Designing our Future: The Mobility Initiative

This course is by permission only, and is meant for students in the Mobility Initiative pilot project.
Interested students should contact Evan Golub (egolub@cs.umd.edu).

In this course, we will be exploring principles in design and Human-Computer Interaction. Our thematic focus will be mobile devices in the University environment and validating hardware and software project concepts and prototypes.

Among the class activities, you will:
  • generate low-fidelity prototypes for new mobile ideas
  • work with other students in the pilot to help each other express ideas you have for new applications
  • work with other faculty and staff in the pilot to explore ideas for new applications together
  • learn how to be available as usability testers for faculty who are designing class sites to be iPod Touch/iPhone-friendly

    The course will have a number of components, integrated over the course of the Winter Term session. The class meets for classroom time from 11:00-12:30 and 1:30-3:00 from Monday through Thursday. On Friday during the same times, the class will meet primarily to work on a design project in the morning, and peer reviews of the outcomes in the afternoon.

    Some Topics We Will Explore

  • how everyday objects are designed, and how these design principles can relate to computer hardware and software too
  • an overview of the history of HCI and some of the key concepts that are "obvious" now but were far from obvious in early systems
  • the differences between system-centric, task-centric, and user-centric design
  • low-fidelity prototyping and how it can be used to accomplish a variety of goals within the design process, from early "blue-sky" brainstorming all the way through mock-ups for testing ideas before you invest time in building working systems
  • working with actual users, through four different levels of interaction and involvement (this will include usability testing techniques as well as design techniques)
  • some of the issues in psychology that heavily impact and influence how we need to approach designing new systems and updating existing systems

  • issues surrounding small-screen design, from interaction with the device to representing information in small spaces without proportionately limiting the amount of information that can be presented
  • how the form factor, UI, and networking framework of mobiles like the iPhone/iPod Touch introduce different abilities and issues than desktops, laptops, and other some previous mobiles

  • how having a small, web-enabled device can change the classroom experience in different types of courses
  • how social computing changes with the introduction of ubiquitous mobiles on a campus
  • work to identify what is "missing" from the application landscape of mobiles on campus

    Course Logistics
    Projects and writing assignments during the semester would be centered around mobile platforms (such as the iPod touch and iPhone) and the experiences you have had as a part of the Mobility Initiative pilot. You will explore desired extensions of this pilot, and also applications that you would want to see as freshmen at the University and as mobile users in general.

    Readings will be comprised of selected readings from scholarly sources such as the ACM Digital Library, sample chapters from books, as well as topical and applicable articles in respected newspapers and magazines.

    This page under development.....(but what on the Web isn't......) construction sign with flashing light