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About COMS 3364

Fall 2018 note: COMS 3364 is department-controlled for Fall 2018. Please email me directly to find out about registration for this course!

This is an undergraduate course that introduces students to the methods and tools used in Contextual Inquiry (CI), User Experience (UX), and User Interface (UI) design. This course focuses on the early design stages of a product’s lifecycle, and aims to ensure the product will meet user needs; some example tools and methods to be covered include personas, scenarios, storyboards, interviews, wireframing, prototyping, InVision, Axure, Balsamiq, etc.

This class will serve as an introduction to these methods; no prior design experience is necessary. In this course, students will work on group projects covering one or more of the CI methods for products designed for today’s world of ubiquitous and mobile technology. Students will also participate in a final group project designing for a real context: students will interview members of a local industry client to discover breakdowns in work processes and design technology to assist the client’s work. Students will work with the client to define their needs and requirements, with the end goal that the students’ design will be incorporated into the client’s real workspace. Developers with experience in CI and UX/UI design methods are in high demand in today’s software industry, and the projects students work on in this course will strengthen their portfolio.

This course will be taught by Sarah Morrison-Smith, a research and teaching fellow at Barnard College.

Important Note about Class Format:

This class will be unlike most other classes you have taken, especially in computer science. Although there will be a midterm and exam, the course will center around a hands-on project over the course of the semester because I believe (and education research supports) that learning-by-doing is the best way to understand design.

This means that you will have to take responsibility for your own learning and skill-building. It is up to you to plan ahead, read ahead, select readings or other learning methods (from provided choices), and keep on top of the course material and project methods we cover. Use your curiosity, dig deeper, challenge yourself, have fun, and develop and use the learning style that fits you best. I will provide tools, resources, and advice to maximize your learning, but it is up to you to shape your knowledge and skills in a way that fits your future career choice and personality the best.

The syllabus of this course can be found here <link>.