CFP: 2021 Design Incubation Communication Design Awards

Call for Nominations and Entries for the 2021 Design Incubation Communication Design Awards for Educators and Graduate Students

Design Incubation announces a call for nominations and entries for the 2021 awards for communication design educators and graduate students in the areas of scholarship, teaching, service. The aim of the awards program is to discover and recognize new scholarship (creative work and publications), teaching, and service in our broad and varied discipline. We hope to expand the design record, promote excellence and share knowledge within the field. 

Nominations

We ask colleagues and mentors to identify outstanding creative work, publications, teaching, and service being created by design educators and graduate students in our field and to nominate these individuals for an award. Nominations will be accepted from April 15 to July 31, 2021. 

Entry Guidelines

Entries will be accepted from June 1–August 31, 2021. Complete the online entry form with the following:

Title: Description of project and outcomes (not to exceed 500 words)

Supporting Materials: (limited to 5-page medium resolution pdf of artwork; web links to websites, videos, other online resources; published documents or visual documents)

Biography of applicant/s (150 words per applicant)

Curriculum vitae of applicant/s

The 2021 Design Incubation Awards: Graduate Student Work 

If you are faculty advising graduate students please encourage students to enter the competition by nominating them for the awards.  The future of communication design education begins with the work of future faculty and researchers in the field of Communication Design. Recognition of graduate student work will be grouped and reviewed in the categories of scholarship, creative projects, service, and teaching. Graduate students currently enrolled in graduate design programs are invited to submit scholarship, creative projects, service projects, teaching innovations they completed during graduate study or up to one year after graduation. 

2021 Jury

Gail Anderson, School of Visual Arts, New York

John Bowers, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois

Lesley-Ann Noel, North Carolina State University, North Carolina

Maria Rogal, University of Florida, Florida

Lucille Tenezas, Parsons School of Design, New York

Teal Triggs (Chair), Royal College of Art, London

Biographies

Gail Anderson

Gail Anderson is an NYC-based designer, educator, and writer. She is Chair of BFA Design and BFA Advertising at the School of Visual Arts and the creative director at Visual Arts Press. Anderson has served as senior art director at Rolling Stone, creative director of design at SpotCo, and as a designer at The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine and Vintage Books. She has taught at SVA for thirty years and has coauthored 15 books on design, typography, and illustration with the fabulous Steven Heller. 

Anderson serves on the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee for the US Postal Service and the advisory boards of Poster House and The One Club for Creativity. She is an AIGA Medalist and the 2018 recipient of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Lifetime Achievement Award for Design. Her work is represented in the Library of Congress’s permanent collections, the Milton Glaser Design Archives, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

John Bowers

John Bowers is chair of the Visual Communication Design department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Through making, writing, and teaching, he explores issues of individual and collective identity. His making practice repurposes newspapers from public to private record, and billboard paper into forms that address their underlying targeting strategies and have been sold through Printed Matter. He worked as a Senior Identity Designer at Landor (San Francisco) during the dot-com bubble. His professional work has been published in 365: AIGA, Communication Arts, ID, and Graphis. His writing includes “A Lesson from Spirograph,” (Design Observer), Introduction to Two-Dimensional Design: Understanding Form and Function, Second Edition (Wiley), and Visual Communication Design Teaching Strategies, which isposted on the AIGA Educators Community website. He has been a curriculum consultant and visiting designer in the US, Canada, and Sweden.

Lesley-Ann Noel

Dr. Lesley-Ann Noel is a faculty member at the College of Design at North Carolina State University. She has a BA in Industrial Design from the Universidade Federal do Paraná, in Curitiba, Brazil, a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago and a Ph.D. in Design from North Carolina State University. 

Lesley-Ann practices design through emancipatory, critical, and anti-hegemonic lenses,  focusing on equity, social justice, and the experiences of people who are often excluded from design research, primarily in the area of social innovation, education and public health. She also attempts to promote greater critical awareness among designers and design students by introducing critical theory concepts and vocabulary into the design studio e.g. through The Designer’s Critical Alphabet.

She is co-Chair of the Pluriversal Design Special Interest Group of the Design Research Society.

