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Special Topics Courses

2023–2024 Academic Year​

All Special Topics courses can count towards the HCDE elective requirement for the MS.

Spring 2024

HCDE 598 A - Designing Platforms and Policies for Trust: Addressing the Challenges of Mis- and Disinformation (Design or Elective)

4 Credits | Enrollment TBD

In this course, we will work to understand and address the challenges of misinformation, disinformation, and strategic manipulation in online environments. First, we will work to develop a deep understanding of the problem space. We will read and discuss existing research (both historical and contemporary) on how and why misinformation and disinformation spread. We will develop a vocabulary to talk about these related, but distinct phenomena, and we will explore why our online spaces are particularly vulnerable to them. Next, applying HCDE principles, we will identify and explore different design directions — e.g. around the design of platforms and policies — for addressing these challenges. In particular, we will surface tensions between platform moderation and commitments to free speech, and discuss relevant legal cases in the United States as well as regulatory frameworks in the European Union. Our objectives are both to understand the challenges and to develop potential solutions that address them from different perspectives. Students will gain important contextual knowledge and hands-on design experience that they can take into future professional domains, where they can contribute to building more trustworthy information systems.

HCDE 598 B - Product Management for the Design Professional
(Strategy or Elective)

4 Credits | Enrollment TBD

​This course introduces product, program, and project management for the design professional. Learn how design fits into the context of the larger organization, and how designers can influence both the organization and the product development effort. General themes include communication, teamwork, leadership, management, and product development life cycles.

Winter 2024

HCDE 598 - Business and UX Research (Strategy or Elective)

4 Credits | Enrollment 40

This course covers the essential business skills needed to thrive as a UX Researcher in industry. You'll learn strategies for educating and promoting the value of UX Research and User Centered Design to different disciplines across the company. Additionally, you'll learn relationship-building with stakeholders, packaging research for diverse audiences, and excelling in daily meetings. Techniques for continuous communication via workshops, interactive sessions, podcasts, and video storytelling will also be covered. The course includes archiving and tracking insights, effective communication of insights, and negotiating funding and headcount. Furthermore, you'll gain strategies for determining research needs, securing buy-in, and managing multiple projects at a given time. These skills will ensure you are an influential UX Researcher.

HCDE 598 - Portfolio and Professional Practices (Elective)

2 Credits | Enrollment 40

This course prepares graduate students for professional practice through a survey of the past, present and future marketplace and strategizing personal work narratives and artifacts into alignment with individual career goals. Covers industry analysis, personal interest inventory, networking, job searches, recruiting and the stages of interviewing, as well as the development of elevator pitches, resumes, cover letters, and online portfolios.


Autumn 2023

HCDE 598 A - Designing Human-Robot Interactions (Design or Elective)

4 Credits | Enrollment 40

Inevitably, robots will increasingly become a part of our daily lives at home, at work, and in even in public spaces. Human-robot interaction (HRI) is a multidisciplinary field that explores interactions between humans and robots. How do humans want to interact with robots? What affordances does a social robot provide? This course explores the design of HRI using a diverse range of social robots. After a deep dive into what is known about about HRI, student teams will choose an area of interest to explore (e.g. customer service, mental health, or companionship). Then using a specific robot and platform, teams will design and test a novel interaction, be continually asked to think critically, and share learnings. The course is delivered through a mix of readings about HRI design, but also explorations of robot embodiment and social robot communication during weekly hands-on labs. Willingness to learn very basic robotics programming languages will be expected, but previous experience in computer science or coding is not required.

HCDE 598 B - Portfolio and Professional Practices (Elective)

2 Credits | Enrollment 20
This course prepares graduate students for professional practice through a survey of the past, present and future marketplace and strategizing personal work narratives and artifacts into alignment with individual career goals. Covers industry analysis, personal interest inventory, networking, job searches, recruiting and the stages of interviewing, as well as the development of elevator pitches, resumes, cover letters, and online portfolios.

