D&T Midterm Project Brief: Service Analysis ???‍?‍????

Resubmission Update (Posted November 16): You are welcome to resubmit your midterm for re-grading. Re-grading will take place as part of final evaluations in December. Each new point awarded will add 0.4 points to the midterm project grade.

  • Due as a blog post on October 20.
  • Presentations/Recordings on October 20, with 10/22 as a backup date. Please come to class ready to turn on your camera, even if you’re not presenting!
    I’ll check your blogs for essays, pictures, and recordings immediately after class on 10/20.
  • You can continue to revise your project until October 27 at 11:59 PM.
  • Grades will be disseminated to you by November 14. My grading rubric is here.
    I will submit midterm grades on Albert by the deadline of 11/16.


Choose 1 technology and 1 salient social identity (SSI), then conduct an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the technology in serving people with the SSI.

Planning Your Project

  • Choose a technology with which you’re familiar with both the front-end (UI) and back-end (code or hardware components).
    • It can be a software application, a hardware tool, or a hybrid system.
    • It can come from any sector including: medical/wellness, the natural and built environment, transportation, political, social, workplace, security, education, home, and media/games.
    • If you pick social media, you’ll need to demonstrate an understanding of how to use the technology’s API to analyze its data. See more info throughout this document, and use the “Links to Social Media APIs” at the bottom of this document.
  • Choose a single SSI. It can, but doesn’t have to, be your own SSI. Try to choose an SSI that is strongly impacted by your aspects of technology.
  • Plan to conduct at least 2 short interviews of people with the SSI who use the technology:
    • 1 interview can be with a friend or family member.
    • 1 interview must be with someone you don’t know (classmates can be a good source for this). As an alternative to a second interview, you can send out a survey that
      • Uses at least 8 questions to collect the information required for the interviews (see “Recap of User Interviews” below).
      • Is answered by at least 7 people with the SSI you chose, who use the technology you chose.

Written Essay: 1400+ words, 5+ Pictures. You are welcome to use the essay template here.

  • Technology Intro (175 words). Please include at least 1 picture representing the tech.
    • What is the technology?
    • Why is it made?
    • Who makes it? (Name the top producers)
    • Where is it made?
    • How is it made? How is it monitored and analyzed? Please include references to technical documentation (e.g. datasheets, code repositories, etc). If you chose social media, you must understand and substantively discuss relevant APIs; use the “Links to Social Media APIs” at the bottom of this document.
    • When has it been made, and has it evolved over time?
  • Salient social identity (175 words). Please include at least 1 picture representing the SSI.
    • Which SSI are you focusing on in this project?
    • Cite at least 1 statistic to define the social and/or economic disadvantages of your chosen SSI.
    • If your SSI is not a “protected identity” under New York or Federal law, please cite an additional 2 statistics (for a total of 3).
  • Recap of User Interviews. If possible, please include a picture representing each interviewee. (Learn more about the importance of interviews in the OpenIDEO Guide to Human-Centered Design).
    • Front-End (425 words). From your interviews, please explain:
      • What’s working in the front-end user interface?
      • What’s not working in the front-end user interface?
      • Are there additional financial, political, or other considerations when it comes to how your interviewees interface with the technology?
    • Back-End (425 words).
      • What’s working in the underlying functionality?
      • What’s not working? Does the technology ever break, have glitches, or require technical support specific to your SSI?
      • Are there additional financial, political, or other considerations when it comes to how your interviewees interface with the technology?
    • If you conduct a survey instead of the second interview, please include a link to the survey questions.
  • Wrap-Up (200 words, and 1 representative image): If you were to continue the project, what would be the next steps? For instance:
    • If your interviewees have the same, strong opinions, that could indicate a next step would be to develop a concept for a solution. What that solution might be?
    • If your interviewees had different opinions, perhaps more user research would be needed. What would that look like?
    • Note that if you chose social media, you must discuss next steps by writing pseudocode that uses the relevant APIs (use the “Links to Social Media APIs” at the bottom of this document).
  • Extra Credit: Please include an Acknowledgements section where you thank anyone who helped you, directly or indirectly. This can include ancestors, makers of knowledge, etc.

Please also include an MLA-formatted bibliography (Works Cited List) that cites as least 3 sources, including 1 book from the class book list. Please be sure to evaluate your sources for accuracy, objectivity, and potential bias; this NYU Guide may be helpful, and the class book list has further bias-related resources/tips. You are also welcome to cite other articles previously used and/or discussed in class.

Please: Proofread!

Please don’t forget to proofread your essay for grammar and spelling. If you need help on this, please talk to the NYU Tandon Writing Center and/or ask a friend to help you. GrammarlyMentorMyWriting, and even Google Docs’ grammar checks may also be useful resources.

Presentation: Live or Recorded

  • On October 20, please be prepared to
    • present for a total of 3 minutes (will not be recorded) OR
    • upload a 3-minute pre-recorded video presentation before class on October 20. Please try to put your face on camera for at least a few moments. Please upload to Google Drive (or wherever you like) and add a link to your blog. If you are not making the video public, double-check that Prof D has permission to view the video.

Social Media: API+Pseudocode Requirement

If you chose a social media technology, you must be able to understand, use and substantively discuss its API(s) as a method for acquiring and analyzing social media data. If you use any of the following products, you must discuss content from the following API docs. You must be able to use the API documentation to write pseudocode as part of your project. For an example, please refer to my API+Pseudocode document for a sample project.