Designing Interactive Systems I

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


  • July 26, 2017: Want to get a head start on this course? Start reading Don Norman's book "The Design of Everyday Things," a required read. You can order it on Amazon: Paperback (13.99€), Kindle Edition (7.99€). The contents of this book are relevant for your midterm exam.

About this Course

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.

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, using the face-to-face time during the studio (formerly referred to as a lecture) time slot for group project work, one-on-one feedback, additional hands-on exercises, discussions, and Q&A. We expect you to attend all studios and labs.

Course Allocation

Fields of study:
  • Informatik (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 SWS: V3 + Ü2
ECTS Credits: 6
The lecture recordings are in English. All assignment submissions and exams must be written in English.



Lab Monday, 12:15–13:45h, 16.10.2017 onwards Room 5053.2a/b
Studio Wednesday, 09:15–11:45h, 11.10.2017 onwards Room 5053.2a/b
Midterm Exam TBA TBA
Final Exam 22.02.2018 TBA
2nd Chance Midterm Exam 22.03.2018 TBA
2nd Chance Final Exam 22.03.2018 TBA
TBA: To Be Announced

Studio + Lab Tuesday, 14:00–18:15h, 10.10.2017 onwards Main Lecture Hall, B-IT Center Bonn
Midterm Exam TBA Main Lecture Hall, B-IT Center Bonn
Final Exam 22.02.2018 Main Lecture Hall, B-IT Center Bonn
2nd Chance Midterm Exam 22.03.2018 TBA
2nd Chance Final Exam 22.03.2018 TBA
TBA: To Be Announced


Your grade will be calculated as follows:

Scored Items
Assignments A01–03
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

Past Offerings:

Created by corsten. Last Modification: Monday 21 of August, 2017 13:29:08 by subramanian.

Media Computing Group at RWTH Aachen