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SIGIA-L Mail Archives: SIGIA-L: user experience curriculum

SIGIA-L: user experience curriculum

Date: Wed Mar 20 2002 - 15:31:46 EST

Hi all,

I'm meeting this week with the program coordinator at the local university where I teach user-centered web design on a continuing education basis. I'll be disussing the creation of a user experience certificate. Right now it's all very preliminary, but I've been thinking about the curriculum. What works for HCI is still too academic - I'm not able to sell "scientist-practitioners" as an outcome for the program. I just need to develop "user experience practitioners" who are reasonably well rounded, with some advanced courses for specialization if there's demand (say in IA, interaction design, or usability evaluation).

Here's the brainstormed course list I've got sitting on my desk right now:

- User experience introduction (background, history, goals of field, process, canon, future)
- Fundamentals of human-computer interaction (basic cognition, Fitts' law, goms, hick's law, affordances, etc. Humane Interface meets Design of Everyday Things meets Readings in HCI)
- Information Architecture 1 (content focused - taxonomy, labeling, polar bears)
- Information Architecture 2 (more content - facets, metadata, search, information foraging, Claude Shannon)
- Business requirements & ROI (requirements gathering, business metrics, ROI literature, ROI calculations, requirements spec.)
- User requirements & ROI (participatory design research, field research, contextual inquiry, user goals, task analysis, creating requirements spec.)
- Branding (what is brand, touchpoints, communcations. User & Task Analysis for Interface Design + Mike Kuniavsky's book + Andy Dillon's book when they're done)
- Interaction design (goals of interaction design, user flow, work processes plus Prototyping Techniques (paper, wizard of oz, scenario design, wireframing, Visio, HTML. IDEO + Cooper)
- Information Design (Tufte. more tufte. Wurman. Other accessible things? Cognitive artifacts.)
- Visual interface design (color theory, typography, visual rhythm, layout)
- Usability evaluation (heuristic evaluation, cognitive walkthrough, discount usability testing, formal usability testing, remote testing)

What's missing? What's extra? If you wanted to specialize in say, interaction design, what would you hope for after going through the basics? For that matter, should all these courses be required? If not, what are the required courses, & which are electives? Do you see other courses as electives, required, or prerequisites? Potential topics for advanced courses?

Typical course lengths in the university's Faculty of Extension certificate programs are 2-3 days (16-24 hours, over evenings & weekends). Some courses may be longer, some shorter.

My current course follows a "introduce the concept. discuss the theory. do a related exercise, often in a group" instructional model. Something I think is core is lots of hands-on exercises.

Offering the courses online isn't under discussion at the moment. Some topics lend themselves to online learning, and some don't (those that don't are particularly courses with group projects doing physical prototyping, or usability evaluation with real users).

many thanks for your thoughts on this.



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