HCI design studios

CS 247

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This class teaches advanced techniques in human-computer interaction design, with a focus on challenging design contexts. CS247 is a studio class. Classes are small (capped at 25), project and team based. In class sessions we will work on exercises and projects to build design skills with the help of peer and instructor critique. In a design thinking class you do a lot of innovation practices to come up with ways to better serve your users. In 247, we focus on how to turn that into desirable, usable and useful software. Prerequisites: 147 or equivalent background in design thinking.

CS 247I:
Design for Understanding

Christina Wodtke

Complex problems require sophisticated approaches. In this project-based hands-on course, students explore the design of systems, information and interface for human use. We will model the flow of interactions, data and context, and crafting a design that is useful, appropriate and robust. Students will create utility apps or games as a response to the challenges presented. We will also examine the ethical consequences of design decisions and explore current issues arising from unintended consequences.

CS 247S:
Service Design

Julie Stanford

In this course we will be looking at experiences that address the needs of multiple types of stakeholders at different touchpoints - digital, physical, and everything in between. If you've ever taken an Uber, participated in the Draw, engaged with your bank, or ordered a coffee through the Starbucks app'you've experienced a service that must have a coordinated experience for the customer, the service provider, and any other stakeholders involved. Let's explore what specialized tools and processes are required to created these multi-faceted interactions.

CS 247G:
Introduction to Game Design

Christina Wodtke

An introduction to theory and practice of the design of games. We will make digital and paper games, do rapid iteration and run user research studies appropriate to game design. This class has multiple short projects, allowing us to cover a variety of genres, from narrative to pure strategy.

CS 247A:
Design for Artificial Intelligence

Julie Stanford

The focus of CS247A is design for human-centered artificial intelligence experiences. What does it mean to design for AI? What is HAI? Let's explore what AI actually is and the constraints, opportunities and specialized processes necessary to create AI systems that work effectively for the humans involved.

CS247 Overview

The goal of cs247 is to get students excited and involved with the type of design challenge that is meaningful to them, while getting them more practice using core skills across contexts. Currently we’re offering Design for Understanding, Design for Services, Design for Games, Design for AI and design for Behavior Change. 247 can be taken multiple times to build up a skill set (and a portfolio.)

CS247 is 3 hours twice a week. The first two hours are devoted to activities, lectures and exercises. The last hour is used to for group work, with the instructional team available to coach you are you seek to level up.

All cs247x’s will cover the below six topics, but each topic will be modified to be relevant to the type of design challenge being explored. For example, in Design of Games the topic of information architecture will be around organization of resources and economies, but in Design for Understanding it will about information scent and retrieval.

Interaction Design
  • Core concepts such as affordances and feedback
  • Usage scenarios (infrequent vs. frequent etc.)
  • Task Analysis
  • User flows (including onboarding and error states)
  • Supporting research such as longitudinal studios, personas, scenarios, etc
  • Rapid Iteration Testing and Evaluation
Information Architecture
  • Metadata and why it matters
  • Human information seeking models & information scent
  • Message Architecture and Content strategy
  • Research for IA, esp Card Sorting
Interface and Graphic Design
  • Gestalt and other visual design principles
  • Messaging affordances effectively
  • Color, type, layout
  • Usability testing
Sketching and Modeling
  • Sketching for observation
  • Sketching for communication and ideation
  • Models for understanding and communication
Process Capability
  • Students have been introduced to this topics, we are are now making sure they have a level of competence, if not mastery, in these core areas
  • Needfinding, with an emphasis on effective interviewing and object-based research
  • Sensemaking, including multiple approaches to understanding qualitative data
  • Ideation, with emphasis on going broad
  • Iteration, the practice of making small changes, learning and refining
  • Evaluation, with emphasis on choosing the effective approach to get the answers needed
Ethics in Content
  • Respectful ways to collaborate with end users & participatory design. Research ethics.
  • Understanding ethical behavior shaping techniques
  • Ethical and inclusive interface design
  • Topical ethics.


Can I take more than one version of 247?

Yes! Each version will be different enough in what it covers that taking more than one will build up practice and your portfolio.

Is attendance mandatory?

Yes. In a studio class, students learn from each other, practice effective collaboration and build on each other’s ideas. You can only miss two classes or it will affect your grade.