introduction to Interaction Design (CG 322) | Fashion Institute of Technology

Course Outline + Syllabus | Spring 2018

Viviana Espinosa -
Times: Tuesdays, 9:10a – Noon -

Every moment of every day, millions of people send emails, texts, connect with friends on Facebook, buy products online, or listen to music on Spotify. They buy smart products that help them monitor their homes, tell them how many miles they’ve run, let them send drawings to remote collaborators, play online bowling games with friends. All of these things are made possible by technology, but it’s the interaction design that makes them usable, useful, and fun. This course explores the process of creating interactive experiences through the discipline called interaction design.

Half lecture, half lab.

Assignments and related readings for the following week will be posted here on Several classes will also include group critiques and presentations.

Group Critiques are intended to give students experience with providing and receiving criticism for their design work. Feedback received in group critiques should inform your design moving forward and should be incorporated into future iterations.

Many classes will include some form of student presentation. Some days everyone will take a turn, while other days only a few. Interaction designers are expert communicators and must be well-versed in sharing ideas and backing up design decisions. Presentation practices will help tremendously with these.

Let me know in advance if you’re going to miss class or be late.
More than 1 unexcused absence will affect your grade
3 lates = 1 unexcused absence

20% = Class Participation
40% = Out of Class Assignments
40% = Final Project

Everyone is expected to participate — in discussions, group exercises, or through vigorous individual exploration. Many times, exercises may be started in lab but may require extra work outside of class.

If you are unsatisfied with your grade on an assignment, I will permit a redo where I will re-evaluate your new assignment with the possibility to earn a higher grade.

Required readings (chapters will be assigned as class progresses)
The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

Week 1: January __30__
What is Interaction Design?

What is interaction design and where did this discipline come from?
Meet ’n’ greet
Rules and structure of the class
Introduce the discipline of interaction design

Week 2: February _6_
The Interaction Design Process

What does an interaction designer do?
Introduce the interaction design process
Discuss related disciplines of interaction design
Interaction designers as part of a team
Assign groups and receive client assignments

Readings for next week:

Individual Assignment:

Sketch/describe a solution to the frustration you described in last week’s class (if you find your example from last week didn’t cut it, you may choose to change it). Outline the problem and the solution. These need to be emailed to me before class next week.

Group Assignment:

Respond to the RFPs by submitting 2 proposals for the RFP your group has chosen (note: DUE SUNDAY - MIDNIGHT), - modification: Begin by performing part one of the three from today's class presentation (slide #25), enter the DISCOVERY stage only for your proposals, include all documentation you used to arrive to your conclusions (ie: Research of other projects), inside the new wordpress blog you will create for this project (note, you may want to create separate blogs for your other projects) where your group will begin to document this whole project - email the link to wordpress link to me on Sunday by Midnight

DISCOVERY (slide #25)

  • Learn about the subject matter
  • Learn about the users  
  • Uncover business objectives
  • Understand project constraints

The readings (CHAPTER 1 and 2 - The Design of Everyday Things) will help you figure out 

RFPs (Request for Proposal)  Assignations: no # 2

How do we decide what to design
Learn about business value
Understand the importance of studying the competition
How does understanding people help us create better designs?


Stakeholder Interview Prep: Prepare a list of questions for your client  (around 20 questions should be good). Make sure to include detailed questions  about their business goals.

Group Project:  User Personas.
Prepare three different user persona groups based on your research and analysis. 

    Week 4: Feb 20
    User Research

    Discuss how to conduct user research -Design Research: Why You Need It - read again
    Learn about the different types of user research
    Conducting an effective stakeholder interview


    1. Review the questions for your project, and find answers from different users - document those responses in detail
    2. Continue to work on your blog and if necessary move all the detailed documentation out of the slide shows and into the blog - Keep the current slideshows for the last presentation
    3. Begin to sketch - in paper only - and with thick pen (yes)
      Three Rough ideas of an interactive project which will include a digital aspect, as well as a physical aspect to your project, which will provide answers to your project. This is preliminary, no idea is too dumb - but document all of them!! (scans on your blog with explanations)
      Example: There is a million people yoga class in a stadium, you would have to create an ipad app that controls a drone that will be recording all attendee's faces.
    4. Read Chapter 4 - The Design of Everyday Things

    Week 5:  Feb 26
    Ideation - Prototyping

    Video - UX - TAPUTAPU Universal

    Google -

    Luke Wroblesky -

    How do we create concepts for design?
    Discuss how research informs product concepts
    Learn about the importance of sketching

    Intro to Axure - Prototyping

    Week 6: March 6


    Author/Copyright holder: Unknown. Copyright terms and licence: Unknown Img source

    What is iterative design?

    Learn about the importance of feedback and iteration


    How do we use feedback to improve our ideas?

    Group critique: Concept sketches - Feedback from other teams

    -Note: Blogs will be reviewed tonight - looking for content, not design
    - In your teams, using feedback from today’s critique, decide on one concept to move forward with and improve on it.
    - Document what improvement you made (before and after) - (Yes, that means more sketches)
    - Refine your axure prototype (no design - just prototype_

    Week 7: March 13
    User Journeys

    InVision and your free accounts

    How can we be sure that our designs will work?
    Learn how to create user journeys and scenarios
    See examples of user journeys

    Week 8: March 20



    Presentations - Midterm

    10 minutes to regroup / prep time

    All computer stations and phones, etc. will remain turned off during the duration of the presentations.

    No group conversations during your presentations to be respectful of others.

    Spring Break - Mar 26th to 30th - no class

    Week 9: April 3rd



    User Journeys

    Communicating Interaction Design I: User Flows


    What are the ways to document and communicate interaction design?