 

Summer 2023

  • HCDE 598 A - Transition Design (Design or Strategy)
    • In this course, students will be introduced to the theories, frameworks, and practices of transition design — an area of design research, practice and study which looks toward design-led societal transition toward more sustainable futures. In summer 2023, we will partner with Sustainable Northeast Seattle, using a transition design approach on both new and existing efforts to create a set of interrelated services and systems for both near- and long-term implementation, seeking to create more sustainable practices and infrastructures in Seattle. Students registering for this class should have a solid understanding of user-centered design. An understanding of service design and sustainable interaction design will be helpful.

Spring 2023

  • HCDE 598 A - Ergonomics & Biomechanics in HCDE (Engineering)
    • This course will be an overview of human factors and ergonomics and the applications to design engineering. It will explore the relationships between human users and their sociotechnical environments using interdisciplinary methodologies.  Experimental methods, cognitive task analysis, human physiology,  information processing, automation, and environmental conditions will be introduced. 

Autumn 2022

  • HCDE 598 A - Service Design (Design or Strategy)
    • ​Service design is the planning and organization of infrastructure, communication, and coordination between different user experiences core to an organization’s mission and values. These experiences often occur across digital and analog experiences, filtered through a variety of media, products, and devices. Academic and industry readings will prepare students to mobilize and critique core concepts, methods, and practices within service design. Student should be prepared to produce, share, and critique artifacts such as journey maps, blueprints, and design systems that describe cohesive experiences across digital and physical touchpoints. Instruction will be studio-based, culminating in a group project.

  • HCDE 598 B - Product Management for the Design Professional (Strategy)
    • ​This course introduces product, program, and project management for the design professional. Learn how design fits into the context of the larger organization, and how designers can influence both the organization and the product development effort. General themes include communication, teamwork, leadership, management, and product development life cycles.

Summer 2022

  • HCDE 598 F - Ergonomics & Biomechanics in HCDE (Engineering)
    • This course will be an overview of human factors and ergonomics and the applications to design engineering. It will explore the relationships between human users and their sociotechnical environments using interdisciplinary methodologies.  Experimental methods, cognitive task analysis, human physiology,  information processing, automation, and environmental conditions will be introduced. A background in physics (mechanics) and calculus (differentiation and integration) will be helpful. 
       
  • HCDE 598 G - Remote UX (B-Term)
    • The course addresses current and emerging practices for conducting remote user experience investigations. Through a survey of case studies and research reports, students will be exposed to different techniques employed by UX researchers working in varied contexts. Particular attention will be paid to conducting studies with geographically and culturally diverse participants. Additional attention will be paid to new practices that have developed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Students will apply this knowledge to the design and execution of a remote study that they will conduct as their major project in the class.  In addition to in-person class meetings on Tuesdays (4:30-8:20) the class will include a weekly online meeting session on Thursday evenings (6:00-8:00) and a site visit to a regional UX research facility (TBD).  

Spring 2022

  • HCDE 598 A - Design for Virtual Reality (Design or Engineering)
    • As our need for digital mediums steadily increases during the COVID era, platforms like virtual reality become a potential avenue for not just gaming, but social interactions, intervention, and even collaborative work. But how do we ensure quality design in virtual reality? In this course you will study the UX of VR and practice design skills specifically to designing for virtual reality. You will hear from expert digital designers in the field about their tips and tricks to the trade. You will explore various platforms for prototyping in VR as well as gain brief exposure to developing for Unity and Unreal Engine. 

Winter 2022

  • HCDE 598 B - Portfolio and Professional Practice
    • Prepares graduate students for professional practice through a survey of the past, present and future marketplace and strategizing personal work narratives and artifacts into alignment with individual career goals. Covers industry analysis, personal interest inventory, networking, job searches, recruiting and the stages of interviewing, as well as the development of elevator pitches, resumes, cover letters, and online portfolios.

