DES 420. Professional Practice Project I


Mobile App Design


Monday 1:00PM - 6:40PM
Lab: 2068 Engineering Research Facility (ERF) 842 W Taylor
36091  36092  4 credits


Professor Philip Burton (

Associate Professor Daria Tsoupikova (
Office: 312-996-2611
Office hours: by appointment

Graphic Design Lab System Admin: Daniel Mellis (

Course Description and Objectives
This course is an introduction to mobile application design. It will cover the design of interactive simulations for Apple mobile devices (iPhone & iPad) and include unique user interactions using multi-touch technologies. This course will provide students with a conceptual background and the working knowledge necessary to produce interactive multimedia prototypes for mobile product research and development. This course also concentrates on training students to develop effective graphic and user interfaces for mobile media. The curriculum will introduce user interface design, graphic design, animation, interactivity, web design and multimedia required to build applications for mobile development. Finally, the course will cover the concepts of research and development of new mobile products and integration of the latest technologies and best practices for innovative mobile design. The students will learn 1) to design and implement innovative new mobile concepts, 2) to conduct market and user research, 3) to work in teams, 4) to build functional prototypes and interactive simulations for mobile devices, 5) to design mobile applications ready to be implemented into coding.


This course assumes that you have a working knowledge of computers, intermediate design knowledge, and familiarity with animation and interactivity principles and software. For the duration of the course we will be using the Apple Macintosh platform and a variety of design software (such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) and mobile design packages. While various software packages will be utilized, the course focuses on the research and development of creative concepts, ideas and the quality of their visualization.


The course will include two major projects; a midterm and a final, as well as several weekly and biweekly assignments. The focus of the assignments will be the creative use of the research and design techniques learned in class. Therefore we will be conducting group critiques and discussing the artistic elements of the work. Students are encouraged to share your work with classmates, engage in discussion and learn to use constructive criticism. Class lectures will include demonstrations, invited speaker presentations, discussions, design exploration, and historical information relevant to mobile app design. The course will meet in the computer lab with major time devoted to “hands on learning.”


Graphic Design Lab Fee

A $125.00 laboratory fee is required for this course, which is used for the course supporting materials, and supplies (printer paper, copies, media storage, supplies for presentation etc.)



Laptop computer

Adobe Creative Suite 5.5+

A sketchbook

Pencils (B+), black color markers, eraser, etc.

USB Flash drives (minimum 4GB)—to save your back up files. It is recommended to store data additionally on a private computer or external hard-drive. Students are required to store and backup their files appropriately and an additional data storage is strongly advised for back-up.

Evaluation and Requirements
Grades will be based on the quality and originality of the completed assignments, active contribution to class meetings, motivation, problem solving and organization of your work. Active participation and collaboration during discussions and critiques is required. On-time class attendance is mandatory. It is not possible to make up or compensate for missed class sessions or quizzes. More than two unexcused absences will result in failure of the course. Projects more than five days late will not be accepted. ‘Incompletes’ will only be granted according to University policy. Any individuals with learning disabilities or special needs must make the instructor aware of them prior to the due date of the first major assignment. Those who require accommodations for access and participation in this course must be registered with the Disability Resource Center. Please contact DRC at 312/413-2183 (voice) or 312/413-0123 (TTY).


If you wish to observe your religious holiday, which is in conflict with mandatory academic schedule, you should notify the instructor by the tenth day of the semester of the date on which you are requesting an absence.


Students are expected to produce original work and to acknowledge all of external sources, including those on www. You are responsible for understanding what constitutes Academic Dishonesty. For information on this topic, consult the Undergraduate Catalogue and the UIC policy on Academic Honesty at:


A (90-100%) Consistent growth in the above listed as well as excellent work. Excellent work consistently goes above and beyond what is required.


B (80-89%) Above average growth in the above listed as well as above average work.


C (70-79%) Average growth in the above listed as well as average work.


D (60-69%) Unsatisfactory growth in the above listed and incomplete work.


The numeric breakdown for the final grade is as follows:

20% Participation / Contribution

35% Exercises / Assignments / Quizzes / Tests

15% Midterm Project / Presentation

30% Final Project / Presentation

Recommended Readings

The readings will consist of a series of publications and handouts and will be made available as PDF download link on the class website.

Building Mobile Experiences by Frank Bentley and Edward Barrett, MIT Press

Mobile Usability by Jakob Nielsen and Raluca Budiu, New Riders

App Design Checklist by MindSea Development Inc. Kindle edition

Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps by Josh Clark

Photoshop CS6, Visual QuickStart Guide by Peter Lourekas, Peachpit Press

HTML, XHTML, and CSS, Visual QuickStart Guide by Elizabeth Castro, Peachpit Press

Flash, Visual QuickStart Guide by Katherine Ulrich, Peachpit Press

Typographie by Emil Ruder, Arthur Niggli/Teufen

The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst, Hartley & Marks Publishers


Resources, Forums, Discussions, Tutorials, News, Message Boards and Other Useful Links Training Tutorials UIC,






Box @ UIC,


Blackboard—a Web-based course management system with password-protected access at—is used to communicate online and post grades only. You can find support in using Blackboard at the ITL Help Desk at 312-996-9824, by email:, and, so plan accordingly




Class and Lab Policies 
No cell phone usage in the lab. You are responsible to turn your cell phone off prior to the class.

No non-class materials loaded into the computers.

No food or drink in the computer labs.

No surfing the Internet during lectures.

Reconfiguring the system on Cyber-Commons unusable for other courses and may result in dismissal from the course.





Projects created in this course may be used by the Department for purposes of promotion for students, the School or the University in general. The School may also use these
materials for instructional purposes in future courses.