Interaction Design

May-June 2015, Monday/Wednesday evenings : Design 400, Interaction Design, Sanford-Brown Seattle

This course outlines standard practices for interaction design including user-centered research, human factors and storytelling for digital based media.

Course materials are accessible via the student portal.

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


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

  • Evaluate information for presentation in a digital format
  • Create and present wireframe storyboards for various screen sizes that are based on user-centered research
  • Clearly define the differences in design of web based vs.traditional media as related to audience interaction
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the use of simulators for web and mobile devices

Session schedule

  1. Course Overview // What is Interaction Design? // Alphabet Soup.
  2. Understanding Users // personas, scenarios, storyboarding.
  3. From Requirements to Design.
  4. Ideation // sketching, wireframes, prototypes.
  5. Visual Interface Design.
  6. Making well-behaved products.
  7. The back-end: HTML5/JS&jquery/CSS. Quiz.
  8. Social computing // Communication and evaluation.
  9. Desktop versus mobile versus wearables.
  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.




Week 5
Session 9, M
Read Ch 18-20, Cooper.
Reading prompt: Post to class WP site before 5 pm on Wednesday.

Session 10, W: Presentations/projects due.  Post to class WP site before 5 pm on Wednesday.


  • Reading posts (use the reading prompt) to WP course blog (category, reading)
  • Research posts to WP course blog (category, research)
  • Journal posts to WP course blog (category, journal)
  • Lead reading discussion (weeks 3-5, sign up in Session 1)

All reading and research 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!

Journal posts are also due by 5 pm (unless they are an in-class assignment, and then they are due by the end of class). The rationale: in order to create effective interactive projects, you need to practice the art of observation and analysis. To help you hone this skill, each week you will be asked to make at least one journal entry (for a total of five entries). Some weeks there may be explicit assignments; for example, there are two this week. Other weeks you will be observing yourself or as others interact with their environment; emphasis should be on computing systems, broadly defined.

Final project

The final project will synthesize the basic elements of a digital product. Students will work in small groups but final projects will be individual.

  • Pick a project (mobile / website / game / wearable / other?)
  • Develop a description of the audience, goals, messages, and technological concerns (requirements)
  • Develop three personas
  • Conduct a competitive analysis
  • Develop wireframes
  • Develop a prototype
  • Provide a plan for 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 Slideshare or Scribd, or the website.

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, usable for primary use case/persona, social media integration; demonstrates creative thought and initiative. 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, usable for primary use case/persona, social media integration. 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, usable for primary use case/persona, social media integration. 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, usable for primary use case/persona, social media integration. 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.


Students who create actual content for their project will receive up to 100 extra credit points, depending upon the quality/relevance/extent of the content). You must provide a wireframe that is marked up to indicate content location. The wireframe(s) and content should be contained in a single PDF. This is due by 10 pm our last night together.

Assessment Percentage

  • Reading posts – 10%
  • Research posts – 10%
  • Journal posts – 10%
  • Final project – 40%
Exams / Quizzes 20%
Classroom Participation 10%




Tools & Resources

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