Digital Door Sign Project

Table of Contents

Project Objective: Purpose

The purpose is to investigate, prototype, and deploy a web-based "door sign" for staff in Computer Science Computing Facility. The goal is to usefully supplement the door signs we use to inform clients where to find us and when we'll be back. It will be up to managers whether the door sign can replace the existing paper sign, or if both need to be updated.

An initial version will be prototyped using React and Flask, and staff will be surveyed for recommendations to make it easier to use. If possible, these improvements will be implemented and we will deploy fairly rapidly (in October 2019?).

Project Scope/Deliverables

The high-level outcomes and results of this project are as follows:
  • this project plan and timeline
  • a postgres database schema for this project
  • a web interface implemented with React and Flask - also serving as an introduction to React and Flask.
  • feedback: user-testing and staff interviews to identify improvements that are "critical" and "nice to have"
  • a decision from CSCF Management about deployment. If we go ahead:
    • deployment on the CS webservers and postgres server
    • client-facing user documentation will be written, plus developer documentation for later improvements.

Scope Includes/Excludes


  • all critical features identified during user testing
  • features we identify as "nice to have" that are quick to implement.


  • features we identify as "nice to have" that will take significant development time.
    • A feature that would be nice but time-consuming: can we access staff calendar "Free/Busy" timing to automatically update their sign? There is an API to do this for Outlook but would involve unknown development time to implement.
  • features that are critical for users outside of CS - in other words, this version is for CS; if it's useful more broadly, that's great, but we won't put extra time into features for non-CS users.
  • not currently looking at a deployment that requires hardware on everyone's door- but that may be a future plan. For now, there will be a QR-code people can put on their door, for people to look them up. Managers might decide staff can stop using the paper version and only have the digital sign. If not, staffers have to update both their door sign and the digital version.


  • this is meant to be foremost an educational project for our new co-op, and secondarily as a tool to be deployed.

Assumptions and Risks

  • Assumption: a fairly simple user-interface will be useful
  • Risk: staff find this more annoying than just updating their door manually, because they have to do both.
  • Risk: visitors find this more annoying because the physical sign says someone is in, but they aren't, so the visitor needs to pull up a webpage for accurate information.

Project Members

drallen (project manager), a9pathak, jhvisser for technical advice, lfolland as a project end-user

Project Stakeholders

CSCF staff, and CSCF clients.

Project Sponsor

Lawrence Folland


Implementation Plan

  • 2019-09-09 - 2019-09-13: Anoushka digs into learning React, Flask, and related technologies, and starts prototyping the web UI
  • 2019-09-16 - 2019-09-27: development; "first sprint"
  • 2019-09-30 - 2019-10-18: "second sprint" if necessary- possibly complete app; we have user feedback and suggested improvements


-- DanielAllen - 2019-08-30

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Topic revision: r6 - 2019-11-19 - DanielAllen
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