Maria Rogal

Maria Rogal is a Professor of Graphic Design and founding director of MFA in Design & Visual Communications at the University of Florida. She is the founder of D4D Lab, an award-winning initiative codesigning with indigenous entrepreneurs and subject matter experts to support autonomy and self-determination. After over a decade working with partners in México, she cofounded Codesigning Equitable Futures to foster respectful collaborations among the university and local community in Gainesville, Florida. She continues to speak and write about social and codesign, recently presenting at Pivot 2020, and co-authored “CoDesigning for Development,” which appears in The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design. Her research has been funded by AIGA, Sappi, and Fulbright programs, among others, and her creative design work has been featured in national and international juried exhibitions.

Lucille Tenazas

Lucille Tenazas is an educator and graphic designer based in New York and San Francisco. Her work is at the intersection of typography and linguistics, with design that reflects complex and poetic means of visual expression. She is the Henry Wolf Professor of Communication Design at Parsons School of Design and was the Associate Dean in the School of Art, Media and Technology from 2013-2020. She taught at California College of the Arts (CCA) for 20 years, where she developed the MFA Design program with an interdisciplinary approach, focusing on form-giving, teaching and leadership.

Lucille was the national president of the AIGA from 1996-98 and was awarded the AIGA Medal in 2013 for her lifetime contribution to design practice and outstanding leadership in design education. She received the National Design Award for Communication Design by the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in 2002. Originally from Manila, the Philippines, Lucille studied at CCA and received her MFA in Design from Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Teal Triggs (Chair)

Teal Triggs is Professor of Graphic Design and leads on the MPhil/PhD programme in the School of Communication, Royal College of Art, London. As a graphic design historian, critic and educator she has lectured and broadcast widely and her writings have appeared in numerous edited books and international design publications. Triggs’s research focuses on design pedagogy, criticism, self-publishing, and feminism. She is Associate Editor of Design Issues (MIT Press) and was founding Editor-in-Chief of Communication Design (Taylor & Francis/ico-D). Her recent books include: co-editor with Professor Leslie Atzmon of The Graphic Design Reader (Bloomsbury), author of Fanzines (Thames & Hudson)and the children’s book The School of Art (Wide Eyed Editions) which was shortlisted for the ALCS 2016 Educational Writer’s Award. She is Fellow of the Design Research Society, International Society of Typographic Designers and the Royal Society of Arts.

Design Incubation Colloquium 7.3: Florida Atlantic University

A Virtual Conference Saturday, April 10, 2021, 1PM EST.

Presentations will be published on the Design Incubation YouTube Channel after April 3, 2021. Virtual Conference will be held online on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 1pm EST.

Colloquium 7.3: Florida Atlantic University (#DI2021apr) will be held online. Registration for this event below.

Virtually hosted by Camila Afanador-Llach, Assistant Professor + Graduate Coordinator, Graphic Design, the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at Florida Atlantic University. This event is open to all interested in Communication Design research.

Please view research presentations before attending the moderated discussion on Saturday, April 10, 2021.

Presentations

Forensic Abstraction in Israel/Palestine: the Graphic Representations of Bodies in Citizen Media
Liat Berdugo
Assistant Professor
University of San Francisco

The Spectacle of Violence: Illustrating Surpanakha’s Mutilation
Shreyas R Krishnan
Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
Washington University in St.Louis

Visual and Verbal Communication on Sustainable Packaging As a Vehicle for Public Education and Awareness
Hyena Nam
Adjunct Professor
Visual Communication Department
Kent State University

Stories from the Mchafukoge: Kanga as a Form of Visual Communication
Ziddi Msangi
Associate Professor
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Vermont College of Fine Arts

Addressing Opportunity: The Landscape of Inequality
Mia Cinelli
Assistant Professor
The University of Kentucky

Shoshana Shapiro
PhD Candidate
University of Michigan

Understanding Racial And Gender Bias In Ai And How To Avoid It In Your Designs And Design Education
Sarah Pagliaccio
Adjunct Professor
Lesley University
College of Art and Design
Brandeis University

Designing Products of the Future Through Speculative Design
Mehrdad Sedaghat-Baghbani
Assistant Professor
Florida Atlantic University

Connecting Scholars, Building Community, Design Research Network(ing) | Design Incubation Affiliated Society Meeting

This open forum will have design scholars and researchers discuss various research topics, offer their ideas, discuss opportunities for contributors/participants/collaborators, and open dialog regarding multiple challenges within the design research field.

