iSchool Capstone

2015

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Wikitree

Wikitree is a web application built to help undergraduates with their research. Wikitree tracks and organizes the user’s browsing history through Wikipedia articles. Wikitree is unique because it emphasizes mental connections the user makes on their journey. Wikitree aims to stay adaptable for each individual’s research goals. Our research and user testing revealed many struggles. Undergraduates struggle to dive deep into one topic while staying aware of the big picture. They struggle to mentally categorize connections between different topics during early stages of research. They struggle with feeling overwhelmed by the amount of material encountered, and finding a clear vision within. Wikitree acts as an aid for the user in tracking their explorations. The visualization helps users maintain a high level overview, preventing them from feeling overwhelmed, getting sidetracked, or losing sight of their goals. Special thanks: Mike Freeman, Jeffrey Heer, Jessica Hullman, David McDonald, David Stearns, and Jevin West.
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WWU Financial Aid Website Redesign

The financial aid process is full of esoteric rules and regulations. Students on financial aid, who are considering dropping a class, must navigate a complex process. Without realizing it, students can inadvertently set off a chain of events that can jeopardize their ability to continue to attend college. Our tool guides students through this complexity by tailoring a series of questions to fit their situation. Easy to navigate and available to explore, our tool empowers students to investigate the consequences of their decisions. We want students to understand how they might be impacted by financial aid details and what they can do about it. In addition, to improve the overall findability of the financial aid website, we designed an improved navigational framework that allows students to quickly find answers to questions without having to contact the financial aid office. We're excited to show you how our work has brought a touch of simplicity to a complex situation.
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You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers: Building a Sustainable FAQ for UW Libraries

University of Washington (UW) Libraries supports both online and residential users with an abundance of resources and services. However, users often struggle with how to access, use, and apply these tools. As a means to support these users, UW Libraries created a “How Do I” guide. But as time went on, the guide became outdated, difficult to navigate, and time-consuming to use. In collaboration with the UW Libraries Online Learning Subcommittee, we developed an FAQ, targeting the most common struggles affiliated with using UW Libraries research tools and other affiliated tasks. The result is an FAQ that is up-to-date and easy for the user to navigate. Documentation created by the Capstone Team enables librarians to quickly and easily update the guide as needed, matching the language, styling and functional layout already in place. Moving forward, UW Libraries is well equipped with a sustainable, yet adaptable source for users to consult.
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Zip Code Manager

Zillow is an online real-estate service that offers renters and homeowners a variety of information surrounding property availability and pricing. Boasting data on over 100 million homes, Zillow is currently one of the largest online real-estate companies in the world. Predicting future home purchasing trends across different geographic regions is critical for Zillow’s success in meeting the shifting needs and interests of its consumers. Using insight derived from user search behavior on the Zillow platform, we created a clustering algorithm that provides Zillow’s data analytics team with a continuous snapshot of relevant, accurate trends in how users’ property preferences change or remain similar across zip code regions and time. Our insight into renter and homeowner search behavior enables Zillow to better predict the interests of its consumers; make smarter market suggestions to existing Zillow real estate partners; and gain a competitive edge in the real-estate information business.

2014

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A Design and Delivery Process for User Experience Projects

The current user experience (UX) landscape has seen a shift from the classic days of Garrett and Norman. UX designers invariably experiment with approaches resulting in a slew of methodologies. In an effort to unify the best practices among these, we devised a model that encompasses strategic alignment of organizational resources, market trend analysis and stakeholder buy-in. To pilot test our hypothesis we worked with University of Washington Information Technology (UW-IT) on redesigning the online course registration system. By performing a heuristic evaluation and connecting with users to understand the as-is system, we envisioned what the to-be system needs to accomplish. A proposal was prepared to seek management approval. Thus through the application of the model we were able to provide UW-IT with a feasible design proposal that met user and organizational needs. The pilot test indicates that this methodology provides an effective UX strategy that can help reduce development cost.
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A History of Literary Warrant in Information Science Literature