Autumn 2021

  • HCDE 598 A - Misinformation and Design (Design)
    • In this course, we will work to understand and address the challenges of misinformation, disinformation, and strategic manipulation in online environments. First, we will work to develop a deep understanding of the problem space. We will read and discuss existing research (both historical and contemporary) on how and why misinformation and disinformation spread. We will develop a vocabulary to talk about these related, but distinct phenomena. Next, applying HCDE principles, we will identify and explore different design directions for addressing these challenges. Our objectives are both to understand the challenges and to develop potential solutions that address them from different perspectives (e.g. as an educator or a social media platform designer). Students will gain important contextual knowledge and hands-on design experience that they can take into future professional domains (from education to policy to technology), where they can contribute to building more trustworthy information systems.
       
  • HCDE 598 B - Service Design (Design or Strategy)
    • ​Service design is the planning and organization of infrastructure, communication, and coordination between different user experiences core to an organization’s mission and values. These experiences often occur across digital and analog experiences, filtered through a variety of media, products, and devices. Academic and industry readings will prepare students to mobilize and critique core concepts, methods, and practices within service design. Student should be prepared to produce, share, and critique artifacts such as journey maps, blueprints, and design systems that describe cohesive experiences across digital and physical touchpoints. Instruction will be studio-based, culminating in a group project.
       
  • HCID 512 B (Reserved for MS HCDE students) - Interfaces Lab (Design)
    • ​Develop skills necessary to create interfaces that align with visual interface design standards and functional requirements of screen-based interactions. Provides an interdisciplinary approach to interface design and development. Emphasizes applying knowledge and best practices in interface design, improving visual fidelity, and connecting interface design outputs to other parts of the software engineering process.
       
  • HCID 598 B (Reserved for MS HCDE students) - User Centered Product Management (Strategy)
    • Introduces product and program management for the design professional. Learn how design fits into the context of the larger organization, and how designers can influence both the organization and the product development effort. Practice managing a product from ideation to delivery and beyond. General themes include communication, teamwork, leadership, management, and product development lifecycles.

Summer 2021

  • HCDE 598 A - Design for Virtual Reality (Design or Engineering)
    • As our need for digital mediums steadily increases during the COVID era, platforms like virtual reality become a potential avenue for not just gaming, but social interactions, intervention, and even collaborative work. But how do we ensure quality design in virtual reality? In this course you will study the UX of VR and practice design skills specifically to designing for virtual reality. You will hear from expert digital designers in the field about their tips and tricks to the trade. You will explore various platforms for prototyping in VR as well as gain brief exposure to developing for Unity and Unreal Engine. 
       
  • HCDE 598 B - Advanced Physical Computing (Engineering)
    • Advanced topics in engineering and prototyping interactive systems and environments for human-centered applications that use digital electronics, components, and circuits. Students build advanced systems using micro-controllers, sensors, wireless communications, and software APIs. Projects incorporate investigation of emerging technologies and their social and cultural impact. Prerequisite: HCDE 524, HCDE 539 or permission of instructor.

Spring 2021

  • HCDE 598 - Sustainable Interaction Design (Design or Strategy)
    • From extraction to manufacturing to use to disposal, digital products and services bring with them significant socio-environmental impacts that human-centered design practitioners are well positioned to address. In this project-based course, students will leverage literature review, discussion, and synthesis to co-construct and apply a lifecycle analysis framework to their design work. In doing so, students will also gain experience translating sustainable interaction design concepts and principles into actionable insights for their product design teams and organizations. 

Winter 2021

  • HCDE 598 B - Portfolio and Professional Practice
    • Prepares graduate students for professional practice through a survey of the past, present and future marketplace and strategizing personal work narratives and artifacts into alignment with individual career goals. Covers industry analysis, personal interest inventory, networking, job searches, recruiting and the stages of interviewing, as well as the development of elevator pitches, resumes, cover letters, and online portfolios.

