human-centered design education

I piloted an in-class activity with my human-centered design class today. In preparation for class, students read Don Norman’s essay, Human-Centered Design Considered Harmful. Then, in class, I presented them with the following brief: Using Adobe Photoshop, create a one-sheet explaining/describing the main principles of human-centered design to non-designers. Export the one-sheet as a PDF […]


We are making great progress with the Dive mobile app. Adi and Adam have created some stellar mock-ups and a clickable prototype, we’re close to finishing the manuscript for our first paper, and app development is underway. In short, people should be able to read about our work and download Dive on the app store […]

the first design problem

There’s a great line in a recent exploration of near-future UX issues. It goes: Design is about solving problems. And deciding how to solve a problem is the first design problem to be solved. I like this report, but I want to offer a different perspective here. Deciding how to solve a problem could in […]

Revised HCD Syllabus

I’m close to stabilizing the 2019 version of my human-centered design course. This is an 300-level undergraduate course that I teach here at Penn State’s College of Information Science and Technology. Students do a lot of sketching, prototyping, and design work. The course progresses from conceptual discussions of HCD, design principles, interpreting briefs, and pitching […]

sketching discourse

I’m tinkering with metaphors to explain/teach discourse analysis to an undergrad human-centered design class. One way to explain it might be in terms of an iceberg. Discourse is sort of like an iceberg in the sense that there is a lot going on beneath the surface that we don’t see when we encounter talk and […]

The Design Exchange

Today I discovered the design exchange. Think Wikipedia but for design methods and case studies. It seems like a great resource for students (and practitioners) curious about different design methods—especially their strengths, weaknesses, and relevance to different design projects and project stages. I’ll be using it in my spring semester course and wanted to broadcast its […]

conversations for vision

Another new pre-print dropped this week. This paper is a first draft of our findings from an interview study conducted with a fascinating group of practitioners who work to support people with visual impairments (PVI). Here’s how the service works: PVI connect with a remote sighted assistant via a mobile app and, using a smartphone […]

Typography Class

I’m going to be teaching a class on typography next week, and here’s how I’m planning the class: after a brief recap of the assigned readings for the day, we’ll do an informal critique exercise in which we look at different examples of typography whose meaning seems to conflict with the project/client such that it […]

New(ish) Preprints

I’ve added new preprints in the past few days for the following papers. Enjoy! Designing has no given problems, no given processes, and no given solutions. Jordan Beck, Erik Stolterman ( A Study of Citation Motivations in HCI Research. Jordan Beck, Bikalpa Neupane, John M. Carroll ( Managing Conflict in Online Debate Communities: Foregrounding Moderators’ […]

Working Papers

I had a terrific opportunity last week to chat with faculty at a different university about my CV, and one of the things we discussed was how to account for works in progress on a CV. I’d been accounting for work that either (1) has a preprint available for download or (2) is under review […]