    RFP 1: Aldo Shoes

    Our business is losing a significant amount of money on shoe returns — people receiving their shoes and discovering they gave us an incorrect size. We want to launch a solution that helps our customers measure their feet so they avoid this poor user experience.

    RFP 2: TripAdvisor

    Planning a trip still involves a lot of time, effort, and research — effort that seems unnecessary given how much data we have and the ability for personalization. We want to create a solution to help users share and build itineraries through a system that’s savvy enough to make intelligent suggestions.

    RFP 3: Gristedes

    We want to solve a simple, ubiquitous problem: Busy people needing to plan dinners. We want to create a solution that gives them an easy way to plan recipes, and then when they’re grocery shopping, prompts them to buy what they need (and perhaps also keeps track of what’s in their fridge). A social component would be great too — allowing people to share recipes.

    RFP 4: NYC Department of Transportation

    Parking in New York City is a nightmare. People with cars often spend hours looking for spots. We want to find a way to gamify the process of claiming and leaving parking spaces. Details are unclear, but it might involve something like drivers getting points for giving up their spots to someone else within the ecosystem.

    RFP 5: Delta

    One of our customers’ biggest pain points is, “What happens when my flight is canceled and I have to rebook?” We want to make this experience as easy as possible. The project should include the ability to choose a new flight, as well as deal with any other flight rebookings. We may want to explore an airport kiosk as well to achieve the same.

    RFP 6: Equinox

    There are great tools for managing your running and other cardio activities, but not great tools for weight lifters: saving exercises and routines, sharing them, tracking them in the gym. We want to build a solution for our customers and a network that allows them to do this, and also features some social components.

    RFP 7: New Startup

    For the community that wants to organize a potluck but doesn’t want 27 potato salads. We want to build something that allows a user to create an event, input a few details, and specify attendees. The invitation recipients should be able to identify what they’re going to bring, along with other relevant information.

    RFP 8: New Startup

    Employees on demand. Locksmiths, plumbers, electricians — let’s face it: when you need one, you want someone who can respond in a moment’s notice. We want to design and build the “Uber” for service workers.

    RFP 9: GottaGo (New Startup)

    Too many times we’ve been wandering NYC for hours when we realize … we gotta go. We want to help users find the nearest public restroom — but we’re starting with zero data, so we also need a way to collect information about where there are public restrooms.

    Week 10: April 10th

    Design II: Site Maps / Wiresketches / Wireframes

    Design III: Wireframes


    Introduce different design deliverables:

    • user flows
    • wireframes 
    • prototypes

    Learn when and why to use each deliverable

    User flows

    User Flow

    Wireframes / Sitemap

    Sitemap only -

    Sitemap and wireframes / prototype
    Live Site


    1. Read Chapter 5 - The Design of Everyday Things
    2. Choose an event that has happened in the last month - provide a news link - a reputable one. 
      Write a description of why the event was caused by a design error and cite specific examples, illustrate if necessary. 
      Also describe how this error could have been fixed. Email link to your blog post by Sunday evening the latest.
    3. Choose one of the two RFPs you worked on for the last assignment. Continue to do the user research by visiting the store, or website, or competitors, etc.
      Document your results and what you did on your blog. Work on surveying users, etc for your RFP - Send a link to the new blog update.

    Learn about the different methods of prototyping
    Learn about low and high fidelity prototyping methods
    Show example prototypes

    What is a prototype and how can they help us validate our designs?

    Survey Gizmo -

    Measuring success with replacing instructions

    Optimal Workshop

    Tree jack
    - used for navigation surveying
    - tool for testing or IA studies
    - great for testing on sitemap trees and menus - works on hover - but for tablets…?

    EyesDecide - eye tracking tool

    Chalk mark measure -  - a/b testing -

    Zing hd document camera < $200

    hack -

    What is a prototype and how can they help us validate our designs?

    Week 11:  April 17th

    Communicating Interaction

    How do we approach the visual design of our products?
    Learn about how aesthetics affect the user experience
    Introduce brand examples

    Week 12: April 24th

    For next week: 

    1. Finalize visual designs for all screens in your product following today's presentation. 
    2. Finalize your prototype in InVision or Axure 
    3. Begin your final Power Point presentation

    Content to be graded on: 7min clock

    1. Presentation skills - it's ok to be goofy as long as it's smart. - do you read the whole thing? are you loud enough? time tracking. - practice, practice practice
    2. Completeness and detail of content
    3. What's your project?
    4. How the personas relate to your project?
    5. Research and documentation - interviews, annotations, similar apps, etc
    6. Planning and sketching, journey maps, it's showtime!. 
    7. Explanation and demo on how your research has informed your design decisions
    8. Your design - how does your design improve other designs you researched? or what makes it innovational?
    9. Did you test your prototype on some people? what was their feedback? how did you modify your design based on that feedback? Before and after?
    10. What do you plan with this design to do next?

    For next week: 

    1. Finalize your Designs and blog documentation.
    2. Finalize and practice your Power Point presentation for a 7min presentation.

    3. TEST your presentation and links before you come up 

    Week 14:
    May 8th
    - Final Prep - SlideShow

    Classroom notes to assist you on what to work on for your final presentation - You should be able to jump back and forth from the Slide Show, to blog, to other links, like Axure, Invision, ETC

    Classroom notes to assist you on what to work on for your final presentation -
    You should be able to jump back and forth from the Slide Show, to blog, to other links, like Axure, Invision, ETC

    Week 15:
    May 15th
    Final Group Presentations

    Final presentations and critiques
    Class evaluation and discussion