Prof. Taylor Scott
Winter 2019  
T/Th 12:30-1:50 pm
Sections:  Mondays 9-10, 10-11, 11-12
Location: Mandeville B210 (sections in HSS 1346)

This studio course introduces students to the basic practices of interaction design. We follow a human-centered design process that includes research, concept generation, prototyping, and refinement. Students must work effectively as individuals and in small teams to create visual designs, information systems, and other interactive experiences. Assignments approach design on three levels: specific user interactions, contexts of use, and larger systems. Students will become familiar with design methodologies such as sketching, storyboarding, wire framing, prototyping, etc. No coding is required. This course serves as a requirement for the cross-department Design Minor.

In the land of design consultancies, designers never have enough time or resources to do their work. If you feel a bit overwhelmed by the pace of the class and the amount of worked assigned, then you are right where you should be. A big part of this class is to gain a visceral feeling for what designers experience everyday. We want you to work fast and to bring an attitude of play and playfulness to the classroom.

Learning Objectives

Students who have successfully completed this course will be able to do the following:
  • give and receive feedback in a constructive way during critiques
  • use visual hierarchy to prioritize information and optimize interactions
  • sketch as a means of visual exploration and ideation
  • give form to design ideas through prototyping
  • interpret content in order to meet the needs of multiple stakeholders
  • make decisions that build on existing design patterns
  • select appropriate methodologies for engaging in a human-centered design process
  • understand how designers think in order to collaborate on interdisciplinary teams
  • communicate design ideas to a variety of stakeholders 

Critique Guidelines

Critiques are an essential part of the design process, and will be a part of nearly every class period. Verbalizing what you see helps you to learn. You are expected to be an active participant in all critiques. You should not expect to get personal feedback on your work every time. We will do our best to distribute feedback evenly across the quarter, and you can meet with us by appointment if you have specific questions.  Critiques are not beauty contests. When giving criticism, always describe what you are seeing and experiencing, rather than your opinion as it relates to your personal taste. For example, rather than saying, “I don’t like this,” it is more constructive to say, “I’m not sure what you want me to look at first,” or, “I was drawn to this first, but then I got confused about where to go next,”, or, “this was hard for me to read – I had to squint my eyes.”

Do not take what is said about your work personally, no matter how difficult this seems. These assignments require you to take risks and try new things. Your effort and willingness to approach problems with originality is a greater reflection of your potential as a designer than whether your solution is aesthetically perfect. During a critique there may be conflicting thoughts and opinions expressed about your work. It is up to you to determine the best way to use the feedback you've received.


Steven Dow is an Assistant Professor of Cognitive Science at UC San Diego where he researches human-computer interaction, social computing, and creativity. Steven received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2015 for research on "advancing collective innovation." He was co-PI on three other National Science Foundation grants, a Google Faculty Grant, Stanford's Postdoctoral Research Award, and the Hasso Plattner Design Thinking Research Grant. Before UCSD, Steven was an Assistant Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. He holds an MS and PhD in Human-Centered Computing from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a BS in Industrial Engineering from University of Iowa.


Erika Barbosa is a doctoral student in Art Theory, Criticism and Practice at UCSD. She is a design researcher and digital media artist. Her practice-based research takes interest in the genealogies of emerging technology, and the impact of historical ideologies on forms of contemporary data discrimination. Her MFA thesis explored the technological and tactical landscape of policing in the United States through the lens of design history and practice. Video works from this research will be on view at the Femmes Video Art Festival during Miami Art Week, December 2017. She has exhibited locally and internationally.

Robert Gougelet is a doctoral candidate in cognitive science at UC San Diego. Rob combines human electrophysiology, neuroimaging, and motion capture to understand cognition and the brain+body.  He wants to leverage this understanding in the design of neuroergonomic interfaces and environments. Rob's dissertation focuses on characterizing the representational/algorithmic properties of neural oscillations in transforming sensory information into action. His most recent project was NSF funded and involved neuroergonomic multimodal neuroimaging during an aviation pursuit task to investigate the role of neural oscillations in online sensorimotor integration. Rob has also been using contextual design inquiry to develop a mobile interface for clinicians to diagnose body posture deformities and prescribe 3D orthopedic corrective shapes.


Aman Gupta is a 3rd year undergraduate Cognitive Science student specializing in Human-Computer Interaction with minors in Computer Science and Design. He has previously interned at Workday and Boeing and enjoys traveling, eating, reading, writing, and playing tennis in his free time.

Sanika Moharana is a 4th year Cognitive Science student specializing in Human-Computer Interaction. She enjoys designing to solve wicked problems, especially geared toward social change and community impact. A black coffee enthusiast, she loves retweeting, FRIENDS, dancing, and watching sports. It’s also her mission to find the best chocolate chip cookie in the world.

Yuka Okina is a 4th year Product Design major (individual studies). Yuka is passionate about combining visual and interaction design for both digital and physical products especially for social innovation. Her favorites steps of the design process are empathizing and prototyping. Outside of school, her hobbies include grabbing dessert with friends, drinking coffee, growing succulents, and dancing.

Se One Park is a fourth year Cognitive Science student specializing in Human-Computer Interaction. Se One hopes to integrate the principles of distributed cognition and user-centered design in enhancing the ability of people to benefit from technology, especially in modernizing healthcare technology. When Se One isn't designing, he enjoys listening to music and playing the violin and guitar.

Xinran(Tracy) Wei is a 4th year Cognitive Science student specializing in Human-Computer Interaction with minor in Computer Science. She is especially interested in applying human-centered design methodology to the field of educational design. On weekends, you can find her either surfing at Scripps Pier or enjoying orchestra and ballet performances downtown.