Friday, February 12, 2021
12:30 PM Eastern Time (the US and Canada)
Online ZOOM Event

This is the Affiliated Society meeting of the 109th CAA Annual Conference. The meeting is open to non-conference attendees as well. Please register in advance for this event.

Overview:

Please join us at The College Art Association (CAA) Design Incubation Affiliated Society meeting | Connecting Scholars, Building Community, Design Research Network(ing) virtually on Friday, February 12, from 12:30-1:30 pm (EST).

Design Incubation is a volunteer academic organization whose focus and mission are facilitating research and scholarship in design. We aim to foster discussion and collaboration among academics and industry professionals. We are a resource for those working and studying within the field.

This open forum will have design scholars and researchers discuss various research topics, offer their ideas, discuss opportunities for contributors/participants/collaborators, and open dialog regarding multiple challenges within the design research field. Design Incubation will also be discussing some of their ongoing work with the mission/focus of supporting design research.

Some of the questions we will discuss with panelists include:

  • How did you determine your research agenda?
  • How do your dept and institution define and support the work you do?
  • How would you describe/categorize your dept and institution?
  • If you were going to position your research within a category, would you say your work addresses: design theory,
    design history, design practice, design research (traditional graphic design, speculative design, UXUI, typography, AR, VR, creative computing, design solutions, etc.), design pedagogy, something else?

MODERATOR:

Dan Wong
Associate Professor, New York City College of Technology, CUNY
Co-founder/Executive Director, Design Incubation

Dan’s research considers the forms and methodologies of communication design research and innovates through the practice of communication design.

PANELISTS:

Heather­­­ Snyder Quinn
Assistant Professor, DePaul University’s School of Design
Director of Design Futures, Design Incubation

Heather’s research uses design fiction and speculative design to question the ethics of emerging technologies, challenge technocratic power, and imagine possible futures.

Jessica Barness
Associate Professor, School of Visual Communication Design, Kent State University
Director of Research Initiatives, Design Incubation

Jessica’s research focuses on social media, publication practices, and the design of scholarship, and how these relate to issues of power and representation.

Ayako Takase
Assistant Professor of Industrial Design, Rhode Island School of Design
Director of Master Program
Co-Founder, Observatory Design

Ayako’s design research focuses on evolving relationships between people, objects, and technology in the context of work.

Penina Acayo Laker
Assistant Professor, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University St. Louis
Co-Principal Investigator, Mobility for All by All

Penina’s research centers around topics that utilize a human-centered approach to solving social problems.


Registration required. Please use your institutional email to register.

If This is Theory, Why Isn’t It Boring? Connecting traditional text[book]s to real-life contexts with Augmented Reality

Teaching Award Winner

Although it pains me to say so, I find that many undergraduate students think “theory” is a difficult, if not an irrelevant, even “boring” subject. In the case of my sophomore-level online course, “GD303 Graphic Design Theory + Practice,” students access course content asynchronously, oftentimes when they are alone, perhaps in the privacy of their own homes. In other words, their learning does not take place in a space where “real” people sit together as a “real” instructor moves around the lecture hall (who, incidentally, is able to observe facial expressions of confused or enlightened students). GD303 satisfies university “General Education” course requirements — consequently, at least half the students enrolled each semester are not Graphic Design majors.

The project I am pleased to submit to the 2020 Design Incubation Award is an Augmented Reality (AR) application, designed for my GD303 course and supported through a NCSU Course Innovation Grant from DELTA that I received in 2018. AR learning experiences, in the form of digital overlays that appear in the physical world, render abstract theoretical topics more concrete, no matter the student’s major, and in ways that motivate them to study and engage with course content (especially the textbook). Target images printed in the textbook trigger twelve different AR multimedia learning experiences that designed to “make visible” key theoretical concepts by animating them in a way that demonstrates and illustrates these concepts. The app is available to anyone, whether they own the textbook or not, and they do not need to be enrolled in the course. It is downloadable for free on Apple Store or Google Play (tablet or smart phone). The design of the app also meets usability and accessibility criteria for learners with vision disabilities.

