Course Description

“It can be helpful to understand and even experience the part of the elephant that others are experiencing.”1 Whatever your “elephant” may be, a deep understanding of human psychology is essential for all designers when creating a user-centered product with great user experience.

While many individual differences will never cease to exist between users, we are united by our shared psychology; the constraints and abilities of the human mind are much the same for all of us. Developing an understanding of these cognitive limitations and capabilities is the key to interaction design and a great user experience. Without an awareness of how we interact with things in the real and virtual worlds, you’ll find that your designs will fall short of their potential.

This course will equip you with the knowledge to relate to your users psychologically, thus allowing you to create stand-out products. Through learning about different aspects of human cognition—and how they relate to interaction design—you will find yourself much better equipped to put yourself in your users’ shoes, shifting their thoughts to the forefront and keeping a firm hold of them there when designing your next creation.

What you will learn

  • A deep, cognitive understanding of the human behind the term “user,” including the user’s memory and decision-making and problem-solving skills
  • A newfound clarity of thinking, enabling you to see what the user sees when confronted by your product
  • How to identify potential pitfalls in your design before any of them become a problem for your users
  • How to elevate your design above those of your competitors by creating user-centered products, virtually free from frustrating elements
  • How to design products that provide satisfying user experience and, in turn, increase sales

Who should take this course

This is an advanced-level course; even so, it is recommended for both newcomers to design and seasoned professionals alike:

  • UX, UI, and web designers keen on applying knowledge in psychology so as to create interactive designs that are satisfying to use
  • Software engineers interested in gaining a deep understanding of human cognition and interaction design
  • Entrepreneurs who want to ship products that are user-centered and free from flaws that might blight their competitors’ products
  • Newcomers to design who are considering making a switch to UX or interaction 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.

1 Susan Weinschenk, The Psychologist’s View of UX Design, UXmag

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.

Lesson 0: Welcome and Introduction

To be scheduled

  • 0.1: Welcome!
  • 0.2: Please check your information before continuing
  • 0.3: Meet your peers online
  • 0.4: Meet your peers offline
  • 0.5: The 3 Components of Courses from the Interaction Design Foundation
    • 0.6: A mix between Research-based Versus Example-based Learning
    • 0.7: The Didactics and Educational Choices for IDF’s Courses
    • 0.8: Course Structure, Point System and Course Certificate
    • 0.9: Sharing Ideas

Lesson 1: Interaction Design: An Introduction

To be scheduled

  • 1.1: An Introduction to Interaction Design
  • 1.2: Human Cognition
  • 1.3: Human-Computer Interaction
  • 1.4: Personal Interactive Experience
  • 1.5: Sensory Perception
    • 1.6: Attention
    • 1.7: Learning and Memory
    • 1.8: Language - The Five Dimensions of IxD
    • 1.9: Problem-solving
    • 1.10: Decision-Making
    • 1.11: Reasoning
    • 1.12: Reflective Cognition
    • 1.13: Cognition and the Interactive Experience
    • 1.14: Bill Moggridge: Designing Interactions
    • 1.15: Share your Ideas
    • 1.16: Perception
    • 1.17: Gillian Crampton Smith Interview
    • 1.18: Interaction Design
    • 1.19: Discussion Forum

Lesson 2: The Psychology of Interaction Design: Cognitive Frameworks

To be scheduled

  • 2.1: Conceptual Models
  • 2.2: 'Folk Theories'
  • 2.3: The Gulfs of Execution and Evaluation
  • 2.4: Humans as Information Processors
  • 2.5: The Human Processor Model
    • 2.6: External Cognition
    • 2.7: Distributed Cognition
    • 2.8: Embodied Interaction
    • 2.9: Share your Experience

Lesson 3: The Gestalt Laws and Interface Design

To be scheduled

  • 3.1: A Valuable List of Gestalt Principles
  • 3.2: 'Law of Pragnanz'
  • 3.3: Applying the Laws
  • 3.4: 'Law of Similarity'
  • 3.5: 'Law of Proximity'
    • 3.6: Law of Familiarity/Meaningfulness
    • 3.7: 'Law of Common Fate'
    • 3.8: 'New' Grouping Laws
    • 3.9: Research
    • 3.10: The Law Of Element Connectedness
    • 3.11: 'Law of Synchrony'
    • 3.12: 'Law of Common Region' and The Origin of The Gestalt Laws
    • 3.13: Figure/Ground Organisation
    • 3.14: 'Figure/Ground'
    • 3.15: An example of Figure/Ground
    • 3.16: Perceptual Segregation: Design Considerations
    • 3.17: Gestalt Principles of Perceptual Organisation

