Interaction and Communication II


School of Visual Arts
209 E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010
(506 Studio)
Tuesdays, 6:30-9:20pm
Spring 2023

Anthony Zukofsky

Last updated: March 16, 2023

About the site

(Outcomes, expectations and resources)

Working in today’s digital world encompasses both the usability and aesthetic of a product, service, brand or strategy that relies on technology. In this course, you will learn how to tackle the unique challenges and opportunities that will be encountered on the job. Sessions will cover user interface design principles, information hierarchy and navigation, context and human-technology interactions, and how these elements combine to create a compelling experience. The course format will include lecture, discussion, exercises, interim presentations, and a thorough documentation of the research and design process. Note: This is the second part of a two-semester course.

This course exposes students to thorough and elaborate interactive concepts and techniques for applications. It is an extensive investigation in the interface, the mechanism, the controls and the aims of interactive works. Students will learn how to design and develop complex interactive projects and understand how to undertake a comprehensive research and direct their thinking process from brainstorming to final outcome. They will be given the tools to conceive, plan and develop an interactive system and they will become aware of the importance of their role in the development of interactive media.

  • learn to apply your own interests as a designer onto interactive environments
  • observe and analyze what interests and inspires you
  • communicate a narrative through words, design, content, and prototyping
  • gain an understanding of internet history, where it is now, and how your work will contribute to it in the future
  • gain familiarity with a range of digital contemporary art and design practices
  • enhance your presentation skills
  • challenge your knowledge of interaction design and practice

  • build a basic vocabulary of interactive media to both give and respond to critique productively.
  • create compelling interactive experiences through more careful and inspired interpretation/translation of content (i.e. develop great design concepts)
  • demonstrate an understanding of the iterative making process in interaction design, using incremental methods such as prototyping, user research and evaluation to build toward more advanced work.
  • conceptualize a product, object, or experience for the web and realize it through prototyping.
  • evaluate the difference in designing interfaces for different kind of devices, their limitations and specific user situation including responsive websites and apps for mobile.

(Fall 2021)

The first unit of interaction and communication will focus on the tools and concepts required for building interactive experiences. We’ll use the languages of the web because they’re accessible and immediately open up new modes of communication for designers, but the concepts will be transferable to any screen-based or interactive media.

  • Workshop: Analog Programming
  • Project 1: An Observation
  • Project 2: Cross Platform Storytelling

In our second unit, we’ll investigate how designing for the digital canvas differs from other media. We will aim to understand the inherent complexities and how to use them to create compelling digital experiences.

  • Workshop: Desktop Performance
  • Project 3: A Hypertext Narrative
  • Project 4: A Living Collection

(Spring 2022)
Thinking about a website as a series of linked pages, we’ll take the concepts we used to make individual web pages and apply them to larger systems. We’ll explore how our systems can be designed to flex, rather than break, under a wide range of variables while still maintaining the original intent of the design.

  • Workshop: A Clock
  • Project 5: An Integration
  • Project 6: An Institution

Because a website lives in a larger network of apps, websites, devices, and contexts, our final unit will explore how our websit lives online. We’ll take the work we’ve done this semester and explore self-publishing and making our work public by putting our work on the internet.

  • Workshop: An Extension
  • Project 8: A Public Interface

  • Group critiques
  • Reading, viewing and listening discussions
  • 1:1 meetings
  • Virtual classes
  • Informal presentations
  • Visiting critics (IRL and Virtual)
  • Workshops
  • Excercises

Each student should be prepared to present visual progress in presentation format to the class every week. You should also be ready to offer constructive criticism to peers, around concept, form and output.

Each week you will be required to read, watch or listen to a selected peice of text. Pieces of text may include an article, lecture, film, or podcast. Students are expected to come to class having read the material prior to class and be prepared to participate. A pair of students each week will be responsible for moderating the class discussion of the reading. The moderator should summarize the key arguments of the text, and pose at least 3 questions to the entire class about the reading.

In addition to our reading, viewing and listening discussion, every week, students will write short post (at least 300 words) on the weekly readings. You may not use the first person in your writing.

In the beginning of each unit, we’ll do an online exercises on various interaction principles and prompts. Be prepared to work in the Figma during class. Occasionally, I’ll also give tutorials on software for more in-depth training specific to assignments. However, this class is not predicated on learning software and you’ll be partly responsible for teaching yourselves.

At the completion of every project you will be required to submit 1-6 high res images or prototypes of your final project. This documentation should consist of your project process and final outcomes. The images should be photographed or digitally rendered. Consider your point of the view on the given project, along with background, compostion and lighting.