An understanding of the concepts and problems currently being addressed by information scientists can only be whole if the foundations of these concepts are known. For my Capstone, I am tracing the path of the concept of “literary warrant” in classification of knowledge from its genesis in 1911 to its resurgence in the 1990s and early 2000s as the basis of a method for domain analysis. In my overview of the literature I find that the concept of literary warrant is periodically dropped and then arrived at independent of its originators and past authors, which signifies gaps in the information science literature that will ultimately do harm to its academic progress. In order to advance evenly and sustainably, a discipline must have a tradition of knowing its past, the lack of which information science has suffered from in this particular case study.
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Actionable Evidence in the Wake of Anti-Forensic Activity on Windows 8 Systems

Forensic examiners and legal professionals must stay abreast of new technologies while adhering to sound practices required to satisfy evidentiary requirements in court. The widespread adoption of a new operating system and browser bears enormous importance for the digital forensic community. Specifically, the impact of Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10 is especially dramatic with their range of new features. Our research encompasses the technical forensic considerations and the legal concerns that arise when dealing with anti-forensic activity and contemporary systems. It serves as an overarching, practical resource for forensic practitioners and legal professionals. We provide an overview of the forensically relevant changes with Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10, and then investigate the potential for recovery of valuable evidence under forensically challenging circumstances. Finally, we offer insight into the evidentiary treatment and legal ramifications of live acquisition of evidence and antiforensic activity.
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Alaska Airlines Carry-On Bag Predictive Analysis

After Oct. 30th, 2013, Alaska Airlines began to charge passengers $25 each for the first and second checked bags, so a lot more passengers started to carry their bags on the flight. Since then passengers constantly experienced flight delay due to the fact that too many carry-on bags cannot be stowed in the limited overhead bins. If the approximate number of “problematic” carry-on bags of each flight can be known in advance, Alaska Airline can prepare much earlier to avoid flight delay. Based on the flight and baggage data from August 2013 to February 2014, our project right there to help solve this problem. We identify several interesting patterns from the data, like the flights to Canada have more “problematic” carry-on bags than others, and furthermore we design a statistic model for predicting the approximate number of bags which should be claimed at the gate to avoid the delay problem.
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American Cartography in the 19th and 20th Centuries

The Digital Public Library of America is a super-aggregator of metadata with over one million digital items available to the public, made possible through a content hub/partnership model. Digitized content from an extensive, nationwide network of small regional institutions and large digital libraries is accessible to end users through a single access point: the DPLA homepage. Through Omeka -- the online content management and digital exhibition platform -- and in accordance to DPLA guidelines, our team designed an exhibit based on the subject of Cartography composed of four sub-sections, called themes. Each theme uses high-quality images telling stories of struggles for power, scrambles for land, and desires for tangible knowledge of a vast and exciting new world. Through extensive research, rigorous editorial decisions, and meticulous metadata entry, we curated an informative, visually engaging collection highlighting forty incredible images available through the Digital Public Library of America.
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An Assessment of the University of Washington Libraries' Virtual Reference Service

This project attempts to assess the virtual reference services of the University of Washington. The service offers students, staff, and faculty 24/7 access to librarians and advanced graduate students from the UW as well as librarians from across the country, in order to have their information needs answered as fast as possible. With access to OCLC’s Question Point, I looked at a sample of chats that occurred during weeks one, five, and ten of Winter Quarter 2014. Chats were coded according to the category of questions, READ Level, time of day, and session time, and an analysis of the data showed that the majority of questions were labelled as either General Information or Known Item Searches. This could be due to a number of factors, including website design, gaps in information literacy instruction, as well as the recent migration of the UW Library’s catalog to Ex Libris’ Primo and ALMA. In addition to the transcript coding and analysis, I conducted a literature review to gauge what has been written in regards to the evolution of virtual reference services, from overviews of its effect on libraries to best practices of assessment and implementation.