Introduction to User Experience



This course introduces students to User Experience, the practice of designing apps and websites while applying user centric methods. This course touches on the entire process from analyzing user needs, iterating the design, presenting and selling a comprehensive solution to creating wireframes that become the blueprint for developers to follow when coding.

Who could benefit from this course:

  • If a student is an Information Systems Major, they will be thinking / designing system requirements and will be helping design the systems.

  • If a student is a Computer Science Major then they will be on the receiving end of the design process and being asked to code what has been designed.

It’s important for students to have the ability to understand, assess, design and convey good design.

“What’s missing isn’t the ideas… it’s the ability to execute them.”

— Seth Godin

Students will explore basic concepts and methods to design an application while taking into consideration the needs of the user.

IS 600s is a graduate level, three-credit course.  The prerequisite is IS621 with a Minimum Grade of C.  Students do not need to know how to write code and will not be expected to learn code as a requirement for this course. Nice to have skills, but not required:

  • Omnigraffle, for Flow’s, Wireframing and diagramming, it’s a Mac only product (

  • Pop, a simple prototyping software that allows the user to quickly test design concepts Works on both Android and iPhone. (

  • Sketch 3, this program is quickly becoming the industry standard for Wireframing, prototyping and visual design of apps. Runs on Mac only (



Discovery, development, and strengthening the design skills you need to achieve success in college and in your career.  By the end of this class you will have a basic understanding of how to design an application that embeds the best user experience principles.



Students will learn:  

  • How to conduct research and synthesize the results

  • Utilize Brainstorming techniques

  • Develop features

Create flows which will show the layout of a design

  • Create wireframes that developers can use to build the design

  • Acquire skills to Prototype and test concepts

  • How to Iterate concepts

  • Present to stakeholders



Required textbooks:

Extra Reading:

  • The Non-Designer’s Design Book (Get the latest version)



Time in the classroom (Room TBD) will be broken up into small increments with 5 minute breaks in between each increment, this is so that students have time to digest information and not be overwhelmed.  The increments will be the following formats:

  • Lecture & Hands on learning

  • Design Studio (Share and critique sessions)

  • Workshop (In class time for collaboration and exploration)

  • Presentation

Outside of the classroom students will be expected to do the following:

  • Reading assignments

  • Spend time collaborating with team members

  • Conducting exercises based on the lessons

  • Brainstorming and developing final project


The following how the semester will unfold, note that the schedule is subject to change:



Read the following and be prepared to discuss: 


Homework due:

Optional reading to learn more:

Class Activities:

Intro to class:  rules, etc.

Intro to Interaction Design

  • What is User Experience

  • User Experience roles

  • Why it’s important

  • Double Diamond Process

  • Exercise: Design a coffee cup

Lecture: Heuristics

  • What are they?

  • Why they are important

  • Exercise: Heuristics: In groups, define and explain your assigned heuristic

Week 2

Homework due:


Class Activities:

Discussion: Review homework


  • Break into teams

  • Make team name

  • Discuss what to ask stakeholders

Lecture: Intro to research methods (1:1 interviews and contextual inquiry)

  • Discuss why research is important

  • Identify the different types of research

  • Define research

  • Focus on One on One

  • How to establish a goal for your research

  • Prepare questions

  • How to conduct research including how to probe for more information and consent

  • Briefly touch on Contextual interviews


Week 3

Homework due:

  • Design of Everyday Things - Chapter 2

  • From the Research Lecture, read two of the articles linked to “Sources (last slide in lecture)” Research about client

  • Practice interviewing by:

    • Prepare 3 questions, regarding food delivery habits

    • Modify the script and consent form

    • Interview 2 people using the script and questions. Remember to probe to get more in depth answers.

    • Take notes.

    • Submit PDF copy of notes to blackboard by 6:00pm Feb 12th.

Class Activities: 

Discussion: Review homework

Lecture: Research methods (1:1 interviews and contextual inquiry)

  • Clients to explain who they are

  • Problem trying to solve

  • Q&A

  • Debrief and share notes

  • Writing screeners

Workshop: Develop screener and 1:1 interview script

Week 4

Homework due:

  • Design of Everyday Things - Chapter 3

  • Create a screener: As a team, prepare a screener to select people for the research questions for your new client…

    • Consider who the target audience is: Demographics, conflict of interest, behaviors & knowledge level

    • Use template located in course documents as your foundation

    • Submit PDF to blackboard by 6:00pm Feb 19th (note that each team member should submit the same PDF)

  • Create research questions and script:

    • Review research & screener slide deck to make sure you create “good” questions.

  • Conduct 1:1 interviews (For project)

    • At least 3 people (project will require you to interview at least 6 people total)

    • Create a research goal

    • Use screener to “qualify people”

    • Customize script and questions

    • Have participants sign release

    • Review research & screener slide deck to make sure you ask questions correctly and follow appropriate protocol.

Class Activities:

Discussion: Review homework

Workshop: Review screener questions, research questions and results of interviews.

Week 5

Homework due:

Continue to interview participants

  • Have 6 interviews completed

Read: Creating a problem statement/POV:

Class Activities

Discussion: Review homework

Lecture: Synthesization of Research, develop and prioritize features

  • Why are they important


  • MVP

Workshop: Synthesization of Research, develop and prioritize features

Week 6

Homework due:

Finish your list of features

Class Activities:

Discussion: Review homework

Design Studio: Pinup and critique sketches

Lecture: Sketching and Iteration

  • What is sketching

  • Explain why it’s important

  • Discuss who can sketch

  • Learn how to sketch

  • Review tools to sketch

  • The power of iteration


Week 7

Homework due:


  • Chapter 7 of Communicating Design- Wireframes


Class Activities:

Discussion: Review homework

Lecture: Wireframing (960 grid system) & Interaction

  • What are they?

  • Why are they important

  • How to create them


Week 8

Homework due:


Class Activities:



Week 9

Homework due:

Assigned reading: Communicating Design, Chapter on wireframes

Class Activities:

Discussion: Review homework

Wireframe design studio (share concepts)


Week 10

Homework due:

Assigned reading:

Class Activities:

Discussion: Review homework

Lecture: Usability

  • What is it?

  • Why are they important

  • Goal Setting

  • Scenarios and Tasks

  • How to be a good facilitator

  • Synthesizing the results


Week 11

Homework due:


  • Usability test app with no less than 5 participants

  • Summarize results

Class Activities:

Discussion: Review homework

Intro to Omnigraffle

  • What is Omnigraffle

  • The panels

  • How it works


Week 12

Homework due:


Class Activities

Discussion: Review homework

Lecture:  Artifacts for presentation

Project review and presentation rehearsal

Week 13

Presentation rehearsal, must have presentation completed!!!!!

Week 14

Final project presentation with client!