Autumn 2020

  • HCDE 598 A - Designing Trustworthy Information Systems: Addressing the Challenges of Online Mis- and Disinformation
    • In this course, we will work to understand and address the challenges of misinformation, disinformation, and strategic manipulation in online environments. First, we will work to develop a deep understanding of the problem space. We will read and discuss existing research (both historical and contemporary) on how and why misinformation and disinformation spread. We will develop a vocabulary to talk about these related, but distinct phenomena. Next, applying HCDE principles, we will identify and explore different design directions for addressing these challenges. Our objectives are both to understand the challenges and to develop potential solutions that address them from different perspectives (e.g. as an educator or a social media platform designer). Students will gain important contextual knowledge and hands-on design experience that they can take into future professional domains (from education to policy to technology), where they can contribute to building more trustworthy information systems.

Summer 2020

  • HCDE 598 C - Design for Virtual Reality
    • As our need for digital mediums steadily increases during the COVID era, platforms like virtual reality become a potential avenue for not just gaming, but social interactions, intervention, and even collaborative work. But how do we ensure quality design in virtual reality? In this course you will study the UX of VR and practice design skills specifically to designing for virtual reality. You will hear from expert digital designers in the field about their tips and tricks to the trade. You will explore various platforms for prototyping in VR as well as gain brief exposure to developing for Unity and Unreal Engine.
       
  • HCDE 598 A - Psych of UX (Research) (Full Term)
    • At the heart of user experience (UX) is a complex interaction of human factors, sensation, perception, communication, emotion, cognition, memory, social factors, personality, neurophysiology, and other psychological principles.  In this course, we will explore how some of the fundamental tenants of modern psychology underpin how we design, interact with, evaluate, buy from, and work with, technology. This course will discuss how historical and modern HCI design has been ultimately motivated by the human psyche, it will give examples of how psychological principles are employed in products and experiences and should provide thought-points for future design, with the consideration of the humans that will ultimately be using the product(s). This seminar-style class will have an equal mix of lecture, discussion, and application, with a focus on identifying core themes of human psychology that inform modern HCI development.
       
  • HCDE 598 B - Design for Internet of Things (Engineering) (A-Term Only)
    • This class will cover topics in prototyping and engineering interactive, human-centered applications for the internet-connected ecosystem colloquially called the Internet of Things. Students will test and build systems using micro controllers, sensors, wireless communications, and software APIs. Projects incorporate investigation of these emerging technologies and their social and cultural impact. The class is a hands-on experience in a project based, studio environment. No pre-requisites: HCDE 539 recommended but not required. This course is offered in the A-Term and will meet two evenings per week over four weeks.

Spring 2020

  • HCDE 598 C - Digital Fabrication (Engineering) 
    • Computer Numerical Control (CNC) of machine tools has enabled highly precise fabrication and given rise to processes such as 3D printing and laser cutting. Computer Aided Design (CAD) software allows for precise design specifications, which can be processed for machining using Computer Aided Machining (CAM) software. In this project-based class, we will learn a variety of CAD/CAM software workflows and digital fabrication processes, including a variety of 3D printing techniques, 2D/3D scanning, laser cutting, precision sewing, CNC milling, molding/casting, and post-processing/finishing. No pre-requisites. 
       
  • HCDE 598 A - Accessibility and Inclusive Design (Design)
    • ​This course is an introduction to designing, prototyping, and evaluating inclusive user interfaces that meet the needs of a diverse range users—such as older adults, users with visual, cognitive or motor impairments, and users who are deaf or hard of hearing. Building on basic concepts in human-centered design, students will learn about design exclusion and barriers to use, and methods by which these can be overcome. Topics will cover current technologies and practical considerations (e.g., web accessibility requirements), as well as research developments and design of the next generation of accessible technologies. Students will interact with the material through readings, discussion, and individual and group assignments.
       
  • HCDE 598 D - Voice IxD (Design)
    • This course will introduce you to voice user interface (VUI) design as a human-centered design discipline.  Through readings, discussion, and in-class exercises, as well as the analysis and evaluation of a speech interface of your choice, you will get a feel for what voice interaction design is, its limits, and the tradeoffs it entails when designing such a system.  You will begin to learn how to research and design a simple user interaction with a system via a VUI and have an idea how to iterate on it, then test, evaluate and tune one.
       
