on a single revised interface design, so bring printed screenshots of your design to this class meeting (the web pages you created to turn in the assignment should be able to do double-duty here). This revised design does not have to be implemented; it should be presented as a series of screen snapshots / mockups for the major functions. It is expected that this design will not be the same as any of the previous designs - your goal is not to pick the best previous design - your goal is to come up with a new best design that is better than any of the previous ones.

Before Thursday's class on 2/11 each group should create a web page with the team members' names, the screen snapshots for the revised design, and a description of how the revised interface will be used. The address of this page should be emailed to the TA before class begins on Thursday.

On Thursday 2/11 each of the groups will give a presentation on the revised interface that their group came up with, using their web page, showing the snapshots and giving a brief description of its functionality. The length of the presentation will be determined once we know the number of groups, but most likely around 5 minutes.

Very likely later on in the term the class will break into different groups and revise these revised designs again, so keep them around.

last updated 1/17/16