Anyone who has ever been frustrated when they’re unable to easily get something accomplished with an app or website (Ticketmaster, we’re talking to you) has been a victim of a poor user experience. Bad UX can cause the loss of a sale and, over time, it can erode positive feelings a brand has been able to build (iTunes, we’re talking to you). In a time when people expect a higher level of service, utility, and enjoyment from their digital experiences, great UX is more necessary than ever.
Extra $45 fee for new students / non members included
Designing successful user experiences requires research, teamwork, creative thinking, evaluation and iteration — exactly the same methodologies that we’ll practice during this course. The goal will be to give you experience working in collaborative teams, and to develop an ability to apply UX fundamentals to your current and future work. Each class session will include a lecture, a group exercise, and take-home activities as we emphasize hands-on experience to help you master these topics:
- The purpose, theories, and processes of user experience
- Research and analysis
- Ideation and concept exploration
- Wireframes and Rapid Prototyping
- Usability Evaluation
- Becoming an advocate for user-centered design
Prerequisites – None
Who should take this class?
Detailed Class Outline
Please note that this section of the syllabus is subject to change throughout the course. The online syllabus will not necessarily be updated with changes once the course begins. Please refer to course handouts for the most current assignment details.
Week 1: Overview
Overview of Course
- Instructor and class introductions
- Review syllabus
- Discuss what people most want to get out of the course
Overview of UX
- What is “User Experience”?
- Why is it important?
- What is user-centered design?
The UX Design Process
- How do good designers create a great user experience?
- How do you know if a user experience is good or bad?
- A survey of design documentation methods
- The role of documentation in design
Exercise: Design Challenge
UX Research Introduction
- What is UX Research and why is it important?
- Survey of research methods
- Research Planning
Assignment: Teams will select from a list of software programs, hardware, websites, applications, or handheld devices. Teams will discuss anticipated or known issues with each experience. Before the next class, students will independently observe people using their chosen experience and will capture their thoughts about their experience.
Week 2: Research Analysis & Modeling
- Research Outcomes
- Personas and Scenarios
- Communicating your findings
- Making research have a lasting impact
- Common barriers to research
- How to fit in research when it seems impossible
- Some tools and services to consider
Design Patterns Introduction
- What are design patterns?
- Examples and sources of patterns
Exercise: Analysis of research findings, developing a user model, and defining design goals Assignment: Based on your findings, think about ways to improve the design of the user experience you observed last week. Sketch out some ideas and bring them to class on Week 3.
Week 3: The Design Process
Exercise: Team brainstorm, sketching, storyboarding and presentation Assignment: Select one or more key interactions in your storyboard and sketch out the screens to a level of detail that demonstrates how your solution will actually work.
Week 4: Prototyping Tools and Techniques
- Why we create prototypes
- Guiding principles
- Common pitfalls
- Survey of methods and tools
- Tool demonstrations
Exercise: Students select aspects of their team’s solution to prototype on their own.
Lab time: Start building a prototype
Assignment: Pick a prototyping method that interests you and try using it to develop your team’s prototype concept.
Week 5: Final Class
Volunteers present their prototypes to the class
Evangelizing user-centered design
- How to communicate UCD principles
- The business case for user-centered design
- Applications of user-centered design methodologies
Resources for getting deeper into UX
UX Experience and Career Advancement
Open forum for additional topics of interest
Course wrap up
- The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web, Jesse James Garrett
- Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning, Dan M. Brown
- Designing for the Digital Age: How to Create Human Centered Products and Services, Kim Goodwin
- About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design, Cooper, Reimann, and Cronin
- Designing Visual Interfaces, Mullet and Sano
- Designing the Obvious, Robert Hoekman, Jr.
- The Design of Everyday Things, Donald Norman
- Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, Steve Krug
- Prototyping : A Practitioner’s Guide, Warfel and Gray
- Remote Research: Real Users, Real Time, Real Research, Bolt and Tulathimutte
- Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research, Mike Kuniavsky
- Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design, Bill Buxton
- Understanding Your Users: A Practical Guide to User Experience Methods, Tools, and Techniques, Courage and Baxter