DES 421. Professional Practice Project II


Mobile App Development

Monday 1:00PM - 6:40PM
Lab: 2068 Engineering Research Facility (ERF) 842 W Taylor
36092  36093  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 Smart phones and mobile devices play a major role in today’s communication and nowadays applications are increasingly mobile. This course exposes participants to the exciting, current fast-growing field of mobile development. It teaches how to develop mobile apps. This course introduces both the practice of mobile app development and the basic principles of software development. This course will take participants from complete beginners with no prior experience in any programming languages to being able to build their first iPhone app. The course will cover the principles of development of new mobile apps and integration of the latest technologies and best practices for innovative mobile design. Students will have hands-on experiences on techniques to develop mobile apps and gain solid app development experience through a real world project.


The course will cover software and languages, current production and software tools, the introduction to coding, and a discussion of the impact of mobile design and development. Participants will use web development and mobile development tools to learn the concepts applicable to any mobile operating system. Methods, tools, concepts and technologies for cross-platform mobile application development based on HTML5, CSS and JavaScript will be covered, as well as development of apps for Apple mobile devices (iPhone & iPad). The curriculum will include responsive web design, coding, testing of mobile applications, software development and user interface design required to build mobile apps. This course will introduce basic principles, resources and skills necessary for the mobile app development and the mobile programming community, which will allow participants to continue learning upon completion of the class.


There are several goals to this course. The title ” Mobile App Development” is intended to emphasize the two important elements of the course: learning how to effectively utilize digital media/development technology tools for mobile communication design as well as developing an understanding of the core concepts that underpin modern mobile systems. The students will learn 1) advanced aspects of mobile app development and web development, 2) latest development technologies, tools, frameworks and programming languages to create mobile apps, 3) production process of new mobile apps, 4) coding, debugging, and programming for web and mobile development.


The course will include two major projects; a midterm and a final, as well as several assignments and technical exercises. The focus of the assignments will be the creative use of the development and coding techniques learned in class. We will be conducting group critiques and discussing the ongoing projects. Students are encouraged to share your work with classmates, engage in discussion and learn to use constructive criticism. Class lectures will include demonstrations, field trips, related lectures from other courses, invited speaker presentations, discussions, technical explorations, and historical information relevant to mobile app development. The course will meet in the computer lab with major time devoted to “hands on learning.” Class meetings are spaced to allow time for students to work on their projects using variety of development tools.


This course is about blended learning format so you have to do a lot of work on your own. This course assumes that you have a working knowledge of computers, design software, some web design knowledge, familiarity with HTML and interactivity. Students bring their own project to the course and work to get the most out of their idea and prepare their final mobile app. For the duration of the course we will be using the Apple Macintosh platform and a variety of design and development packages, languages and frameworks, such as HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, Adobe Creative Suite, etc. While various programming tools will be utilized, the course focuses on the development of creative functional apps and the quality of their implementation.


The course will conclude with an End of the Year App Party, a course exhibition of studentsʼ final projects during the School 2014 exhibit. The App Party will be an opportunity to mingle with other design students, see other projects, and brag about your app. Family and friends are welcome to join.


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+

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.

A mobile device, either a tablet or a smart phone (iPhone/iPad)

Evaluation and Requirements
Your final grade will be based on your performance on the courseʼs projects, active contribution to class meetings, motivation, problem solving and organization of your work. Projects will be evaluated using criteria of correctness, design, functionality and style. 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 a reduction of the final grade by 1 letter grade; with every additional unexcused absence, the final grade will drop by an additional grade. Some of the discussions and exercises are done and graded in-class so you must attend class to receive these points.


For best in-class participation, you should complete required readings and tasks before class (will be specified in the study guide in each module).


Be prepared for a lot of hard work: be prepared to code, often, and much outside of the class. The aim of this course is to get you to a point where you can launch your own “App portfolio”. This course will be difficult but also very much in-depth and useful to prepare your graduation portfolio.


There is a lot of self-study required: there are many recommended resources on mobile programming, and our course time is limited. Each session will have required pre-reading and post-reading. Make sure to, at the very least, skim the references. Our lecture time limited as well as our lab time, and the goal is to maximize that time. The instructor reserves the right to add online tutorials, lectures and video sessions to class lectures and homework.


You must submit all assignments via DropBox unless otherwise instructed on the deadline specified for each assignment. Assignments must be professionally prepared with recommended computer applications. Unless otherwise stated, assignments must be submitted electronically to DropBox. For each assignment, be sure to include the following in the file/folder title:

•Your last name  _ (underscore)_assignment number/title


Projects more than 5 days late will not be accepted. Be sure to submit the work well ahead of due time. Excuses like website or computer error will not be accepted after the due date.


'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 the conflict with mandatory academic attendance, you should notify the instructor by the tenth day of the semester of the date on which you are requesting an absence.


You are responsible for understanding what constitutes academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty is an extremely serious offense. All cases of academic dishonesty will be dealt with in accordance with the policies of the University as published in the Undergraduate Catalogue and the University of Illinois at Chicago policy on Academic Honesty at:


A= Consistent growth in the above listed as well as excellent work.
     Excellent work consistently goes above and beyond what is required.
B= Above average growth in the above listed as well as above average work.
C= Average growth in the above listed as well as average work.
D= Dissatisfactory growth in the above listed and incomplete work.
E= Dissatisfactory growth in the above listed, incomplete work and poor attendance.


The numeric breakdown for the final grade follows:
20% Participation/Contribution
35% Exercises/Assignments
15% Midterm Project / Presentation
30% Final Project / Presentation


This course uses the University’s Blackboard LMS (Learning Management System). This system is available at The LMS is a required and integral part of the course. Grading information and progress will be made available via Blackboard and students are expected to regularly check it.

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 iPhone Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript: Making App Store Apps Without Objective-C or Cocoa by Jonathan Stark, O'Reilly Media

Beginning iOS 6 Development: Exploring the iOS SDK by David Mark, Jack Nutting, Jeff LaMarche, Fredrik Olsson, Apress

Web Development & Design Foundations With Html5 by Terry Felke-Morris, Addison-Wesley

HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites by Jon Duckett, Wiley

Mobile Usability by Jakob Nielsen and Raluca Budiu, New Riders

HTML and CSS, Visual QuickStart Guide by Elizabeth Castro, 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


CSS Resources


HTML5, canvas an JS drawing app


JavaScript Guide






Total validator


W3C  Markup validation service




HTML Validator



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
No talking to neighbors during class.
No falling asleep.
No reading newspapers or magazines.

Your repeated disruption will reduce your final grade. In extreme cases, you can be asked to leave the class and even excluded 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.