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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jason Levine
COM 597
Seattle Campus

Special Topics in Communication

Class description

Overview What makes interactive experiences compelling and how are they designed? This course analyzes existing interfaces, discusses what makes them effective, and provides an overview of tools and theories that guide user experience designers in their practice. Students will be introduced to information architecture (wireframes, sitemaps), information design (information graphics) and visual design (composition, typography, composition, color) and encouraged to apply their learning towards practical design assignments. Our focus is on computer interfaces but is not limited to its traditional “keyboard/mouse/monitor” triangle, as we will also discuss innovative consumer products such as Kinect. Interactivity Design: Usability will provide good foundation for discussion in this class but is not required. A basic understanding of Adobe Creative Suite software, CSS or Visio is helpful, but not necessary for success in this course.

Student learning goals

Effectively break down the nature of an application's functionality through its primary contexts for interaction, as well as its menus or navigation system

Define and clearly present both simple and complex workflows and, thus, facilitate users’ tasks

Define user interactions that are consistent with best practices or highly intuitive—and, thus, easy to learn—and easy to use

Specify behaviors that clearly communicate an application’s responses to user interactions

Identify primary audiences and their needs

Recognize the aspects of brand and its value to an organization

General method of instruction

The first weeks of the class will be spent learning the aspects, deliverables and methodologies of interactive design through the UX process by following a real-world case study. Once the class has mastered the basics, you will then be assigned your own Course Project to prototype. Students will be required to build many of the previously discussed deliverables by discussing them in the class and collaborating with other students, grouped into teams. Design capabilities are not needed for the Course Project. Assessment will be based on your Course Project's proposed UX Strategy.

Recommended preparation

Many of the lectures require your participation by referencing or researching while in class. You will be required to bring a laptop with you to each class.

Recommended Reading: • Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition by Steve Krug • The Psychology Of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman • Visual Thinking: for Design by Colin Ware

Required Software: • Microsoft Office • A tool for prototyping using one of the following o Axure o OmniGraffle o Visio o Balsamiq o MockFlow o Adobe InDesign o Adobe Illustrator o PowerPoint (if cost is a factor)

Class assignments and grading

• The success of this class depends on you. Attendance and participation are required. You will be called on to comment. You will be asked to lead discussions. Be ready. Participation and team collaboration make up 30% of your grade. • Another 30% of your grade is based on completion of your weekly exercises. • You will be required to collaborate within teams. It will be important to learn how to work together and contribute. • Links, content and comments on the week’s topics are to be posted on the class site/workspace. This counts as participation. • The final is a 10-minute presentation based on original research, followed by a Q&A from the class and instructor. All presentations will be done on May 30th. The final project is 40% of the grade.

The first weeks of the class will be spent learning the aspects, deliverables and methodologies of interactive design through the UX process by following a real-world case study. Once the class has mastered the basics, you will then be assigned your own Course Project to prototype. Students will be required to build many of the previously discussed deliverables by discussing them in the class and collaborating with other students, grouped into teams. Design capabilities are not needed for the Course Project. Assessment will be based on your Course Project's proposed UX Strategy.


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 Jason Levine
Date: 03/22/2012