Course Description

The success, or failure, of any computer system, app or website in the 21st century depends on how well it works with people. All major technological advances over the last few decades, such as email, the World Wide Web, smartphones, and social networks, have involved some form of human-to-computer interaction and interface. The critical success factor for modern technology has become not what it does but how it interacts with people. In the blink of an eye compared to the entire history of our species, we have taken to computerized communication devices and systems in such a way that imagining life without them is becoming ever-increasingly hard. Technology has interwoven itself into the human psyche but also quite literally—handheld interactive devices seem to be inextricably bound to our palms in virtually any setting. When people use technology, a biological information processor (i.e., the brain) interacts with a mechanical information processor (i.e., the computer)—this interaction will fail if there is no common ground. In other words, while the two worlds of natural and artificial intelligence are in constant contact, they will collide jarringly if we as designers miss the mark.

This course merges brain science and design. Through taking the course, you will learn optimal approaches to designing better software, mobile applications, and websites, including online communities—for instance, by learning how to create software that interacts with human intuitions. Such knowledge is now a critical skill—building new hardware and software goods will result in negative returns on investment if people can’t or don’t want to use them. Designers of almost all technology today create products for people to use; so, ensuring that the human-technology interface meets both technical and human requirements is crucial. Designers must know the basics of brain science in order to practice computer science, not only for people but for communities, too.

The course is created and presented by Brian Whitworth, a registered psychologist who is also trained in computing and has a wealth of experience and qualifications in both fields: BA (Psych), BSc (Maths), MA (Psych), PhD (IS), and Major (Retd.). Each lesson highlights a particular brain-technology difference and uses it to explain what works—and what doesn’t—when people use technology. Every lesson is further divided into ten-minute video blocks that you can watch independently so as to fit your learning experience into a busy schedule.

What you will learn

  • Human attention—in particular, how the brain decides what is most important and therefore what we should look at first
  • How to create effective designs, through basing them on how the brain manages and prioritizes the sensory information it receives
  • The link between intuition and the evolution of our brains, as well as how to apply this knowledge so as to build software that engages with human intuition
  • How to compose screens that work visually, by tapping into the brain science behind visual recognition
  • Human recollection, and its implications on designing documents and software that support memory
  • How to create products that cater to the brain’s feedback loop, as well as screen controls that tap into our sense of purpose
  • How to build technology that makes learning easier, thus becoming more successful
  • An understanding of how human and social factors affect technology—including future social and technical evolutions

Who should take this course

This is an advanced-level course on brain and computer sciences. It is targeted at anyone interested in the synergy of people and technology:

  • UX, UI, and web designers looking to learn relevant skills and knowledge so as to build digital systems for people
  • Software engineers keen on writing programs that work for people, not the other way around
  • Project managers interested in successfully creating an online platform that fosters interactions between people
  • Newcomers to design who are considering making a switch to UX design
  • Anyone interested in human-technical interfaces, from reporters and philosophers to the general public

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.

Lesson 0: Introduction

Available anytime after Jun 30, 2017

Lesson 1: Attention

Available anytime after Jul 01, 2017

Lesson 2: Context

Available anytime after Jul 08, 2017

Lesson 3: Intuition

Available anytime after Jul 15, 2017

Lesson 4: Recognition

Available anytime after Jul 22, 2017

Lesson 5: Thought

Available anytime after Jul 29, 2017

Lesson 6: Feedback

Available anytime after Aug 05, 2017

Lesson 7: Learning

Available anytime after Aug 12, 2017

Lesson 8: The Future Is Us

Available anytime after Aug 19, 2017

Lesson 9: Course Certificate, Final Networking, and Course Wrap-up

Available anytime after Aug 26, 2017

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:

Accenture Adobe GE Philips SAP