While the physical world where we live and learn is a 3-dimensional spatial world, it is paradoxical that the materials for delivering online curricula are mostly 2-dimensional, flat media. The choice of AR is about exploring innovative solutions to the design of course content beyond typical textbooks, study guides, and Powerpoint lectures. The AR-enhanced reading experiences are designed to be immersive, colorful, surprising, interactive, and energetic to get students to delve deeper into and reflect upon the theoretical topics we cover. AR technology brings a “boring” textbook to life by connecting reading assignments (accessed as static pages) to real-world digital examples from different perspectives — examples that students prefer, i.e., dynamic media. It functions like an interactive “pocket study guide” that students can use while they read their assignments. It is designed to “perform” like a teacher in a live class by pointing out main concepts — and their locations — in the textually dense readings. As a “virtual instructor,” the application poses “pop-up pop-questions” to help students prepare for exams — a feature that helps students grasp one of Graphic Design’s main visual theories, “Gestalt”. The AR tools are designed to help students visualize other difficult-to-understand concepts, such as “objective reality,” “three-point perspective,” and “vectors,” as well as “see” how a designer uses a grid to layout a design. Furthermore, the AR experiences provide multiple means of representation (two dimensional, three-dimensional, audio, video, animated media) so that students can approach information in more than one way. Examples include: digital storytelling by a virtual agent who explains theories used in a seminal Postmodern design poster; the ability to see how form communicates meaning in the design of an architectural feature; or a virtual magnifying glass that lets users zoom into an image to read small type that otherwise could not be read in a print reproduction.

The move from an inert medium, such as a static drawing or photograph printed in a book, to dynamic interactive representations that visually demonstrate conceptual frameworks is positively changing how students think about theory in this course (see “Evidence of Outcome”). I considered how images already published in the textbook could incorporate new visual representations in the form of three-dimensional models and time-based animations— e.g., how static printed images become dynamic media that delves further into topics for those students who may want or need more in-depth explanations.

Early evaluations of the tool found that students (even non-majors) were not only enthusiastic about learning complex subjects, but they had made significant conceptual developments and improved exam scores (see “Evidence of Outcome”). Furthermore, the menu-driven, collapsible interface is designed for easy expansion — more experiences are planned in the future.

Each type of media I have incorporated in my GD303 course (the textbook, the lecture slides, the online Moodle platform, and now, the augmented reality application) are designed with a consistent “look and feel” across the different media. Graphic Design majors, especially, want to see the learning materials they engage with in their design courses as being informed by the design principles of good form, design consistency, and engaging visual vocabularies that they are learning about in their educations — it is my way of putting theory into practice.

All contributors affiliation is:
North Carolina State University
Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications (DELTA)

Rich Gurnsey, Lead Multimedia Designer
Laurie Gyalog, Lead Project Manager
Stephen Waddell, Immersive Media Developer
Matthew Casto, 2D/3D Artist

Deborah Littlejohn is an Associate Professor in the Department of Graphic Design & Industrial Design and affiliated faculty with the College of Design’s PhD in Design program. She teaches masters and undergraduate courses in the areas of history, theory, and research methods, as well as studios that focus on the cognitive-cultural aspects of design. Her research is guided by questions that address relationships between new information environments, technology, and people’s ability to learn, adapt, and change through the mediating influence of design. Projects focus on understanding the perceptions of professional, technological, and socio-cultural impacts on design’s professional and academic development. In the community engagement space, she works on visualization tools and interactive asset mapping applications to support stakeholders in communicating their community’s future development and potential.

Rich Gurnsey is a lead multimedia designer at DELTA (Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications) at North Carolina State University. In this role, Rich collaborates with instructors, subject matter experts, instructional designers, and other teammates to develop or improve upon courses and instructional materials via visual media including animation, video, AR, VR, motion graphics, illustration, and graphic design.

Rich’s recent projects include leading a team in the creation of an augmented reality app that transforms a graphic design theory textbook into an engaging multimedia experience, and helping to create a virtual organic chemistry lab — complete with 360 video and animation, which enables users to carry out five experiments in a VR environment. Additionally, Rich’s freelance animation work has been featured in film festivals in the U.S. and abroad, as well as in galleries, online, and on TV. He is a graduate of the College of Design at NC State.