  • HCDE 598 B - Mixed Methods Design/UX in the Wild (Research)
    • Gathering data in the wild is essential when we want to explore the human experience of the adoption, implementation, acceptance, or impact of technologies. In this course you will be exposed to a diverse range of creative methods to capture both qualitative and quantitative data while maintaining the contextual validity of the natural environment. As a project-based course, students will design, implement, analyze and report real-world findings.

Winter 2020

  • HCDE 598 B - Portfolio
    • Prepares graduate students for professional practice through a survey of the past, present and future marketplace and strategizing personal work narratives and artifacts into alignment with individual career goals. Covers industry analysis, personal interest inventory, networking, job searches, recruiting and the stages of interviewing, as well as the development of elevator pitches, resumes, cover letters, and online portfolios.

Autumn 2019

  • HCDE 598 A - Concepts in Designing for Coordination
    • Have you ever had to coordinate what you were doing with another person? Have you ever had to integrate your tasks with several other people? Have you ever had to design for other people who had to integrate tasks or activities? If so then you have been designing for coordination. You’re doing it anyway so you might as well do it mindfully! This seminar will be useful for anyone who wants a deeper, conceptual understanding of how coordination works. Case studies and the theories derived from them can provide insights and pointers to action and potential pitfalls. We will focus on reading and discussing case studies of people coordinating to design including designing for coordination. Case studies will include, but not be limited to, the design of software-based systems and tools. We will have active, frequent discussions and will learn how to see and talk about coordination as a design space in its own right. Students will be asked to follow chains of thought before or after key research articles by looking at papers that cite and/or are cited by others. In a few classes, we will engage in illustrative activities. Students will be encouraged to leverage their personal or professional experiences to help engage with the material in additional ways.
       
  • HCDE 598 B - Consutrcting Design Narratives (Design)
    • In this course, we look at a variety of techniques that can be utilized to create speculative and discursive designs. With the main focus being not to design the future, but rather to understand how something will affect the people using it (or those who don’t). In this studio you will design speculative or discursive objects and/or experiences, in addition to this, you will create a narrative world for your designs to live in. You can use video, exhibition, photographs, webpages, or any medium to tell this story. The goal with these designs and narratives is not to solve a problem, but to facilitate thought, discussion, and dialog surrounding a topic. The quarter will culminate with an exhibition of your work demonstrating how your collection of objects effectively communicates the world that you created.

      Summer 2019

      • HCDE 598 Introduction to Virtual Reality & Parallel Perception (Design/Elective)
        • This course is an introduction to the software and hardware tools as well as the conceptual experimentation required for designing and developing virtual environments and interacting in them. While virtual reality is very immersive, it relies on the coexistence between two perceptions, one of the real world and one of the virtual world. Since no previous VR knowledge is required from students and the learning curve for VR is steep, our goal will be to create simple VR experiences to understand the space. Students will then develop simple video-prototypes for the purpose of imagining VR possibilities unrestricted by the complication of trying to develop and build as part of the design process.

Winter 2019

  • HCDE 598 A Collaboration and Design (Elective)
    • Groups and organizations are fundamental for undertaking all sorts of difficult projects. Designing for groups and organizations merits many additional design considerations beyond those of designing for individuals. In this seminar, we will read and discuss articles about how people collaborate to get things done, with or without technology, and how people design information systems to support collaboration. The purpose of this seminar is to provide you with a greater understanding of how designing for collaboration is often both social and technical. Furthermore, this course will provide you with concepts and language for describing and talking about: social relationships and organizing, the usefulness and constraints of legacy practices and systems. This course will be taught as a seminar where we will read and discuss research papers on case studies and ethnographies. Students will be encouraged to connect the readings to their own professional experiences and to seek out industry professionals to concretize abstract concepts introduced by the research papers. 501 or 2+ years of professional experience is recommended.
       
