Design for mobile

June-July 2015, Monday/Wednesday evenings : Graphics 410, Design for Mobile Applications, Sanford-Brown Seattle

This course leverages student multimedia knowledge and introduces the basics of design for mobile applications. The students will use industry-standard software to develop, test, and plan distribution of a mobile application.

Course materials are accessible via the student portal.

Syllabus // Assignments // Reading // Tools & Resources 


Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Describe the strengths and weaknesses of different mobile app development platforms and operating systems
  • Explain mobile apps design with mobile interaction design principles
  • Evaluate process, technology and software to determine design needs
  • Use industry-standard software to develop prototypes for mobile devices
  • Synthesize prior web and interactive media knowledge to create an engaging application that fulfills a business or entertainment need
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the use of mobile application simulators
  • Identify data sources for smartphone applications
  • Explain the iPhone and Android App Store submission process

Session schedule

  1. Course Overview // Why a Smartphone Class? // Creating Mobile Apps
  2. The Mobile OS: Apple, Android, Windows
  3. Mobile App verus Web App
  4. Mobile Interaction Design
  5. Mobile Interaction Design
  6. Emulators and Simulation // Quiz
  7. Getting to market (student-led discussion: Android and iOS)
  8. Speaking the lingo (student-led discussion: CDMA/GSM, 3G/4G/LTE networks)
  9. Speaking the lingo (student-led discussion: API, SDK)
  10. Final project and presentations. Final written exam.

In general, a class session will be broken into two parts. Part  one will will include any combination of:

  • example-based lecture/discussion
  • project critique/discussion
  • reading discussion
  • group activity to identify design elements in selected websites or books
  • student presentations on specific assignments

The second part of class will include any combination of skill-based workshop with working lab time and/or individual consultation.


  • Session 1: iOS/Android comparision
  • Session 2: course goals post
  • Session 2: Design400 redesign, v1 (submittal method TBD)
  • Session 4: App store mockups
  • Session 5: Design400 redesign, v2
  • Session 6: Website mockup
  • Session 7: Peer learning
  • Session 8: Peer learning
  • Session 9: Peer learning
  • Session 10: Final project/presentations



  • Reading posts (use the reading prompt) to WP course blog (category, reading)
  • Project posts to WP course blog (category, project)
  • Lead reading discussion (weeks 4-5, sign up in Session 1)

All reading and projects posts are examples of public writing and should be posted to by 5 pm on the due date. There is no specific word count/limit. The post should be long enough to make it clear you’ve thought about the assignment. It should also be edited and coherent; no brain dumps!

I ask students to write about the readings to help gain cognitive understanding of material as well as to hone analytical skills. Reading assignments are not graded, except for completeness. Be sure to check your spelling and grammar!

Final project

The final project

  • Pick a project
  • Begin with a description of the audience, goals, messages, and technological concerns (requirements, Design400 final documents)
  • Refine the three personas
  • Find/analyze three additional competitor applications
  • Build working prototype in inVision (both Android and iOS)
  • Design app store interface (screen captures, copy, fake reviews)
  • Design website for application promotion/support with social media integration

The final project, except for the prototype, should be presented as either a PDF (design matters!) or as a website (you can make a WordPress site, design matters here, too!). The method of delivery is a blog post on the class site ( that contains a link to the prototype (InVision) and the PDF, which should be posted on SlideshareScribd, or the WordPress site.

Assessment for project (400 points)

Due by 10 pm our last night together
  • 400 points : all components present, no typos/grammatical errors, demonstrates creative thought and initiative (beyond minimum). Above average design (more to come). Short post to course blog announcing that the project is live (on time/links must work).
  • 300 points : all components present, minimal errors, average response. Aesthetically pleasing (more to come). Short post to course blog announcing that the project is live (either late or links do not work).
  • 200 points : missing components or major errors or below-average response. Lacking in one area: Aesthetically pleasing (more to come). Short post to course blog announcing that the project is live (both late and links do not work).
  • 100 points : missing components and major errors or below-average response. Lacking in more than one area: aesthetically pleasing (more to come). Did not submit short post to course blog announcing that the project is live.


One quiz covers the scope of the required reading and lectures and help prepare you for the final exam. You cannot retake the quiz. It is closed book and timed.


Students will receive points for each class where they actively participate; it must be clear the student has completed the reading to receive reading points.


There may be extra-credit opportunities.


  • Reading posts – 15%
  • Project posts, presentations – 20%
  • Final project – 35%
Exams / Quizzes 20%
Classroom Participation 10%




Technical requirements

  • Smartphone or tablet using Android / Apple / Windows operating system

Tools & Resources

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