Laurie Gyalog, a Lead Project Manager, with NC State University, works on a variety of projects ranging from course grants and learning analytics to workflow management of marketing and communications. Laurie works to enhance efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, collaboration and communication across all projects and areas of the organization. She is the founder of the NC State University Project Management and Agile Community (PMAC), a Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®), Certified SAFe® 5 Program Consultant (SPC), Certified SAFe® 5 Lean Portfolio Manager (LPM), Certified SAFe® 5 Product Owner/ Product Manager (POPM), Certified SAFe® 5 Practitioner (SP), Certified SAFe® 4 Agilist (SA), and ICAgile Certified Professional – Agile Coach (ICP-ACC).

Stephen Waddell works with NC State’s Distance Education (DELTA) department as an Immersive Media Developer. Generally this involves working with cutting edge XR technology to enhance course design, and exploring new software and hardware to further the media possibilities in and outside of the traditional classroom setting. With a background in both design and computer science his role blends both the design and realization of immersive media projects.

Matthew Castro is a 2D/3D Artists with over 5 years’ experience, who strives to make the work stand out from the rest. He enjoys working with others and troubleshooting any task that presents itself. Matthew collaborates with numerous DELTA staff as a team member on a variety of distance education projects, doing what he can to ensure the projects are memorable, usable, educational, and delightful.

Design Incubation Communication Design Awards 2020 recipient

Design Incubation Colloquium 7.1: Oakland University

A Virtual Conference October 17, 2020, 1PM EST.

Presentations will be published on the Design Incubation YouTube Channel after October 3, 2020. Virtual Conference will be held online on Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 1pm EST.

Colloquium 7.1: Oakland University (#DI2020oct) will be held online. Registration for this event below.

Hosted by Maria Smith Bohannon and the Dept of Art and Art History at Oakland University, MI. This event is open to all interested in Communication Design research.

Presentations

A Design Conversation of the Interaction between Iranian and American Visual Culture
Setareh Ghoreishi
Assistant Professor
Oakland University

Exploring Connections between Environment and Community Through Design
Danilo Bojic
Assistant Professor
Winona State University

The Machine Hand
Ryan Molloy
Professor
Eastern Michigan University

Let’s Stay Neighbors: A Case Study in Civic Engagement
Chad Reichert
Professor
College for Creative Studies, MI

Sustainable Design Thinking: Changing the Design Process
Maria Smith Bohannon
Assistant Professor
Oakland University, MI

Graphic Design Principles: A History- And Context-Based First-Year Design Textbook
Anita Giraldo
Associate Professor
New York City College of Technology, CUNY

Patricia Childers
Adjunct Professor
New York City College of Technology, CUNY

The Children of Loki: Pairing Norse Mythology With Contemporary Visuals to Create a Provocative Narrative
Jimmy Henderson
Graphic Designer

Jimmy Henderson | Design & Illustration

Core Values Matter: The Role of the People in Shaping Corporate Responsibility
Lilian Crum
Assistant Professor
Lawrence Technological University

Why Design Educators Should Embrace Collaborative (Group) Work in the Design Classroom 
Abby Guido
Assistant Professor
Tyler School of Art and Architecture

Colloquium 7.2: CAA Conference 2021 Call for Submissions

109th CAA Annual Conference, Virtual.
Deadline for abstract submissions: September 16, 2020.

We invite abstract submissions on presentation topics relevant to Communication Design research. Submissions should fall into one or more of the following areas: scholarly research, case studies, creative practice, or design pedagogy. We welcome proposals on a variety of topics across the field of communication design.

Accepted researchers will be required to produce a 6-minute videotaped presentation that will be published on the Design Incubation channel. The CAA conference session will consist of a moderated discussion of those presentations.

Submit an abstract of 300 words using the Design Incubation abstract submission form found here:
https://designincubation.com/call-for-submissions/

Submissions are double-blind peer-reviewed. Reviewers’ feedback will be returned. Accepted presentation abstracts will be published on the Design Incubation website.

109th CAA Annual Conference
February 10–13, 2021

Exact date and time, to be determined. This is a virtual conference event. Presenters will follow the basic membership and fee requirements of CAA.

We are accepting abstracts for presentations now until September 16, 2020.

CFP: the 2020 Design Incubation Communication Design Awards

Call for Nominations and Entries for the 2020 Design Incubation Communication Design Awards for Educators and Graduate Students

Design Incubation announces a call for nominations and entries for the 2020 awards for communication design educators and graduate students in the areas of scholarship, teaching, service. The aim of the awards program is to discover and recognize new scholarship (creative work and publications), teaching, and service in our broad and varied discipline. We hope to expand the design record, promote excellence and share knowledge within the field. 

