Interactive Design Course Descriptions

Core: Level One Courses

Refer to Certificate Program Guide for specific semesters offered.

Drawing is an essential means of communicating, and central to every artist’s and designer’s practice. This class is a more rigorous and sustained introduction to the drawing medium. Drawing I students begin learning to define shapes and forms with line: investigating weight, direction and speed through gesture, contour and planar analysis. Then moving on to value, using both additive and reductive ways of working, they learn to utilize the power of light and dark to create a sense of texture, volume and space. Spatial systems, including perspective, are investigated as well as fundamentals of composition to construct dynamic imagery. Measuring and attention to negative space are essential skills used and reinforced throughout the learning process. Transcribing what is seen or imagined into visual form utilizing multiple approaches, from note taking to rendering to diagramming and sketching, is explored. The class is structured around demonstrations, guided exercises, and sustained drawing of varied subject matter including still-life, landscape, architecture and the human form.

Design is the discipline underlying all forms of visual expression, and an understanding of design principles is the basis for all art forms. This course introduces students to the formal elements of design: line, shape, pattern, value, texture, color and space. Working through a variety of challenging exercises, students use these elements to engage with problems of visual organization. Deliberate and considered placement of visual elements into an organized whole is the basis of composition, and skills acquired in this course have direct applications to anyone working in art and design, from painters and artists to art directors, illustrators, interior designers and interactive designers.

Color is one of the most powerful, and complex, tools at the artist’s disposal. Bridging the divide between color theory and color practice, this studio course distills the essentials of color mechanics into workable studies and projects. Students explore color through creative exercises using collage and paint to understand color and how to use it effectively. Explorations of the role of light, the psychological impact of color, and how such factors as hue, value and intensity affect design are integral to the learning. Slide-illustrated presentations address the historical background of the use of color. Through the process of experiencing the interface of color theory and color application, guidelines toward developing a personal palette are discussed. Mastery of color is essential in the work of artists, illustrators, craftspeople and designers, making this course an ideal starting point.

This course introduces students to the possibilities for graphic design on the screen. Through lecture and exercises, the instructor explains the two primary Web authoring competencies, HTML and CSS, and gives you an opportunity to practice working with images, text, layouts, links and content management. You’ll be introduced to the elements and principles of design, best practices for usability and accessibility, and gain an appreciation for the user experience. You’ll finish with an understanding of both the art and science behind screen design, and a site demonstrating your new knowledge.

Explore the interdisciplinary relationship between imaging, coding, text, animation and video that come together as the designer’s toolkit. This fast-paced digital media course is ideal for the novice or even the intermediate user desiring a better understanding of computer-based workflow. A single unified Web design project, built over 12 sessions, is broken down into manageable lessons that include bitmap editing, vector graphics, page layout, image capture, preservation and manipulation. The terminology, protocols and connections between products are made clear as you become familiar with the techniques necessary for anyone who designs digitally.

Varies by semester. Electives may be taken at any point in the program, provided prerequisites have been met.

Concentration: Level Two Courses

Refer to Certificate Program Guide for specific semesters offered.
Note: Successful completion of the Core curriculum (above) is crucial prior to starting the Concentration level.

Although your computer may physically sit on your desk, it is virtually connected to a wide array of devices on an emergent global network. Web architecture is, in broadest terms, everything that allows traffic to speed along this electronic superhighway of interconnectivity. In this course, we examine the origins, design, and implementation of computer networks, and classify them by scale, protocol and connection method. Network topology, both physical and logical, is introduced, as well as the hardware (hubs, switches and routers) and protocols that allow for smooth communication and flow of data. An understanding of Web architecture is critical to Web designers, digital media artists, and anyone needing to learn the rules of the virtual road.

JavaScript is a platform-independent, event-driven, interpreted programming language that enables a Web designer to add exciting features to what might otherwise be a static webpage. The course starts with an introduction to the document object model and a review of basic programming concepts and builds momentum as students learn to use and customize freely available scripts and to avoid common pitfalls. Browser integration with a JavaScript enhanced page is also a lesson topic that pays heed to the primary objective of all Web authors as they create an attractive site with full data retrievability. Class exercises give students the experience of setting up a small set of webpages using examples of JavaScript, such as status bar messages, event handlers and image rollovers.

This course explores the design of compelling visual user interface solutions for mobile devices from concept to screen, resulting in clear prototypes to help designers better communicate with developers. Building on their existing knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite, students utilize industry-standard prototyping tools for collaboration and workflow, as they generate content in the layout editor of their choice. Students design a fully realized prototype with every action area of consequence simulated in order to thoughtfully develop and test the user experience. Ultimately, critical reviews and usability testing will be enacted so that students experience a complete cycle of design, editing, testing, refinement and finalization of their fully developed User Interface (UI) prototype.

Creating an interface that is easy to use and appropriate for the intended audience on multiple devices is a challenge. Participants in this course develop an understanding of the interface design process, from determining client and user needs to creating the content structure, navigation and screen appearance of a graphically rich site. Students learn to enhance a site’s usability and effectiveness by considering perceptual and cultural factors, screen design principles, icon creation, usability standards and their own experiences as end users. Focusing on the design aspects for interactivity rather than the technology, students work from concept to wireframes to gain an understanding of the design process for building usable and compelling interfaces for desktop and mobile display.

As the preeminent presentation language of the Web, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) allows designers to effectively separate form and content, while reinforcing their control over a site’s published appearance. With the introduction of CSS3 and HTML5 standards, the Web is becoming a much more stable and robust platform for designers, whose work must now stretch from traditional desktop browsers to an ever-widening array of mobile devices. In this course, you’ll become familiar with CSS behavior through lectures and exercises in a project-based learning model that anticipates the likely changes in CSS standards. You can expect your resulting webpages to be more structurally sound, as they demonstrate the qualities that have long been associated with inspired design.

This advanced course moves the interactive designer’s skill set forward to seriously consider the end user experience and learn interactive wireframing and other processes for app or large website designs. To this end, students create workflow maps, wireframes and interactive models as final deliverables for their class exercises and projects. Software tools like Sketch (or its equivalent) and Invision are used, leading students to develop their processes for creating highly interactive experiences. Throughout the course, the instructor discusses aspects of user interface principles, monitors interaction flows, and asks students to consider user expectations and ease-of-use in today’s world of modern interactive projects.

The portfolio is the culmination of the students’ ability to market their skills and showcase their work. Focusing on a single project throughout this course, students build their portfolio site using skills learned in previous courses, and apply marketing and promotional approaches to their work. This course is intended to give students a chance to create a site that will help them get work, with reviews of “best of class” portfolio sites providing an overview of the field. Topics of discussion include the differences in roles and positions within companies; self-employment; accepted business practices; negotiating; pricing; developing contracts and other Web professional issues. Certificate students: Your instructor will schedule a final portfolio review date, independent of the scheduled class dates.

Varies by semester. Electives may be taken at any point in the program, provided prerequisites have been met.