Designing Interactive Systems (Winter 2022) 



  Class Information: Aachen

Lab Tue, 08:30 - 10:00
(starting Tue, Oct 18)
  Room: 2356|053.2
Lecture Wed, 09:30 - 12:00
(starting Wed, Oct 12)
  Room: 2356|053.2 
Language English
Credits 6

  Class Information: Bonn

Lab Tue, 15:45 - 17:15
(starting Tue, Oct 25)
  Room: 0.109

Tue, 13:00 - 15:15
(starting Tue, Oct 25)
Room: 0.109

Language English
(BSc/MSc CS)

 Exam Dates

Midterm Exam Dec 06, 2022
1st Final Exam Feb 10, 2023
2nd Final Exam Mar 17, 2023

Course Seats Assigned

The seats for the course have been assigned. If you received a seat for the course, you will see that you received a "Fixplatz" in RWTHonline for the course.


  • This course is limited to 120 seats. To take part in this course, you need to follow the Registration Guide by Thursday, 13 October.
  • We will teach this course in person. If the COVID-19 situation and the university's guidelines change, we allow ourselves the possibility of switching to remote teaching.
  • The lecture will be recorded. We will only record the presenter and not the students. However, if you ask a question your voice will be in the recording. Therefore, have a look at the declaration of consent regarding lecture video recordings
  • In the first lecture, we will do some in-class experiments. For this, download this zip and print out the experiment sheet (pay attention that the scale is 100% in your printing dialog).

Short class overview by Prof. Jan Borchers


This class introduces you to the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and user interface design. Specifically, it covers the following topics:

  • Fundamental concepts of human cognition, such as 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 design thinking and iterative design.
  • Techniques for prototyping user interfaces.
  • User studies and evaluation methods.
  • Golden rules of user interface design.
  • User interface design notations.

After this class, you will know how user interfaces have evolved 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. You will be able to apply design thinking methods for iterative design, prototyping, and evaluation to design usable, appropriate user interfaces in a user-centered fashion. All assignments are group-based to foster collaboration skills, and project-centered to strengthen organizational skills, 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.

This class is limited to 120 seats. You need to register and sign a Declaration of Compliance to obtain a seat in this course.


You will need to create and edit videos for assignments and the project during this class. We don't teach video editing or provide video editing software; you will find these resources readily online.


Prof. Dr. Jan





  • Course Introduction, Fitts' Law, The CMN Model

    • Lecture 1

      Aachen: Wed, Oct 12
      Bonn: Please watch the recording of the Aachen lecture

    • Lab 1

      Aachen: Tue, Oct 18
      Bonn: —

  • Gestalt Laws, Information Content, Visibility, Affordances

    • Lecture 2

      Aachen: Wed, Oct 19
      Bonn: Please watch the recording of the Aachen lecture

    • Lab 2

      Aachen: Tue, Oct 25
      Bonn: —

  • Mappings, Constraints, Seven Stages of Actions

    • Lecture 3

      Aachen: Wed, Oct 26
      Bonn: Tue, Oct 25

    • Lab 3

      Aachen: Tue, Nov 08
      Bonn: Tue, Nov 08

  • Knowledge in the World and Head, Mistakes, Slips

    • Lecture 4

      Aachen: Wed, Nov 02
      Bonn: Tue, Nov 08

    • Lab 4

      Aachen: Tue, Nov 15
      Bonn: Tue, Nov 15

  • Visual Design

    • Lecture 5

      Aachen: Wed, Nov 16
      Bonn: Tue, Nov 15

    • Lab 5

      Aachen: Tue, Nov 22
      Bonn: Tue, Nov 22

  • History of HCI 1: From Abacus to Macintosh

    • Lecture 6

      Aachen: Wed, Nov 23
      Bonn: Tue, Nov 22

    • Lab 6

      Aachen: Tue, Nov 29
      Bonn: Tue, Nov 29

  • History of HCI 2: Visions, UbiComp, Phase of Technology

    • Lecture 7

      Aachen: Wed, Nov 30
      Bonn: Tue, Nov 29

  • Midterm

    • Midterm

      The midterm will take place for Aachen students in AH II (Aachen), and for Bonn students in 0.109 (Bonn).
      Date: Tue, Dec 06 — 13:00-15:00

