COMD 3562 — E248 UX & UI DESIGN


Day & Time: Wednesday, 6:00PM – 9:20PM
Instructor: Jerron Smith


User Experience (UX) Design is an essential component in developing websites, applications, and any other type of product intended to be used by people. This course examines the leading concepts of user—­centered design through readings, discussions and assignments. Practical concerns include evaluation of technology needed to create or maintain websites; and exploration of a step ­by ­step process for creating products using flow charts, content trees and schematics. Students will also gain an understanding of issues surrounding usability on the Web, knowledge management and Web strategy.


“UX Design isn’t about making something pretty— it’s about creating exceptional products that people want and needed”

Often Quoted Truism of UX Design

UI/UX design is an essential component of today’s design landscape. This course examines the leading concepts of user-centered design through readings, discussions and assignments. Practical concerns include methodologies for research, wireframing, rapid prototyping and developing an interactive project from an abstract idea through the UX and UI Design processes. Students will gain an understanding of the tools and issues surrounding usability on desktops and with mobile devices, along with the various concerns involved in interactivity in general.


Attendance is taken and is important to success in this class. Both absences and arrival more than 15 minutes after the start of class will be marked. If excessive, the instructor will alert the student that he or she may be in danger of not meeting the course objectives and participation expectations, which could lead to a lower grade.


Students and all others who work with information, ideas, texts, images, music, inventions, and other intellectual property owe their audience and sources accuracy and honesty in using, crediting, and citing sources. As a community of intellectual and professional workers, the College recognizes its responsibility for providing instruction in information literacy and academic integrity, offering models of good practice, and responding vigilantly and appropriately to infractions of academic integrity. Accordingly, academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and at New York City College of Technology and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion.


“I don’t care about what you think, or what you feel, or what you know in your heart or hearts to be true. None of that is verifiable.  I only care about what you can support.
Answers without reasons are useless to me.”

Jerron Smith

A large emphasis will be placed on awareness of the design world by observing the state of design in our community: books, publications, web sources, museums and graphic art organizations. Students are expected to gather reference materials for all their projects and are encouraged to use the college’s library resources.

More important than simple library research user research techniques such as but not limited to user interviews, focus groups, A/B Testing and surveys will be utilized.


Unless otherwise noted, projects given as Homework Assignments are due at the beginning of class and must be handed in (if physical), placed on the server, Flash Drive or sent in email to be reviewed; otherwise it is considered late.
ANY MISSED ASSIGNMENTS WILL EARN ZERO POINTS. Assignments received after the deadline will drop a grade at the end of the class. After that time period, any late assignment will earn a zero. A final folder of all projects will be handed in via DropBox, Google Drive, Creative Cloud or other file storage/sharing service along with the final project at the end of the semester.


You are expected to give thoughtful, constructive feedback in class. This is especially important in the UX/UI class. A large part of how we will explore UX design is via discussions. You are to be prepared for each session, meaning you will have read all required selections, performed all appointed tasks, and completed all homework. You are to do your homework with professionalism and to seek help as soon as possible.


Come to class on time: Students arriving more than 15 minutes late may be marked absent.

Attend all classes: Each week we will build on the work learned the week before. If you must miss a class, please let me know ahead of time. It is your responsibility to obtain any missed material from your fellow classmates, and to turn assignments in on time even if you are absent. Students missing more than two classes risk failing the course.

Turn in assignments on time: Homework turned in late will lose 10 points for every day that it is late. Work turned in more than two weeks from the due date will not be accepted. Project 1 and Project 2 may not be turned in late. Missing projects may result in a failing grade for the project.

Ask Questions: This is a technical class, and we will be covering a lot of information in a short time. If you are confused, lost, need clarification, etc, please don’t hesitate to ask questions in class. Chances are your fellow students will benefit from the answers AND this will add to your class participation grade! I am also available between classes via email.

SAVE, SAVE, AND SAVE AGAIN: There will be no sympathy for work lost for not saving properly.

BACK UP YOUR WORK: Murphy’s Law Applies In All Things–You will lose your flash drive or it will become corrupted. Save your work in at least two places. Cloud-based services like dropbox can work as well if not better than a computer at home.


I reserve the right to change the syllabus or grading formula as I see fit, given the composition and progress of the class. I will notify the class as to these changes in writing in a timely fashion.


FLASH DRIVE: or other portable storage device. This will be used to transfer your work from home and class.

SKETCHBOOK/NOTEBOOK: For taking notes during technical demonstrations, brainstorming sessions, and for sketching ideas for projects. YOU WILL HAVE TO PUT PENCIL TO PAPER AND DRAW. I highly recommend you use a squared sketchbook.


