Human-Centered Design



In this course, students will be exposed to the fundamental concepts of design thinking, also known as human-centered design. Through analysis, design practice, and project development, students learn to focus and empathize with users to better create software and digital experiences.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will understand…


There is no textbook for this course. Instead, there will be online readings assigned throughout the semester.

Software Requirements


Download all the browsers available at Browse Happy. Some students might also want Chrome Canary, Safari Technology Preview, Firefox Developer Edition, and Firefox Nightly. I use Firefox, Brave, and Chrome in class.


All in-class examples, assignments, and help will be done via GitHub.

Text Editor

The code you write will require a text editor. Although there are many on the market, Atom (open source) and Sublime Text (nagware) are the only editors supported in class.


Note: Time permitting, I will make every attempt to cover the topics listed below in order. However, depending on the cadence of the class, some topics may be overlooked.

Week Topics Homework
  • How The Google Group works
  • Course syllabus breakdown
  • Typography
    • Hyphens vs dashes (en and em dashes)
    • Footmarks and inch marks (sometimes known as hatch or prime marks) vs single quotes/apostrophes and double/typographer’s quotes
    • Glyphs and characters
    • Typefaces vs fonts
    • Italics vs oblique
    • Pseudo italics
    • Word and hair spaces
    • The baseline
    • Em and x heights
  • In-class GitHub workflow
  • Typography (cont)
    • When to use small caps
    • Kerning and tracking
    • Tracking uppercase content
    • Working with colors
  • Color
    • The color wheel (roygbiv)
    • Different color schemes
    • Emotions and color
    • Working with css colors

Advice on Succeeding in Class

We will go over the following document in detail on the first day of class.


There are three homework-type assignments and one final project. (See the Grading Standards section to learn what percentage of your final grade each is worth.)

  1. Assignment
  2. Assignment
  3. Assignment
  4. Final Project

Grading Standards

Grading Formula

Your grade for this course will be computed using the following formula:

  1. Assignments (45%)
    • Assignment 1 — 15%
    • Assignment 2 — 15%
    • Assignment 3 — 15%
  2. Final project (45%)
  3. Attendance and participation (10%)
    • Three unexcused absences alters the grading formula. First, the attendance and participation component of your grade increases to 40% from 10%. The 30% difference is taken from the assignments, each of which becomes worth 5%. Thus, all assignments are worth 15%, the final project remains at 45%, and attendance is worth 40%. Finally, the attendance portion of the grade becomes a 0, meaning that the highest grade you may achieve is 60 if you miss three classes without excuse and get perfect scores on all assignments and the final project.

To calculate your final grade, convert to decimal the percentages above and the grades you’ve earned. For example, if you got an 80 on the first assignment, a 93 on the second assignment, a 60 on the third assignment, a 100 on your final project, and 100 for attendance, then you’d use the following formula:

(.80 × .15) + (.93 × .15) + (.60 × .15) + (1 × .45) + (1 × .10) = 89%

I do not give grades — students earn them. The grade you earn is based strictly on the outlined formula clearly listed in this section.

This grading formula is unbending and will be adhered to strictly.

Important Note

Please do not try to negotiate a grade with me. By asking me to treat you favorably, you’re requesting that I put you above your classmates. Manage your time well; I do not accept late work.

Academic Honesty

Cheating of any kind will not be tolerated in this course; make certain that all the work you submit is your own. Refresh your understanding of the college’s policy on academic honesty.

Students with Disabilities

Read about how The University of Hartford supports students with disabilities:


I only communicate with students over email in emergency situations (pet emergency, personal tragedy, etc). For matters related to the class, you’re advised to see me in person before or after class, or during my office hours. My contact info is listed in the Preamble section above.

Office Hours

My office hours are walk-in for quick questions and by appointment for more involved academic inquiries.

If neither of the aforementioned times agrees with your schedule, we can make alternate arrangements to meet.