User Interface and Experience

This track allows students to focus on knowledge and skills related to how technology systems should be designed to maximize the user experience.


Course options with computational/digital focus:

CDT 23100 Learning, Design & Technology (ESS 23100 ) taught by G. Alex Ambrose (NOT OFFERED AT THIS TIME)
Technology has always been used for learning from the chalkboard in the oneroom school to video lectures in massive open online courses. Regardless of time or place, the design of effective and innovative learning technologies must be grounded in research based evidence reflecting what is known about how people learn. Incorporating design, research, and fieldbased perspectives, students will be tasked with investigating current/emergent learning technologies and theories across a range of applied contexts in education,  business, nonprofit, and government. This hybrid course involves an experiential/communitybased learning component requiring students to devote one weekly two hour block of time to service in the local community. One facetoface class meeting per week will be substituted with asynchronous interactions (i.e., online discussions and video lectures), independent/group studio time, and/or meetings with a community partner. No background in education or technology required. Course Goals: *Evaluate learning theories in terms of applicability to a technologicallyenhanced learning environment. *Apply technologies to real world problems in terms of potential impact on learning *Explore the ethical, professional, and social challenges and controversies related to learning technologies (i.e., minors, privacy) *Integrate experiential and community based learning through the learning technology applications related to the coursework.

CDT 30110 VCD 3: Web Design (DESN 20120 ) taught by staff instructors (FALL & SPRING)
Exploration of online interactive communications for web enabled platforms including desktop and mobile devices. Application of user-centered design principles to hierarchical and navigational structures, interface, web typography, imagery, sound, and motion through a series of exercises and projects. Survey of technological aspects to web site design, development, and production.

CDT 30120 ID: Digital Solid Modeling (DESN 30209) taught by Kevin Phaup or other staff instructors (FALL)
MATERIALS FEE. This course is an introduction to various digital design techniques and workflows used by industrial designers. Students will explore design processes integrating digital tablet sketching and computer-aided design (CAD) in order to develop and effectively communicate design concepts. The course is aimed at students seeking to expand their 3-D visualization skills into a digital medium. Software introduced will include Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and SolidWorks 3D

CDT 30140 Human Computer Interaction (PSY 40676/CSE 40424) taught by instructor TBD (SPRING)
An in-depth coverage of the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) including its history, goals, principles, methodologies, successes, failures, open problems, and emerging areas. Topics include the fundamental principles of HCI (e.g., consistency, compatibility, pictorial realism), models of the human (e.g., perception, attention, memory, learning), interaction modalities and paradigms (e.g., windowing systems, haptic interactions), best-practice design principles (e.g., user-centered design, universal design, rapid application development), techniques to evaluate interfaces and interactions (e.g., observational methods, think-aloud protocols, cognitive walkthroughs), and emerging topics in HCI (e.g., affective computing, augmented cognition, social computing, ubiquitous computing).

CDT 31120 ID: Rapid Prototyping (DESN 31212) taught by Kevin Phuap and Michael Elwell or other staff instructors (FALL)
The Rapid Prototyping evening tutorial sessions will enable students making physical 3D prototypes from digital files that are virtually modeled in the ID: Digital Solid Modeling or ID: Digital 3D courses. Instruction in file preparation and safe machine operation will lead to prototype output from a CNC milling machine, 3D printer, and digital laser cutter.

CDT 31125 VCD 6: Motion design using kinetic messages (DESN 30131) taught by staff instructors (SPRING)
MATERIALS FEE. Exploration of narrative, visual and aural principles to best convey a time-based message through a series of project assignments. Effective use of motion graphics through sketching, storyboarding, kinetic type, animation, narration and soundtracks. Media delivery may include digital signage, web, broadcast and other public venues such as a planetarium. Survey of the technological aspects to motion media including principles of digital animation, video output devices, and planning for application in a space.

CDT 31130 VCD 7: Interaction Design (DESN 30140) taught by staff instructors (FALL)
Evaluation, design, and simulation of user interaction with a computer or product interface. Development of interfaces through wireframes, sketches, renderings, illustrations, modeling, and animatic sequences. Exploration of user testing and research methods for generative, participatory, and evaluative stages of design.

CDT 31150 Programming for Video Game Development taught by Michael Villano (SPRING)
The purpose of this course is to provide students with experience in various aspects of programming for video game development. No prior programming experience is necessary and students will proceed at their own pace. In addition to several programming projects that utilize gaming APIs or frameworks, students will also be exposed to level design (map creation), 3D construction techniques, custom textures, sound design, and lighting effects. 3D game development will utilize the Hammer Editor, part of the Half-Life 2 video game modding Software Development Kit (Source SDK) and its associated tools. Additional third-party (and often free) utilities will also be necessary. Students will work on their own or in teams on a final project agreed upon with the instructor. Students will need to provide their own Windows compatible computer or laptop or a Mac running Windows under BootCamp.

