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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Axel Roesler
DESIGN 383
Seattle Campus

Foundations of Interaction Design

Focus on human-to-product interaction and ways we perceive, understand, and experience the world in regard to objects, environments, or on-screen controls/information. Prerequisite: DESIGN 211; DESIGN 212.

Class description

By designing interfaces, designers create a environment for interactions between people and artifacts and turn operations into experiences. This class introduces students with techniques, knowledge, and models for the design of interactive systems. The class focuses on the problem of representing, organizing, and addressing functions, information and affordances for interactions, resulting in experiences of use. A series of lectures, discussions, and small projects explore the role of interaction designers in the development of interactive products, systems, and services. Students will learn how to research, design, and integrate interfaces into the context of future use. We will examine the design of interactive systems in the context of design practice in Visual Communication Design, Industrial Design, Human-Computer Interaction, Computer Science, and Engineering and explore the intersections between interaction design and HCI research

Four charettes will introduce the foundations of human-centered interaction design process leading from understanding an application context across ideation into the conceptual design of interactive systems. 

Student learning goals

By the end of this course, you will be familiar with the basic concepts, techniques, and knowledge behind human-centered interaction design:

Readings will introduce you to knowledge about the foundational aspects behind interactive systems in everyday environments and expert domains. The class will prepare you to distinguish between complicated and compact interaction design problems and will provide you with skills and knowledge to calibrate appropriate design responses.

General method of instruction

A series of compact interface design projects initiates questioning existing solutions and revisiting them from a human-centered design perspective. The class has an emphasis on lectures, presentations, class discussions, and readings.

Four short design projects will allow you to become familiar with basic interaction design techniques such as developing conceptual models of an interaction design problem, mocking up promising design directions, and testing actual performance of a design concept in the form of prototypes.

The interdisciplinary format of the class will provide you with plenty opportunities to learn about a variety of fields that participate in the design of interactive systems. This cross-disciplinary perspective prepares you to understand others’ understanding, vital in complex interaction design problems where you will work as a designer in a team of various experts from other interaction design related fields.

Recommended preparation

This class is targeted at students from all majors interested in Interaction Design. Contact me (roesler@u.washington.edu) for an add code if you don't meet the prerequisites. The add code will override all prerequisites

Class assignments and grading

Grades are based on the quality of work, your process throughout all aspects of assigned projects, and in-class participation in discussions and critiques. Projects / Assignments 50% Participation 50%

3.9-4.0 The highest possible performance in all aspects of the course with work exemplifying exceptional quality. Exhibits outstanding creative potential.

3.5-3.8 Exhibits creative potential with superior performance in most aspects of the course; high quality in the remainder. Well prepared for subsequent courses in the field.

3.2-3.4 High performance in most aspects of the course. Very good chance of success in subsequent courses in the field. Exhibits some creative potential.

2.9-3.1 Good performance in some of the course; satisfactory performance in the remainder. Exhibits some creative potential. Good chance of success in subsequent courses in the field.

2.5-2.8 Demonstrates the minimum amount of research needed to complete the course with satisfactory performance.

2.2-2.4 Met basic requirements in most of the course, with the remainder being somewhat substandard. 1.9-2.1 Evidence of some learning but generally substandard performance. Marginal chance of success in subsequent courses in field.

0.7-1.8 Little evidence of learning. Poor performance in all aspects of the


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Axel Roesler
Date: 05/14/2013