|Instructor: Evan Golub egolubUMD@gmail.com|
When designing, whether software or hardware, whether the goals are increased productivity, entertainment, education, art, or others it is an integral part of the creativity process to prototype your ideas. It is also crucial to consider the users of your creation and the experiences that they will have. It is important to be familiar with existing technologies as well as ideas from the past which can inform your design, but also important to utilize techniques and technologies that will allow your creativity to flow naturally, and support the involvement of example users in the process.
As you are prototyping a solution to a problem, you will want to assess responses to your creativity, especially in the context of usability, at several stages from early paper prototypes through medium-fidelity prototypes through the creation of the final release. It will also be important to consider ethical issues associated with the design of the technology that you are creating.
Something that we will explore via in-class activities and out-of-class assignments is the creation of an immersive 360° single-location "look around you" tour, such as the one at ter.ps/McKeldin360 (meant to be viewed in a VR headset, but you can click and drag the image around in a regular browser to "look" at the info dot hotspots).
The field of Human-Computer Interaction draws in researchers from many disciplines. Here at Maryland, our HCI Lab has had faculty and students from departments including Computer Science, Psychology, the iSchool, Journalism, Sociology, Business, and English. How do these teams proceed when designing new technologies for and with the people for whom the technologies are being built? If your core group is more science and engineering focused, how do you bring diverse viewpoints into a team's work?
This course will explore and address issues and questions such as these!
In this course, we will have hands-on in-class exercises, individual homework assignments, as well as team projects that are related to design, creativity, prototyping, and the assessment of technology prototypes. Our target platforms will be some form of existing technology (desktops, tablets, smartphones, VR headsets) but the things we create will aim to fill a gap in current experiences, or improve a current resource. Some of our conceptualizing, building, and assessing of prototypes will take place with low-fidelity prototypes built using arts and crafts supplies or tools such as photo editors, via different techniques that we will explore in class. We will also explore several approaches to creating medium-fidelity prototypes using existing tools, with a little programming and a web library that I've created mixed in. Our focus will be on things that should be done while in the design phases for something that will eventually be programmed/built as a production release.
As a class, we will look at various prototyping tools and explore some introductory programming concepts, but not with the intent of full-fledged programming from scratch. Paired programming approaches, where we can embrace the diverse nature of the DCC population by having students with previous programming experience paired with students without any, will allow everyone to work on building some small programs with ample support and co-discovery.
Perhaps unlike many traditional courses (where there is a single set of learning outcomes expected for all students) you will find that while there are uniform overall goals, and certain individual assignments, the pair and team dynamics of much of what we will do allows for a level of individuality when it comes to certain learning outcomes. For example, students with non-technical backgrounds may gain new insight into technology, students with technical backgrounds may gain new insight into the power of diversity in technology projects, and students with diverse backgrounds will learn how the different "parts" of their world can interact.
The main team project will have an interactive prototype, created with a modern software prototyping tool, as one of the outcomes, but you will find that much of the design work and brainstorming will happen using "paper prototyping" via arts and crafts supplies and graphical tools such as Photoshop, and that much time and creativity will be invested thinking about and working with potential users.
Potential Course Topics
Some Student Learning Outcomes