CDT 31160 Practicum in Robotics taught by Charles Crowell (SPRING)
This course will allow students to work with the Nao humanoid robot platform. Students will learn about how to control the sensory and motor capabilities of the robot to produce specific sequences of robot behaviors and/or to allow the robot to respond to particular inputs from the external environment. Students will work with the instructors to identify the specific behaviors and response sequences to be created. Permission is required.

CDT 31410 Visual Communication Design 1(VCD 1): Fundamentals of Design (DESN 20101) taught by various faculty in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design (FALL)
MATERIALS FEE. What makes a visual image compelling? Why do images engage? This course explores and helps develop an understanding of the delicate balance between these design elements and how they have been skillfully used by designers over time to create some of the most persuasive images and enduring messages. The course will be an exercise in deconstruction and reconstruction of visual images using design elements as a tool. Through assignments, students will work digitally to explore color, form, composition, texture and typography; first individually and then in conjunction with other elements. Initial assignments will be short and will focus on the understanding of a singular element. As the course progresses, students will be expected to use experiences from these short assignments and use them as building block for more complex projects demonstrating and applying the understanding gathered in the previous assignments. No pre-requisites.

CDT 40120 VCD 10: Visualization of Data taught by Neeta Verma (SPRING)
The course focuses on the relevance of data in the current socio-political and economic dynamic. It defines how numbers and data can be turned into compelling narratives to communicate complex ideas using large data sets and then reframing them using graphic design principles. Powerful and compelling rendition of data help in determining discourse,creating awareness, affecting policy, and assisting understanding of issues that surround us inthis complex world. Assignments focus on the crucial role that designers can play in packaging information in ways where dense and incomprehensible data can be made comprehensible and accessible for all audiences.The course is aimed at developing an understanding of what data means to humans and how does its visualization helps communicate ideas in the fields of medicine, technology and social sciences. All assignments touch upon measurement, collection, reporting, analysis but ultimately focuses on visualization. Visualization is when the data comes alive and is ready to be used to communicate a complex concept be it numeric, spatial, process or temporal. Types of data covered in this course include but are not limited to: geographical, cultural, scientific,financial, statistical, meteorological, natural, and transportation data.The design process for each assignment therefore explores static, dynamic, interactive, and 3-dimensional formats of representation in an effort to understand why a certain format is more suitable for the nature of data, its analysis and therefore its visual representation.Proficiency in Excel is required.

Course options without computational/digital focus (only one is allowed):

CDT 20110 Design Matters: Introduction to Design Thinking taught by Ann-Marie Corado (SPRING)
MATERIALS FEE. Traditionally, design has been used to connote the process by which the physical artifacts of the objects and communications around us come into being. But over the last decade, design has come more and more to describe not only the development of objects but the process by which one shapes the interactions and experiences of people with the systems, services and organizations around us. A deeply human-centered approach to problem solving, design thinking is centered around identifying and reframing complex problems, and solving them through a more creative, iterative and hands-on approach. This course will follow a series of overlapping modules that will introduce the student to the various steps employed in the design thinking process and becoming familiar with the tools and methodologies used. The course will feature a hybrid seminar format with lectures and case studies followed by hands-on exercises and practical applications of the theories in the form of team projects. At the conclusion of the course, students should be able to articulate the tenants of the design thinking process and apply those methodologies to problems of a variety of disciplines from science and engineering to business and the liberal arts. If there are no seats available, please contact the art department ( and the instructor to indicate interest and to sign-up for the waitlist. The course is the gateway for the Collaborative Innovation minor. Only students enrolled or having completed the course may sign up for the minor. There are only limited seats for juniors and no seats available for seniors with special approval. Make sure you sign up for matching lab that coordinates with section #.

CDT 21110 - Section 01: D Think Lab
taught by Ann-Marie Conrado (SPRING)
This once weekly lab session is a mandatory requirement for students enrolled in the Design Thinking course. These sessions focus on practical application of the topics and materials presented in class with students working in teams to employ techniques and methodology on assigned projects. This hands-on lab will having students exploring the research, brainstorming, ideation, iterative prototyping and presentation techniques that lead to creative innovation and disruptive breakthroughs applicable to students of any discipline.