We are two multidisciplinary digital designers based in New York. Though we come to this class with different educational backgrounds (graphic design at RISD, computer science at MIT) and a range of professional experiences (in-house, agency, freelance, small startups, Big Tech), we share similar views on the roles and responsibilities of interaction designers in today's world.
We recognize that our perspectives are limited. Our design practices have been shaped by the needs of the tech industry in the mid-to-late 2010s. We are both lucky to be members of over-represented groups in tech and design, to not need U.S. work visas, and to have had many doors opened for us at every step of our careers. We try to correct for this limitation in perspective by bringing in a wide range of guests and by continually updating our materials to reflect what we ourselves are learning about the world. Our class aims to provide designers with the tools they need to develop their own points of view.
We're making these materials public because we strongly believe that education should be as accessible as possible, and that open sharing and public discourse will help us improve the quality of this education for our future students.
Table of Contents
- 👋 Welcome
- Table of Contents
- 📜 Class description
- 📖 Class Content
- 💪 Assignments
- 💯 Grading
- 40% Artifacts: The projects and designs you create
- 40% Communication: Working, participating, and presenting
- 20% Growth: Willingness to learn
- 👀 Resources
📜 Class description
These questions, and this course, are about designing in the readl world. We will focus on:
- The responsibilities, powers, and tools available to today's designers. We live in a world where 75% of people have internet access and we spend 4+ hours on phones daily. We bank, listen, make friends & enemies, talk to our families, travel, work, order food, receive news, meditate, and date through designed interfaces. We will examine creating experiences that are effective, intuitive, ethical, and (as best as possible) prevent abuse. Class assignments will be open-ended briefs meant to mimic ambiguous, real-world scenarios—you will have to identify what problems you want to solve, and figure out how to solve them.
- How to communicate your ideas to relevant audiences. Almost nothing we interact with daily was built alone. Collaborating with others, presenting your work appropriately to different audiences, building consensus, and taking/giving feedback effectively are vitally important to succeeding as a designer (and in any other role). Through the lens of your portfolio, you’ll learn to present your work for the audiences it’s meant for — consumers, investors, engineers, interviewers, etc.
This course will involve discussion, brainstorming, prototyping, research, writing, prioritizing, designing artifacts, group work, presenting, persuading your classmates and professors, and other practices that you will engage with in the “real world.” You'll be given more agency than a typical class, and treated like professionals.
📖 Class Content
Because this is a project-based class with strong focus on in-class critique, you may not see many important topics represented in the lecture materials. We're trying to figure out the best way to translate that for broader sharing.
This grading schema is intended to reflect the relative importance of each of these skills in the workplace. Your design craft is not the only thing that matters, even though it's the main focus of most schoolwork and the first thing employers check for. Your communication skills are equally important, and your attitude and willingness to learn can be the make-or-break factor when a potential employer makes a bet on hiring you.
40% Artifacts: The projects and designs you create
- User flows that are comprehensible and don’t have dead ends.
- Consistent, well-structured, understandable interface design.
- Understanding of what interaction patterns are appropriate in different contexts.
- Demonstrating mastery of tools used for appropriate task.
40% Communication: Working, participating, and presenting
- Participation in discussion, in class and asynchronously.
- Working well with classmates.
- Ability to present work and respond to questions.
- Giving actionable feedback to other students.
- Receiving feedback gracefully.
- Contextualization of projects. Explaining why decisions were made, in what constraints.
20% Growth: Willingness to learn
- Improvement in artifacts & communication.
- Willingness to fail, try new things, and experiment.