Interaction Design and Prototyping
Undergraduate course, SMU
Information systems are by necessity highly structured and predictable. Human life, on the other hand, is messy and unpredictable. When we try to fit human life into the structures expected by information systems, problems are inevitable. Interaction Design is a collection of tools for tackling these problems. When applied well, these tools can help you to build information systems that are useful, usable, and a pleasure to use.
Interaction design is an iterative process. Each iteration has three stages:
- Observation: We watch what users do to determine their needs. Watching is essential, because users often do not know or cannot express what they need.
- Prototyping: We collect our design ideas into representations that users can interact with. Prototypes vary from very rough (low-fidelity) to more polished (high-fidelity).
- Evaluation: We learn how well our design is meeting users’ needs. There are many evaluation strategies that vary by accuracy and cost of execution.
Because this is an iterative process, we do not seek a perfect solutions. Instead, we focus early iterations on the most important problems, building inexpensive prototypes, and conducting fast evaluations. In later iterations, we use methods that take more effort to apply, but give more robust results.
This course will teach you how to lead a professional interaction design project. You and your project group will learn the the interaction design process as you design an application of your own choosing. The project is divided into two “iterations,” due in week 6, and 13.
Each class session comprises of (online) lectures and exercises that introduce tools and design concepts that you will apply in your project and “studio,” where you will have the opportunity to discuss your project with your peers and the teaching staff. Your understanding of these tools and concepts will be assessed in (online) tests during the semester.