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A new English-taught course offered by the HSE Faculty of Computer Science kicks off on Coursera on July 17, 2017: Mobile Interaction Design: How to Design Usable Mobile Products and Services. Its author is Pavel Manakhov, Associate Professor at the HSE School of Software Engineering and Lead Interaction Designer at UsabilityLab.
The main objective of this course is to teach students how to develop mobile app interfaces, which are easy-to-use and visually attractive for users. The creation of a usable product is called ‘interaction design’, whereby a mobile app developer thinks first about the people who would use this product, and then aims at making their interaction with the app comfortable, while also giving consideration to the possible scenarios of its use in detail.
In order to learn how to develop usable apps, one should have a feel for the product’s target audience, know how to evaluate its usability, be aware of the various methods for usability inspection, and employ the most effective methods in specific situations. In addition, mobile app designers can use guidelines and best practices for interaction design, information architecture, and visual design. And this is what the course is about – finding the right ‘recipe’ for an interface that is not only usable, but also looks attractive.
‘In this course, I speak a lot not only about solution design, but also about the analytical and empirical methods for evaluating the usability of these solutions, such as expert scenario evaluation, or guerrilla usability. Quality evaluation is an integral part of the interaction design process. I strongly believe that without learning to evaluate solutions, it’s impossible to get a usable and attractive design in the end.
‘When I was developing this course, I was interested in targeting the layer between theoretical introductory courses and strictly practical courses aimed at mastering specific tools. That’s why students will have to learn how to work with the tools independently when carrying out practical assignments.’
Furthermore, this course was designed for specialists in related areas, such as software development, management, and digital graphic design, as well as young professionals, who have an understanding of what interaction design is, but don’t have enough experience in this field and want to learn more. The course’s progression provides students with a special approach to product design, which means intensive research in design solutions, as well as selecting the most interesting solutions based on the data held by designers. To cut a long story short, this course teaches students how to come up with reasonable design solutions, rather than simply move pixels across the screen.
Another unique thing about this course is its focus on explaining the concept of usability problems, in conjunction with the scenario method of usability evaluation, which is employed by UsabilityLab. Thanks to this approach, the course will also be interesting for professionals with experience in interaction design.
The duration of the course is 10 weeks. It is free, but the students may also purchase their own track, which provides access to tests and the practical assignment. A certificate is issued upon successful completion of the course. The practical assignment includes choosing a mobile app, talking to its users, then planning and carrying out a guerilla usability study, rectifying any identified problems and basing the project’s solutions on relevant study data.
The course starts on July 17. Registration is open until July 22, so don’t be late!