This year, the jury also will be considering commendations for work covering the area of diversity, equity, access, and inclusion in communication design. We encourage submissions of work that relate to these areas for consideration.

Nominations

We kindly ask colleagues and mentors to identify outstanding creative work, publications, teaching, and service being done by design educators and graduate students in our field and to nominate these individuals for an award. Nominations will be accepted from April 15 to July 31, 2020. 

Entry Guidelines

Entries will be accepted from June 1–August 31, 2020. Complete the online entry form with the following:

  • Title: Description of project and outcomes (not to exceed 500 words)
  • Supporting Materials (limited to 5-page medium resolution pdf of artwork; web links to websites, videos, other online resources; published documents or visual documents)
  • Bio of applicant/s (150 words per applicant)
  • Curriculum vitae of applicant/s

New Initiative for the 2020 Design Incubation Awards: Graduate Student Work 

Beginning this year, Design Incubation is accepting entries in a new juried area of Graduate Student Work. The future of communication design education begins with the work of future faculty and researchers in the field of Communication Design. Recognition of graduate student work will be grouped and reviewed in the categories of scholarship, creative projects, and service. Graduate students currently enrolled in graduate design programs are invited to submit scholarship, creative projects, and service projects they completed during graduate study or up to one year after graduation. 

2020 Jury

  • Gail Anderson, School of Visual Arts, United States
  • Fatima Cassim, University of Pretoria, South Africa
  • Denise Gonzales Crisp, North Carolina State University, United States
  • Paul Nini, Ohio State University, United States
  • Maria Rogal, University of Florida, United States
  • Teal Triggs (Chair), Royal College of Art, United Kingdom 

Ideas for Interactive Online Design Instruction

Distance Learning Curriculum Development

If you are looking for some tips on how to use Blackboard effectively for design instruction, including structuring your course, and tools for interactive group critiques, check out the videos below.

Here’s a great resources list published by AIGA DEC:

If you have content or recommendations for online design instruction, please let us know. We can add it to our Youtube channel, or post it here.

For an open discussion on the topic and your experiences, please join us here…

https://social.designincubation.com/topic/252-teaching-online-resources-experiences-tools-recommendations/

Teaching Online? Please Share Your Experiences

How have you adapted a class or course for remote instruction or online learning?

https://social.designincubation.com/topic/252-teaching-online-resources-experiences-tools-recommendations/

Have you created an online class or entire course? Please share your recommendations and experiences on our bulletin board. Click on the link above to join the discussion.

If this is the first time visiting our discussion forum, create a profile, and once approved, you can post freely anywhere on the website.

If you have questions or recommendations, please let us know at info@designincubation.com.

Deconstruct + Reconstruct: The Value of Mimicking Reverse Engineering in UI/UX Pedagogy

In order to truly understand how something works, you have to take it apart and put it back together again.

Dave Gottwald
Assistant Professor
University of Idaho

Reverse engineering has long been practiced in lab courses in computer science and high technology development. The concept is rather simple—in order to truly understand how something works, you have to take it apart and put it back together again.

In my introductory course in UI/UX design, students are assigned three projects which mimic a reverse engineering process. For Deconstruction they choose an existing mobile app, propose a conjectured user persona based on their own use, and then document user flows of interactive functionality, using their phones to capture every screen. Organizing these screens into flows facilitates a direct approach in understanding navigation, visual hierarchy, and functionality. In this students attempt to “map” the product and speculate on why certain design directions were taken. For Reconstruction students find an app to redesign. User interface and user experience are considered equally; deficits in both aesthetics and functionality are addressed. At this stage students move beyond speculation and begin to integrate actual research into the development of their product and user personas as they design screens and document user flows.

Finally, the last half of the term is devoted to their own unique app product. Construction builds on the first two projects, yet with a more thorough research and testing phase. Students are tasked with building a live prototype designed with industry-standard software and conduct formal user testing in a group setting. Ideation and development time for this final project is noticeably accelerated, as they’ve already undergone the process twice before. Mimicking a reverse engineering process also provides a detailed structural comprehension of interaction design. By approaching apps from the inside out, students report a greater understanding of their mobile devices as designed content systems, and they are better prepared for more advanced interaction projects.

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 6.3: Fordham University on May 16, 2020.