Designing Interactive Systems I

In case of questions, please contact Adrian ( or Krishna (

Videos of course content for WS 2018/19 is available on iTunes U (updated every week).

L2P Aachen L2P (Bonn) iTunesU
(iOS only)
(any device, needs iTunes app)
Videos on our website
(any device)


  • Monday, Oct. 15: You can download the Declaration of Compliance here. Please print the form, sign it, and it hand it back to us. Digital signatures are not valid.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 10: You can download the slides and in-class experiments from the course introduction lecture here.
  • Monday, Sep. 24: Want to get a head start with this course? Start reading Don Norman's book, "The Design of Everyday Things," which is a required read for this course. You can order it on Amazon: Paperback (13.99€), Kindle Edition (7.99€). The contents of this book are relevant for the midterm exam.

Course Description

This class introduces students to the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) and user interface design. Specifically, the course covers the following topics:

  • Fundamental characteristics of human cognition, such as reaction time, rules of perception, and memory performance
  • Models of interaction between people and their environment, such as affordances, mappings, constraints, slips, and mistakes
  • Milestones in the history of human-computer interaction
  • Principles of iterative design
  • User interface prototyping techniques
  • User studies and evaluation methods
  • Golden rules of user interface design
  • User interface design notations

After this class, students will know how user interfaces have been developed over the past decades, and what constants of human performance need to be considered when designing them. This class forms the basis for the classes “ Designing Interactive Systems II ” (which looks at more technical aspects of user interface development) and “ Current Topics in HCI and Media Computing ”, as well as the “ Post-Desktop User Interfaces ” seminar and other courses from our research group. Students will be able to apply iterative design, prototyping, and evaluation methods to design usable, appropriate user interfaces in a user-centered fashion. All assignments are group assignments to foster collaboration skills, and project-based to strengthen project planning, conflict management and presentation skills. Learning to think in designers' terms is a crucial competence for computer scientists working on user interfaces, a job that requires collaboration in interdisciplinary teams.

Course Format

Part of this class is taught in a flipped classroom style in which you will be able to watch online videos of individual topics at your own pace, and then use the face-to-face time during the studio (formerly referred to as a lecture) time slot for group assignment/project work, Q&A and one-on-one feedback from the course's lecturers. We expect you to attend all studios and labs.


For any questions about the class, please contact Adrian Wagner, M.Sc. or Krishna Subramanian, M.Sc..

Class Times and Locations

Lab Mon
Room 5053.2a/b, Informatikzentrum, Ahornstr. 55 Start: 15.10.2018
Studio Wed
Room 5053.2a/b, Informatikzentrum, Ahornstr. 55 Start: 10.10.2018

Studio + Lab Tue
0.109, B-IT Center Bonn Start: 23.10.2018

Course Allocation

Computer Science (B.Sc.), (M.Sc.)
Media Informatics (M.Sc.)/Multimedia-Benutzung und -Wirkung/in Aachen (mandatory course)
Software Systems Engineering (M.Sc.)/Areas of Specialization/Media Computing and Interactive Systems
Technical Communication (B.Sc.) (mandatory course)

Number of SWS: V3 + Ü2
ECTS Credits: 6
Course language: The lecture recordings are in English.
Exams and all submissions for assignments and the final project must be written in English.




Exam Dates

(1st Chance) Midterm Exam 8:00–10:00 Wednesday, 28.11.2018 AH III
(1st Chance) Final Exam 13:30-15:00 Friday, 08.02.2019 AH IV, AH V
2nd Chance Midterm Exam 13:30-15:30 Friday, 08.03.2019 TBA
2nd Chance Final Exam 13:30-15:30 Friday, 08.03.2019 TBA
TBA: To Be Announced

(1st Chance) Midterm Exam 8:00–10:00 Wednesday, 28.11.2018 0.109, B-IT Center, Bonn
(1st Chance) Final Exam 13:30-15:00 Friday, 08.02.2019 0.109, B-IT Center, Bonn
2nd Chance Midterm Exam 13:30-15:30 Friday, 08.03.2019 TBA
2nd Chance Final Exam 13:30-15:30 Friday, 08.03.2019 TBA
TBA: To Be Announced


Assignments will be assigned for select topics. You can find the assignments in the L2P/RWTHonline course room.
They are to be completed in groups (the group size will be dependent on the amount of registrations for the course).



Group #
Project theme
1 Commuting Krishna Subramanian
2 Safety in Makerspaces Marcel Lahaye
3 Traveling Abroad Anke Brocker
4 Traveling Abroad Anke Brocker
5 Safety in Makerspaces Marcel Lahaye
6 Commuting Krishna Subramanian
7 Interior Decoration Sebastian Hüber
8 Digital Recipes Adrian Wagner
9 Traveling Abroad Krishna Subramanian
10 Digital Recipes Adrian Wagner
11 Interior Decoration Sebastian Hüber
12 Digital Recipes Nur Hamdan
13 Commuting Krishna Subramanian
14 Digital Recipes Nur Hamdan
15 Musical Instruments Adrian Wagner
16 Interior Decoration Adrian Wagner


Group #
Project theme
1 Digital Recipes Adrian & Krishna
2 Digital Recipes Adrian & Krishna
3 Digital Recipes Adrian & Krishna
4 Digital Recipes Adrian & Krishna
5 Digital Recipes Adrian & Krishna


Your grade will be calculated as follows:

Scored Items
Assignments A01–05
Midterm exam
Final exam

Reading Material

We highly recommend that you buy Norman's book, since you have to read it for class during the first few weeks. From the Dix et. al., and Schneiderman books, you just have to read some chapters. You can find these books in the library.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Previous Offerings

Previous Offerings:

WS 17/18 - WS 16/17 - WS 15/16 - WS 14/15 - WS 13/14 - WS 12/13 - WS 11/12 - WS 10/11 - WS 09/10 - WS 08/09 - WS 07/08 - WS 06/07 - WS 05/06 - WS 04/05 - WS 03/04

Created by corsten. Last Modification: Sunday 20 of January, 2019 15:04:00 by subramanian.

Media Computing Group at RWTH Aachen