RECOMMENDED BOOKS (I’ll give you a bunch of these digitally)

The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition

Don Norman

ISBN-10: 0465050654

Undercover User Experience Design

Cennydd Bowles and James Box

ISBN-10: 0321719905

Lean UX: Designing Great Products with Agile Teams

by Jeff Gothelf

ISBN-10: 1491953608




Instructional Objectives

For the successful completion of this course students should be able to:


Evaluation method/criteria:

Define and explain basic concepts of UI/UX, Information architecture, product management and the role of Designers. Students will demonstrate competency in written exercises and presentations leading up to an investor pitch.
Define and explain the applications of UI/UX, Information architecture and product management. Students will demonstrate competency by completing projects and presenting their process workflow.
Demonstrate a proficiency in using UX research tools and methods. Demonstrate how to choose the most appropriate method or approach for a specific project. Group and/or individual interaction projects.
Speaking: the student will demonstrate the ability to articulate him/herself using relevant industry-specific vocabulary. Evaluated through class discussions and project presentations.
Social Interaction: The student will demonstrate the ability to work as part of a team, including people from a variety of backgrounds, and build consensus. Evaluate the collaboration and integration of the team during the group project, class participation and group presentation


Grade    Numerical Meaning of Grade
A (Excellent) 4.0 Represents exemplary work. Work consistently exceeds expectations of professional craft and quality.
B+ 3.5
B (Good) 3.0 Work meets basic expectations of professional craft and quality.
C+ 2.5
C (Satisfactory) 2.0 Work does not meet professional expectations of craft and quality.
D (Unsatisfactory) 1.0


The final grade for this course will be determined by the grades each student earns on the following projects and assignments. The grading is done using a numerical point system with each gradable assignment worth a certain maximum number of points. The maximum numerical value that is possible exceeds 100, allowing a student to make up for a weak showing in one area with a stronger final project.

Project/Assignment Maximum Value
Main Project pt. 1: Presentation—Stakeholder/Competitor & User Research | Persona/Scenario Research 20 pts.
Main Project pt. 2: UX Design Deck—Combining  Research from Main Project 1 with UI and User Testing—Stand alone deck 30 pts
Main Project pt. 3: Final Presentation—Combining  Research from Project 1 with UI and User Testing

This is the Final Presentation

25 pts
Homework 5  pts.
Preparation & Participation 10  pts.
Attendance 15  pts.
Total: 105 pts

Range in % Letter Grade Range in % Letter Grade
95-100 A 72-77 C
90-94 A- 70-71 C-
88-89 B+ 68-69 D+
82-87 B 62-67 D
80-81 B- 60-61 D-
78-79 C+ 0-59 F


There will be a single main project completed during this semester. This project will be divided into three different deliverables; an initial presentation, final deck and final presentation.

Project Description:

The student will perform the UX and UI Design for a product created by another member of the class.

The student will research viable competitors, potential users, develop the product  to the wireframe stage and then perform user testing on it.

The grading for this project will be divided into multiple parts including multiple presentations and a final project deck.


Class 1:

Course Description | What are User Experience (UX) & User Interface (UI) Design? | UX ≄UI | Dieter Rams 10 Principles of Good Design | UX Design Deliverables | UI Design Deliverables | General UX Design Workflow | General UI Design Workflow | Understanding Iterative Design | Design as an Evolutionary Process | Evidence Based Decision Making | Iterative Design

Class 2:

UX Design Workflow in Depth | UX Deliverables | An Introduction to UX Design Patterns | UX Design Research Techniques

Homework: Initial Product Development

What does your Product Do? | Why should anyone care? | Who will use your product | What platform do you want your product on? | What makes your product unique? | What customer problem does your product solve?

Class 3:

The Importance of Research | Understanding UX research methods | Conducting Stakeholder Research | Conducting User Research | UX Design Tools in Depth | Understanding your User | Understanding your User’s Pain Points | How to Design for Failure

Class 4:

Project Assignment | Creating a Persona | Storytelling & Scenario Building | What are Personas? | What are Scenarios? | How is a UX designer a storyteller?

Class 5:

Developing Your Structure—Information Architecture | Developing your Iconography | Mapping User Interaction | Study the USER—What he/she says, What he/she does, What he/she makes

Class 6:

Wireframing | Content Wireframes | Low-Fidelity Wireframes | High–Fidelity Wireframes | Understanding your Medium

Class 7:

Wireframing—Evaluating the User Experience | Iterative Design

Class 8:

What is UI Design?| UI Design Workflow in Depth| Understanding Skeuomorphism | Designing and Planning your User Interface | An Introduction UI Design Patterns | Color & Psychology | Understanding the meaning of Symbols |

Class 9:

UI Development | Iconography | Moodboards & Style Tiles

Class 10:  

Creating & Testing Interactive/Click Through Prototypes | Usability Testing | Software demonstration

Class 11:

Creating & Testing Interactive/Click Through Prototypes | Usability Testing | Software demonstration

Class 12:

Creating & Testing Interactive/Click Through Prototypes | Usability Testing | Software demonstration

Class 13:

Usability Testing | Studio Session | Individual Project Reviews

Class 14:

Final Presentation/Pitch Pt. 1

Class 15: Final Presentation/Pitch Pt. 2

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