The process

Here you can read how this blog was created.

1. The project: What were we supposed to do?

The requirements concerning the project according to the course guide

2. Brainstorming first ideas

We asked ourselves several questions:

  • What are we interested in?
  • In which areas do we have prior knowledge?
  • What matches the course criteria best?

… and the answers led to this draft:

Notes on our project from class

As you can see, we decided to focus on smart homes and Apple’s new “Home” app in particular. We wanted to visualize certain scenarios such as: What happens if the app breaks down? Who gets the user’s data?

3. Constraints

Highly motivated, we thought of thrilling visualizations: For example, a digital house furnished with smart devices that do all kinds of stuff when you push a button, but then the next question came up?

  • Do we have all the necessary skills?

So we had to remember what we are good at and came up with a more realistic compromise. This was our project proposal.

4. Our project proposal – or: the preliminary project

An excerpt from our project proposal

The blue remark shows our project. We focussed on privacy issues and planned to create an interactive Powerpoint presentation.

Marked in red, another problem came up.

5. Data problems

How exactly where we going to get the data? In class, we heard about applications that track data trackers and we thought that something like this probably exists for apps, too.

So we did some research:

A screenshot from one of our documents listing potentially useful apps

But we did not find such apps for iOS (which was what we needed because “Home” is iOS-only).

We tried contacting several experts. Unfortunately, we just got one reply and this was rather disillusioning: He did not know of a fitting app either.

Then we decided to work with what is available to us: Apple’s privacy statements, academia, and our minds.

6. The project takes its final shape…

Soon we got much more information than we thought. It became clear then that our project would not just be a website with an interactive Powerpoint, but a multifaceted blog featuring several kinds of visualizations. The flow charts, for instance:

  • Creating the flowcharts
Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4 (result)

7. Presenting what we created

All groups had to present their project in class. So we gave a tour through our blog.

8. An in-depth project report

Lastly, we had to hand in a project report, which you can find here. We hope you enjoy our project as much as we did!


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