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University of Minnesota

User Interface Design

University of Minnesota via Coursera Specialization


In this Specialization, you will learn industry-standard theory and methods for developing successful user interfaces (UIs). Upon completing this Specialization, you will have fluency with the user research, prototyping and evaluation techniques necessary for creating intuitive interfaces that facilitate good user experiences. You will also have demonstrated this fluency through an in-depth Capstone Project that can be shown to prospective employers in the fast-growing field of UI design. Concepts and techniques covered include structured approaches for helping you understand your user base and their needs (e.g. contextual inquiry and design psychology), widely-employed prototyping and design methods (e.g. low-fidelity and paper prototyping), and robust techniques for helping you evaluate your design choices (e.g. heuristic evaluation and user studies). By the end of the Specialization, you will be comfortable applying these concepts and techniques to design an interface for a wide variety of users from around the world.


Course 1: Introduction to UI Design
- In this course, you will gain an understanding of the critical importance of user interface design. You will also learn industry-standard methods for how to approach the design of a user interface and key theories and frameworks that underlie the design of most interfaces you use today. Through a series of case studies on commercial systems - many of which you likely use on a regular basis - we will illustrate the benefits of good design. We will also demonstrate how the costs of bad design can often be severe (in user experience, money, and even human lives). You will then gain a high-level understanding of the user-interface design process. You will be introduced to common design scenarios - e.g. improving on existing designs and starting a new design from scratch - and the general design processes that tend to be used for each scenario. Finally, we will begin introducing the large body of existing knowledge on design by providing overviews of core user interface design theories and concepts. This key foundational information will help you avoid “reinventing the wheel” when you are designing your interfaces in this specialization.

Course 2: User Research and Design
- In this course you will learn and practice techniques of user research and early UI design exploration. First, you will learn and practice several techniques for user research, including in-person research and survey and log-analysis techniques. Then, you will learn to analyze and deliver user research in forms that support UI design, including personas, use cases, tasks, and scenarios. Finally, you will learn and practice ideation techniques that start from user research and broadly generate potential design ideas.

Course 3: Prototyping and Design
- In this course you will learn how to design and prototype user interfaces to address the users and tasks identified in user research. Through a series of lectures and exercises, you will learn and practice paper- and other low-fidelity prototyping techniques; you will learn and apply principles from graphic design, including design patterns; you will learn to write a design rationale; and you will learn how to design for specific populations and situations, including principles and practices of accessible design.

Course 4: Evaluating User Interfaces
- In this course you will learn and practice several techniques for user interface evaluation. First we start with techniques that can be applied alone or in a design team, including action analysis, walkthroughs, and heuristic evaluation. Then we move on to user testing, including learning from a series of usability tests carried out in a real usability lab, and techniques to carry out your own tests even without a lab. Finally, we wrap up the discussion of evaluation--and of UI Design in the specialization as a whole--by looking at the question of how to set and measure usability goals, and in turn, when a design is usable enough to release it.

Course 5: UI Design Capstone
- This Capstone Course for the UI Design Specialization is a group design project in which you will combine and demonstrate the user research, design/prototyping, and evaluation skills you've learned by designing the solution to one of a set of selected projects. This UI Design Capstone course will close for new learner enrollment on 1/18/2021. On 2021/01/18, we are planning to launch a new version of the Specialization, which will not include the Capstone Project (the fifth Course of the Specialization). Altogether, there will be four courses: Introduction to UI Design, User Research and Design, Prototyping and Design, and Evaluating User Interfaces. With the removal of the Capstone Project, you will be able to receive the Specialization Certificate once you complete all the four courses. To join the new version of the Specialization, you should follow the upgrade flow that will appear when the new version launches on 2021/01/18. Any progress will be carried over to the latest version of the Specialization once you upgrade.


Taught by

Dr. Brent Hecht, Haiyi Zhu, Joseph A Konstan, Lana Yarosh and Loren Terveen

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