  • DIA Cycle, Observing Users, Brainstorming, Storyboards

    • Lecture 8

      Aachen: Wed, Dec 07
      Bonn: Tue, Dec 06

    • Lab 7

      Aachen: Tue, Dec 13
      Bonn: Tue, Dec 13

  • Prototyping

    • Lecture 9

      Aachen: Wed, Dec 14
      Bonn: Tue, Dec 13

    • Lab 8

      Aachen: Tue, Dec 20
      Bonn: Tue, Dec 20

  • Evaluation

    • Lecture 10

      Aachen: Wed, Dec 21
      Bonn: Tue, Dec 20

    • Lab 9

      Aachen: Tue, Jan 10
      Bonn: Tue, Jan 10

  • GOMS, Interface Efficiency

    • Lecture 11

      Aachen: Wed, Jan 11
      Bonn: Tue, Jan 10

    • Lab 10

      Aachen: Tue, Jan 17
      Bonn: Tue, Jan 17

  • Ten Golden Rules, Responsiveness

    • Lecture 12

      Aachen: Wed, Jan 18
      Bonn: Tue, Jan 17

    • Lab 11

      Aachen: Tue, Jan 24
      Bonn: Tue, Jan 24

  • Notations

    • Lecture 13

      Aachen: Wed, Jan 25
      Bonn: Tue, Jan 25

  • Project Presentations

    • Aachen

      Tue, Jan 31
      Wed, Feb 01

    • Bonn

      Tue, Jan 31
      Tue, Jan 31

  • Final Exams

    The final exams will take place for all students in Aachen.

    • Final Exam PT1


    • Final Exam PT2




Your overall grade will be calculated from your grades (not points!) as follows:

Assignments 20%
Midterm 25%
Project 20%
Final Exam 35%

Fields of Study

  • 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)
  • Computational Social Science (M.Sc.)

Course Allocation and Registration Guide

Number of SWS: V3+Ü2
ECTS Credits: 6
Course language: English for all lectures, assignments, and exams

  • Register for the course in RWTHonline by Thursday, October 13.
  • Sign the pdfDeclaration of Compliance and hand it before Thursday, October 13. For this, send the course supervisors (Marcel and Ricarda) an email with the subject "[DIS1] DoC <your full name>" and the PDF file named "DIS1_WS22_<your MatrNr>_<your last name>.

We will announce who has been selected for the course by email at the end of the week.

Reading Material

We highly recommend that you buy Norman's book since you have to read it for the 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

All Projects from Winter 2022

Lecture Zoom Recordings Declaration of Consent

The lecture will be recorded. We will only record the presenter and not the students. However, if you ask a question your voice will be in the recording. Therefore, have a look at the declaration of consent regarding lecture video recordings.


Group #
Project topic
  How Can We Use a Car While Not Using It?
  Making Mopping Fun
  Motivating Students to Stay Focused During Lectures
  Spy App: Mindful Use of Technology
  Making Chores Fun
  CookSpot: The Cooking Spotlight
  Mindful Use of Technology
  Making Chores Fun – Throwing Board
  Helping You Reminding Your Flatmates of Their Tasks
  Helping Activists Escape Their Bubble
  Making Game Streams Interactive
  Bonfire: Connecting People on the Go
  Reward Pedestrians for Being More Observant in Traffic
  Connecting Spatially Separated Teams
  Better Betting: An Overlay for Betting on Stream
  Waiting for the Laundry Turned a Game
  Preventing Spoilage of Forgotten Food
  Making Shopping Fun
  Stationary Car
  Visibility in the Kitchen
  Include and Motivate Participants of Teambuilding Events
  Finding Activities for Team Building Experiences


Group #
Project topic
1 Carcuum
2 Act n' Play
3 Smartypants
4 Konmari Katze

Previous Offerings

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