Lesson 4: Visual Perception and Colour Vision

To be scheduled

  • 4.1: Understanding Human Vision
  • 4.2: Anatomy and Function of the Eye
  • 4.3: The Fovea and Design
  • 4.4: Colour Vision
  • 4.5: Vision and Design: Using Colour
    • 4.6: Theories of Human Colour Perception
    • 4.7: Colour Blindness
    • 4.8: Photoreceptors fovea
    • 4.9: Object Perception
    • 4.10: Vision and Design
    • 4.11: Context and Other Influences
    • 4.12: Using Images
    • 4.13: Vision and Attention
    • 4.14: Vanishing Head Illusion
    • 4.15: Vision and Design: Visual Perception
    • 4.16: Simplicity and Bold Vibrant Colours
    • 4.17: Color Vision 1: Color Basics
    • 4.18: Visual Design Experience: Positive or Negative

Lesson 5: Human Cognition and the Interactive Experience

To be scheduled

  • 5.1: Models of Perception: Complex User Interfaces
  • 5.2: User Specificity: Complex User Interfaces
  • 5.3: Cognitive Overload: Complex User Interfaces
  • 5.4: Designing for Recognition: Complex User Interfaces
  • 5.5: 'Radio Kabul': Complex User Interfaces
    • 5.6: User Interfaces
    • 5.7: Visual Working Memory
    • 5.8: Virtual Reality
    • 5.9: Complex User Interfaces
    • 5.10: The Power Law of Practice: Complex User Interfaces
    • 5.11: Deliberate Practice: Complex User Interfaces
    • 5.12: Helping The User
    • 5.13: User Interface Example

Lesson 6: User Error: Who is to blame?

To be scheduled

  • 6.1: British Midlands Flight 92
  • 6.2: Who is to blame?: User Error
  • 6.3: The USS Vincennes
  • 6.4: The Air Inter Flight 148 Crash
  • 6.5: The Space Shuttle Columbia
    • 6.6: The Herald of Free Enterprise
    • 6.7: The Three Mile Island Nuclear Disaster
    • 6.8: Air France Flight 447
    • 6.9: User Error: Your Turn

Lesson 7: Tangible User Interface Design and the Psychology of Touch

To be scheduled

  • 7.1: Designing Controls
  • 7.2: Specificity Vs. Generality
  • 7.3: Design Considerations
  • 7.4: One-to-One Couplings
  • 7.5: The Paradox of Modern Technology
    • 7.6: Physical Controls Vs. Touchscreens
    • 7.7: Touchscreens: Tangible User Interfaces
    • 7.8: Big Briar 331 Touch Plate
    • 7.9: Physical Controls
    • 7.10: Design Heuristics: Tangible User Interfaces
    • 7.11: Physical Controls Vs. Touchscreens: Tangible User Interfaces
    • 7.12: Discussion Forum

Lesson 8: Comparing User Interfaces

To be scheduled

  • 8.1: Game Console Controllers: Applying the Information
  • 8.2: Car Control Panels: Applying the Information
  • 8.3: Heating Controls: Applying the Information
  • 8.4: Communication Devices: Applying the Information
  • 8.5: Wheelchair Control Panels: Applying the Information
    • 8.6: Discussion Forum

Lesson 9: Interaction Design Approaches

To be scheduled

  • 9.1: An Overview: Interaction Design Approaches
  • 9.2: User-Centred Design: Interaction Design Approaches
  • 9.3: Activity-Centred Design: Interaction Design Approaches
  • 9.4: Systems Design: Interaction Design Approaches
  • 9.5: Genius Design: Interaction Design Approaches
    • 9.6: Discussion Forum

Lesson 10: Interaction Design Methods

To be scheduled

  • 10.1: An Overview: Interaction Design
  • 10.2: Usability Testing: Interaction Design
  • 10.3: User Testing Methods: Interaction Design
  • 10.4: Testing Designs: Usability Inspection Methods
  • 10.5: Cognitive Walkthrough: Usability Inspection Methods
    • 10.6: Prototyping: Interaction Design
    • 10.7: Scenarios: Interaction Design
    • 10.8: Field Studies: Interaction Design
    • 10.9: Combining Methods: Interaction Design
    • 10.10: Questionnaires: Interaction Design
    • 10.11: Discussion Forum

Lesson 11: Interaction Design: The Process

To be scheduled

  • 11.1: Practical Issues: User-Centred Design
  • 11.2: What are the user's needs?
  • 11.3: What are the alternative designs?
  • 11.4: How do I choose an alternative design?
  • 11.5: Integrating UCD and Other Life-Cycle Models
    • 11.6: Discussion Forum
    • 11.7: Usability Testing: What to Test

Lesson 12: Course Certificate, Final Networking, and Course Wrap-up

To be scheduled

  • 12.1: Course Evaluation

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

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