The Project

A niche calculator for Algebra I that addresses the needs of teachers who are reluctant to use current calculators because they are too hard to use, or do too much.

Our Team

Rob Adams

Greg Li

Neema Moraveji

Jane Ngai

Sonia Wendorf




This calculator was our capstone project course for our Masters of Human-Computer Interaction degree. We followed a user-centered design process that involved extensive user research, interaction design, prototyping, and user testing.

Our Mission

Design an unintimidating, desirable and easy-to-learn calculator that students and teachers can confidently use to learn and teach Algebra I.


We came up with several design ideas, briefly described here, and described in more detail on the features page.


pan & zoom

Form factor,

button layout



Formula library

Options Button


More Ideas

Executive Summary

The research and designs presented in this project fall under five major themes: usability, graphing, simplification, learning, and form. The number of features supported by the calculator was cut in half to create a less intimidating interface and contextually-relevant menus replaced stagnant ones to improve overall usability. The graphing interface was streamlined by removing the link between Stat Plot and Lists, letting users adjust a graph's equation in real-time, and providing hard buttons for Zoom and Pan. The calculator was simplifed by removing features that made concepts unnecessarily complex such as supporting multiple lists and a 2ND button. Some exploration into using the calcaulator as a learning tool was made by user testing applications such as factoring and symbol manipulation. Several forms were iterated upon and user tested, resulting in the sliding form factor illustrated in this report.

Usability: Unintimidating, accessible, centralized & contextual

Graphing: Streamlined, instant feedback

Simplify: single list, focused feature set, no 2nd

Learning: expert reviews, scaffolding, checking answers

Form: compact hidden buttons, desirable