  • HCDE 598 B Portfolio (Elective)
    • Prepares graduate students for professional practice through a survey of the past, present and future marketplace and strategizing personal work narratives and artifacts into alignment with individual career goals. Covers industry analysis, personal interest inventory, networking, job searches, recruiting and the stages of interviewing, as well as the development of elevator pitches, resumes, cover letters, and online portfolios.
       
  • HCDE 598 D Introduction to Programming (Elective)
    • In a series of simple explorations, students will become familiar with fundamental programming concepts such as data and variables, algorithmic thinking, loops and conditionals, arrays, functions and parameters, methods and modularity, and debugging techniques. These explorations will consist of weekly demos, in-class exercises, and short homework assignments. The course is designed for students with no prior background using a high-level programming language such as Java, Python, or C++.

Spring 2019

  • HCDE 598 Psychology of UX (Research)
    • At the heart of user experience (UX) is a complex interaction of human factors, sensation, perception, communication, emotion, cognition, memory, social factors, personality, neurophysiology, and other psychological principles.  In this course, we will explore how some of the fundamental tenants of modern psychology underpin how we design, interact with, evaluate, buy from, and work with, technology. This course will discuss how historical and modern HCI design has been ultimately motivated by the human psyche, it will give examples of how psychological principles are employed in products and experiences and should provide thought-points for future design, with the consideration of the humans that will ultimately be using the product(s). This seminar-style class will have an equal mix of lecture, discussion, and application, with a focus on identifying core themes of human psychology that inform modern HCI development.
       
  • HCDE 598 Voice IxD (Design)
    • This course will introduce you to voice user interface (VUI) design as a human-centered design discipline.  Through readings, discussion, and in-class exercises, as well as the analysis and evaluation of a speech interface of your choice, you will get a feel for what voice interaction design is, its limits, and the tradeoffs it entails when designing such a system.  You will begin to learn how to research and design a simple user interaction with a system via a VUI and have an idea how to iterate on it, then test, evaluate and tune one.
       
  • HCDE 598 Accessibility and Inclusive Design (Design)
    • This course is an introduction to designing, prototyping, and evaluating inclusive user interfaces that meet the needs of a diverse range users—such as older adults, users with visual, cognitive or motor impairments, and users who are deaf or hard of hearing. Building on basic concepts in human-centered design, students will learn about design exclusion and barriers to use, and methods by which these can be overcome. Topics will cover current technologies and practical considerations (e.g., web accessibility requirements), as well as research developments and design of the next generation of accessible technologies. Students will interact with the material through readings, discussion, and individual and group assignments.
       
  • HCDE 598 Video Prototyping (Elective)
    • This course explores video as a design tool. You will learn some about narrative and storytelling in the context of user-centered design. You will have the opportunity to stretch your technical abilities in the creation of visual artifacts (video, storyboard, moodboard, etc.) in service of your design vision. You will also gain a solid understanding of workflows for creating video prototypes. After taking this course, students will have the practical knowledge necessary to create a video prototype that conveys the context, problem, and intended design solution. Students will be exposed to the history of video prototypes, as well as contemporary practices, such as design fiction. The course incorporates lectures, readings, technical tutorials, and critique sessions.
       
  • HCDE 598 Digital Fabrication (Engineering) 
    • Computer Numerical Control (CNC) of machine tools has enabled highly precise fabrication and given rise to processes such as 3D printing and laser cutting. Computer Aided Design (CAD) software allows for precise design specifications, which can be processed for machining using Computer Aided Machining (CAM) software. In this project-based class, we will learn a variety of CAD/CAM software workflows and digital fabrication processes, including a variety of 3D printing techniques, 2D/3D scanning, laser cutting, precision sewing, CNC milling, molding/casting, and post-processing/finishing. No pre-requisites. 

  • HCDE 598 Portfolio (Elective)
    • Prepares graduate students for professional practice through a survey of the past, present and future marketplace and strategizing personal work narratives and artifacts into alignment with individual career goals. Covers industry analysis, personal interest inventory, networking, job searches, recruiting and the stages of interviewing, as well as the development of elevator pitches, resumes, cover letters, and online portfolios.