GRCD 3061-001: Interaction Design 1
Professor: Matthew Wizinsky
Mondays/Wednesdays 2:30–5:20p
Location: DAAP 6221
Office Hours: By appointment

This studio course is a continued introduction to the field of Interaction Design, a broad field of work generally applied toward computational techniques for translating data into useful—and sometimes beautiful—information. The increasing desire for computer interfaces that help navigate complex information environments in innovative and compelling ways constitutes part of the basis for this course. Students will become familiar with a human-centered process for designing and prototyping an interface that distributes and translates data into visual information while developing fundamental skills in computer programming. We will participate in an iterative process that includes self-directed phases of research, conceptualization, sketching, wireframing, prototyping, user testing, and ultimately building functional interactive and information-rich visual projects.

The course makes use of current standards for prototyping mobile and web applications, including Processing, processing.js, HTML5, Javascript, CSS3, and jQuery. Fundamentals in HTML, Cascading Style Sheets, and programming are beneficial, but not required. Throughout the course, students are asked to utilize the class blog to collect and share resources, collaboratively collecting interesting and relevant projects, tutorials, or other valuable resourcet. A series of presentations, screenings, readings, and discussions will expose students to creative projects in a very broad context of human-computer interaction. Each student will be responsible for researching a contemporary practitioner followed by an in-class research presentation. Participants will also present their work during class critiques and interdisciplinary workshops to receive qualitative feedback from the instructor and the class.

course objectives:

  • Gain an understanding of what interaction design (IxD), user-interface design (UI), user-experience design (UX), and information architecture are.
  • Understand the methods, skills, and knowledge necessary to design for interactive communications.
  • Gain skills in designing interfaces for complex information environments
  • Understand the conceptual, visual, and technical requirements to design an interface for both spatial and temporal data to be navigated in real-time in a physical space.
  • Demonstrate the ability to facilitate user testing.
  • Understand methods for breaking down complex interactive communication challenges into focused tasks that can be tailored into a unique task flow for agile/modular development.

Your final grade is a result of the quality and craft of projects, rigorous effort given to the exercises, participation in class discussion, participation in team-based projects, attendance, and a consistent demonstration of effort and understanding regarding the course concepts.

An A will be given for work of consistently exceptional quality and craft, along with the demonstrated quality of research and investigation which produced those results, as evidenced through the final work book, class participation, and attendance.

A B will be given for work of overall good quality and craft, along with the final work book, class participation, and attendance demonstrative of a consistent understanding and application of the concepts being presented.

A C will be given for work of average quality and craft, and the minimum amount of research done to complete the projects and/or an inconsistent demonstration of understanding the concepts being presented and/or poor attendance.

A D will be given for work that is of poor quality and craft and/or consistently poor attendance or lack of class participation.

An F (failure) will be given for work of little quality, missing or incomplete projects, missing critiques and/or consistently poor attendance or lack of class participation.

Please refer to the University grading scale for more information.

Attendance is mandatory and required to gain the required skills for successful completion of the course. Two unexcused absences may result in a reduction of the final grade by ½ letter grade, three unexcused absences by 1 letter grade. Four or more unexcused absences will be grounds for failing the course. It is generally recommended to drop the course with more than four absences.

Late arrivals are very disruptive for other participants. Being late to class two times will count as one unexcused absence. There will be a sign-up sheet for each class meeting. It is the student’s responsibility sign in for each class; this is the basis for your attendance record.

Students will need to use their own laptop computers and required design software in class and for completion of course assignments. If you don’t already, make sure to get a USB drive or external hard-drive. ALL hard drives (internal and external) eventually fail, so file safety cannot be guaranteed on ANY computer. Always back up your files. Loss or damage of data or files is NOT an acceptable explanation for late or missing assignments. Files saved on the desktop of any UIC lab computers will not be available after logging out; you must copy to your own storage device.

Your files are your responsibility!

Time spent in the classroom will be dedicated to presentation, discussion and collaborative and self-directed studio work. Any other activities or behavior not conducive to our coursework will not be tolerated. Prohibited activities during class time include use of cell phones for talking or texting, surfing the web or social media for unrelated purposes (no facebook, no tweeting!), private conversations amongst students, rude or insulting language or behavior, and any other form of distraction from the tasks at hand. Eating in the class room is prohibited. Drinks are allowed in covered containers only.

We have a lot of exciting work to do, and our time together is valuable. Let’s make the most of it.

Additional Info
Student Code of Conduct
Special Needs Policy
Academic Conduct & Plagiarism
Title IX / anti-harassment & anti-discrimination
Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS)