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COMP 361: Assignment 3 Reflection

         I was off to a rocky start with the assignment. I wasn’t sure how to, for instance, distinguish between devices, clear enough, and mechanisms. Are the mechanisms the messages? Or are the any physical device underpinnings or software? After some clarification I went with messages for system inputs and added very brief descriptions onto the devices for how they access the system. Thinking through the devices need was a good exercise in trying to think outside of my experience with the system and how others might access it. Another thought I had was what other inputs could be used if the system were to be updated.

         The outputs were easy to identify after getting the inputs done, with an almost one-to-one relationship with inputs. However, not all inputs need an output, so I doubled checked my lost to ensure there wasn’t a message being returned that didn’t need to. Additionally, some of the outputs to the user are from system processing and intercommunication. I suggest thinking of how the system would know and present information to the user that they would like to know before they would think about it (if that makes sense).

         The best part of this assignment was the storyboard. After reading the discussion forum for this assignment, an application was suggested to make the images for the storyboard: Balsamiq Wireframes ( You can try it free for 30 days. It was very intuitive and saved me plenty of time creating the storyboard. Also, designing the user interface, thinking about the user interacting and the system responding was a great exercise and lead to some insights there were not related to this assignment. I have put together some websites in the past and this tool would have been great to think through my general design and flow. Wireframe could be a useful tool in the future as well.

         It was hard to write the essay question because of finding another reference. At the time of writing, the Athabasca Library is experiencing problems with their database connections. This makes it hard to stay logged in and get results even when following their advice (window in private mode, erase cookies, use link on library website to log in). The library search engine stalls and becomes unresponsive. I turned to Google Scholar to help me search for academic papers or textbooks to help round out my knowledge. However, not all papers on there are free and filtering results isn’t as intuitive as on the Library, but this is arguably because of familiarity. Some of the databases right now are allowing free access, due to COVID-19, but that might not last long enough to be marked and have a reference be able to be backtracked. Thankfully, I was able to get the Library interface to work long enough to find a reference. I share this mainly to say to others: If you are experiencing problems with this, so was I. Sorry, I didn’t find a solution, but please share one if you did.


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