Designing Interactive Systems 1 (Winter 2023/24) 



  Class Information: Aachen

Lecture Wed, 09:30 - 12:00
(Starting Oct. 11)
Room: 2356|053.2
Lab Tue. 08:30 - 10:00
(Starting Oct. 17)
Room: 2356|053.2
Language English
Credits 6

  Class Information: Bonn

Lecture Tue, 13:00 - 15:30
(Starting Oct. 24)
Room: 0.109 in Bonn
Lab Tue, 15:45 - 17:15
(Starting Oct. 24)
Room: 0.109 in Bonn
Language English
Credits 6

 Exam Dates

1st Final Exam Wed, Feb. 14, 2024
2nd Final Exam Tue, Mar. 12, 2024

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





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

Project 40%
Final Exam 60%

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 12.
  • Sign the Declaration of Compliance, scan it, and upload it to this Sciebo folder before Thursday, October 12 (Aachen students) or Wednesday, October 25 (Bonn students). Name the file DIS1_DoC_last name_matriculation number.pdf

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

Fields of Study

  • Computer Science (B.Sc.), (M.Sc.)
  • Media Informatics (M.Sc.) (mandatory course)
  • Software Systems Engineering (M.Sc.)/Areas of Specialization/Media Computing and Interactive Systems
  • Mensch-Technik-Interaktion und Kommunikation (MTIK) (B.Sc.) (mandatory course)
  • Technical Communication (B.Sc.) (mandatory course)
  • Computational Social Science (M.Sc.)

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.

All Projects from Winter 2023

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