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Interaction Design Fundamentals

Course Information

Course Number

HCI Undergraduate: 05-360
HCI Graduate: 05-660

Program Requirement

This is a required course for

Course Description

Interaction Design Fundamentals introduces the human-centered design process as well as fundamental interaction design principles, methods, and practices. The course is for both students who may only enroll in one interaction design course and those who intend to build upon their HCI learning by taking advanced interaction design courses. Students must work effectively as individuals and in small teams to learn interaction design concepts and apply them to real-world problems.

By the end of this course students should be able to:

  • Apply appropriate interaction design methods in a human-centered design process.
  • Create persuasive interim and final design artifacts that demonstrate communication design fundamentals.
  • Facilitate productive and structured critique across the class and with instructors.
  • Explain and apply fundamental interaction design principles.
  • Create clarity and readability in artifacts, including GUIs and deliverables, through the disciplined application of visual design principles such as typography, color and composition.
  • Practice reframing a given problem in order to create opportunities that drive generating multiple solutions.
  • Demonstrate habits that foster the creative process, including drawing, divergent thinking, and creative experimentation.
  • Identify and explore with interaction design materials.

This course serves as a prerequisite for Advanced Interaction Design Studio (number TBD).

Students who are required to take this course have priority and will be enrolled first.

No coding is required.


Note for Fall 2023: This course name is now "Interaction Design Fundamentals" and was updated from "Interaction Design for HCI"

Semester Offered and Units

Semester: Fall and Spring
Undergraduate: 12 units
Graduate: 12 units


Prerequisite knowledge: Deep interest in understanding the human-centered design process. Abiding curiosity about how interaction designers find problems that are worth solving and solve them through the expert application of interaction design methods and principles. A desire to learn how to communicate about interaction design through critique and design review as well as presentations. Students with experience in psychology, social sciences, design, software development, product management, product innovation and other related fields are appropriate for Interaction Design Fundamentals.

Only the desire to continuously produce design work is required for this class. No coding or prior tool operation knowledge is required for this class.

Interaction Design Fundamentals aims to prepare students for more advanced courses involving user interface design, conversational agents, service design, digital service innovation, designing products that use artificial intelligence, persuasive design, designing gesture-based systems, human-robot interaction and design systems among others. The course prepares students for Capstone projects by equipping them with many capabilities needed to operate in teams and work with a client.