Course Description

You've just fixed a usability problem and are about to release the updated app or website... but have you really got it right this time? Is there an unusual use case you haven't thought of? Can you ever be sure? Thankfully, applying formal methods to your design can help you.

Formal methods are usually employed in mathematical and scientific fields, as the preferred way of presenting information. Many mathematical and scientific theories we know today are in fact written in a formal manner. The scientific theory of gravity, for instance, is presented with all variables, parameters, and factors clearly named and defined, and all assumptions explicitly stated. The power of formalism is that it allows a concept, theory, or model to be completely and clearly defined, so anyone who reads it can easily spot any gaps in logic or exceptions to the rule.

When applied to design, formal methods allow designers to flesh out the entire product (e.g., all the states of an app) explicitly and completely. This allows designers to spot potential flaws in the design (e.g., incomplete user flows, links, or buttons that are not defined in the design, etc.) in less time.

In this course, you will learn how various forms of formal notation and methods can help you catch potentially disastrous problems early in a design process. Formal design methods will also give you confidence that the delivered systems are both what you intended and as free from major usability flaws as possible. You will also learn how to use formal methods to increase the probability that the developers will deliver precisely the design you intended.

What you will learn

  • An introduction to formal methods, and examples of how formalism can help in design problems
  • A brief history of the development of formalisms (in logic, mathematics, and science)
  • How to use dialogue notation, such as state transition networks, to present the different states in your designs as well as annotate any danger states that might be present
  • What states are, and what the various kinds of states that can exist in an interactive product are
  • How to model and specify the states of a design in a detailed manner

Who should take this course

This is an advanced-level course on formal methods, and it is recommended for designers with some form of experience:

  • UX designers keen on boosting their workflows by incorporating formal methods into their designs
  • Project managers looking to improve the product development process with formalism
  • Software engineers interested in creating a close integration of design and development, by using models and notations to specify designs
  • Entrepreneurs keen on creating products that are free from major usability flaws
  • Newcomers to design who are considering making a switch to UX design

Courses in the Interaction Design Foundation are designed to contain comprehensive, evidence-based content, while ensuring that the learning curve is never too steep. All participants will have the opportunity to share ideas, seek help with tests, and enjoy the social aspects afforded by our open and friendly forum.

Learn and work with a global team of designers

When you take part in this course, you will join a global multidisciplinary team working on the course and the exercises at the same time as you. You will work together to improve your skills and understanding. Your course group will be made up of an incredibly diverse group of professionals, all of whom have the same objective—to become successful designers. It’s your chance to learn, grow, and network with your peers across the planet.

Lessons in this course

Note: Lessons become available at a schedule of one lesson per week. Once a lesson becomes available, it is open for you forever — you can take all the time you want to go through each lesson. There is no time limit to finish a course, and you always have access to your classmates, course material, and your answers.

The estimated time to complete this course is a total of 5 hours 42 mins spread over 6 weeks.

Lesson 0: Welcome and Introduction

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 39 mins.

  • 0.1: An introduction to IDF courses (14 mins)
  • 0.2: Let our community help you (1 min)
  • 0.3: Meet your peers online in our discussion forums (6 mins)
  • 0.4: Meet your peers offline through IDF Local Groups (1 min)
  • 0.5: Gain Timeless Knowledge Through IDF Courses (11 mins)
  • 0.6: How to earn your Course Certificate (4 mins)
  • 0.7: Mandatory lessons vs. Optional lessons (2 mins)
  • 0.8: A mix between video-based and text-based lesson content (2 mins)

Lesson 1: Formalism In Action

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 4 mins.

  • 1.1: Formal methods - introduction (16 mins)
  • 1.2: Early examples - formalism in action (43 mins)
  • 1.3: Discussion Forum (5 mins)

Lesson 2: What Is Formal?

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 45 mins.

  • 2.1: What is formal? (18 mins)
  • 2.2: A brief history of formalism (21 mins)
  • 2.3: Discussion Forum (5 mins)

Lesson 3: Dialogue

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 59 mins.

  • 3.1: Dialogue notations (7 mins)
  • 3.2: State transition networks (5 mins)
  • 3.3: Properties of dialogue (14 mins)
  • 3.4: Checking properties: Reversability and completeness (9 mins)
  • 3.5: Checking properties: Dangerous states (11 mins)
  • 3.6: Lexical issues and layout (8 mins)
  • 3.7: Discussion Forum (5 mins)

Lesson 4: A Success Story

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 48 mins.

  • 4.1: A success story (21 mins)
  • 4.2: Lessons about state (22 mins)
  • 4.3: Discussion Forum (5 mins)

Lesson 5: Modelling State

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 44 mins.

  • 5.1: Modelling state (39 mins)
  • 5.2: Discussion Forum (5 mins)

Lesson 6: Generic interaction models

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 43 mins.

  • 6.1: Interaction Models (38 mins)
  • 6.2: Discussion Forum (5 mins)

Lesson 7: Course Certificate, Final Networking, and Course Wrap-up

To be scheduled.

  • 7.1: Course evaluation (1 min)

Industry-trusted UX Course Certificate

You earn an industry-trusted Course Certificate once you complete the course - even if you finish the course after the official end date. In other words, as long as you have enrolled in the course you will always be able to finish it and to get a course certificate. You will also have permanent access to the course material, your answers and the discussions.

Course Certificates from the IDF are verifiable and trusted by industry leaders. You can highlight them on your resume, CV, LinkedIn profile or your website.

Course Certificate

Our courses and Course Certificates are trusted by these industry leaders, who have taken up company memberships with the IDF:

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