  • Each week, students will be required to present there progress on the given assignment in a presentation format to the rest of the class. These presentations should be prepared in Google Slides Figma and placed on the Google Drive prior to class time. You are not allowed to place text on or read off the slides.
  • At the class final critique, you will also be evaluated for your presentation format. You may only present visual content (if you are presenting on screen, there can be no type slides). How you document, compile, and share your work with the class should be just as considered as the final design. What is the best format or tool? What is shown on screen and how do you verbally describe your work?

1:1 Meeting
We will be hosting a series of 1:1 monthly meetings to stay up to date with projects along with giving us time for us to stay connect and track your progress throughout the semester. You can always sign up for a 1:1 meeting or request an office hour session with me if something comes up along the way or if you would like extra feedback on a given project.

The grades don’t matter as much as the work, but this course is not an easy A, B or C. If you do not take your work seriously, we will not take you seriously (we as a class). Students will be evaluated at the end of the semester based on two factors: energy and quality. These both lead to great work. The students who contribute the most, both in and out of class, will be rewarded with great work and a good grade.

Projects and participation are evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • ability to translate conceptual ideas into visual forms or outputs.
  • commitment to in-depth research and an iterative process.
  • receptiveness to feedback.
  • prolific output and inquisitiveness that expands beyond the assignment.
  • designing communications that consider and engage a specific audience.
  • ability to contextualize your work agains historical and contemporary design.
  • quality of craft and production, across media.

(Speaking, Writing, Presenting)
  • showing studio progress every week.
  • willingness to engage with new techniques and technologies.
  • speak criticality and knowledgeably about design, visual culture, and technology.
  • ability to analyze questions from multiple perspectives, in both verbal and written form.
  • thoughtfully and clearly present your work.

Letter-grades will reflect how well you meet the criteria:

  • A — exceed all of the criteria
  • B — meet all of the criteria
  • C — meet more than half of the criteria
  • D — meet less than half of the criteria
  • F — fail to meet any of the criteria

Students are responsible for all assignments, even if they are absent or sick. Late assignments or failure to complete assignments before the beginning of class will jeopardize your evaluation in this course. Being unprepared for presentations, failure to do assigned readings, or missing deadlines for writing posts, will also effect your final grade. Assignments not completed by due date are automatically downgraded—this can include assignments turned in severely late.

There are no unexcused absences or cuts. Students are expected to attend all classes. Each unexcused absence thereafter results in a partial letter grade reduction of your final grade (e.g. A becomes B+). Three unexcused absences results in a failing grade.In addition to regular attendance, punctuality to all classes is expected. Three late arrivals equals one unexcused absence. An excused absence means that I have received notification of a legitimate excuse (such as illness or a personal or medical emergency) before class starts—preferably by the night before. To nullify an absence, you will need a Dean’s note. If you miss a class you are responsible for catching up.

You are required to be present for the full class period. The course will require a minimum of 10–15 hours of work. Outside the class every crucial aspect of maturing as a designer is to be able to speak about and present your own work, as well as react to and critique the work of others.

This class is not software-oriented and you will be partly responsible for teaching yourselves. Some light skill-oriented instruction—such as software training (Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, Principle, and Figma) and craft production—will be worked into the curriculum, depending on the needs of the class members. If you have not had Mac experience, and/or you are not familiar with page layout software, it is recommended that you obtain experience/instruction outside of class early in the semester.

What I need from all of you is transparent, clear and consistent communication. By doing so we will keep the class on track and will limit the amount of assumptions or misunderstandings throughout the semester. To help guide this, I will be sharing a weekly email and class recording with all of you that outlines the following weeks assignments, readings and other material. Along with an email, our class will rely on the class website, Slack and Canvas application with all of the latest information and materials.

It is important to me that students from all diverse backgrounds and perspectives are well-served by this course, that students’ learning needs are addressed both in and out of class, and that the diversity students bring to this class are viewed as a resource, strength, and benefit. I strive to present materials and activities that challenge accepted canons and are respectful and representative of diversity: gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, culture, perspective, and other background characteristics. Your suggestions about how to improve the value of diversity in this course are always encouraged and appreciated. Please let me know how I might improve the effectiveness of the course for you personally or for other students or student groups.

In order to receive academic accommodations due to a disability, a student must first register with the Office of Disability Services (ODS). Students approved for accommodations will be given an ODS Accommodation Letter to submit to their instructors. If a student does not provide an ODS Accommodation Letter to their instructor, they will not be eligible to receive accommodations in that course. All instructors are required to adhere to SVA’s policies regarding accommodations for students with disabilities. Students who have a need for academic accommodations, or suspect they may have a disability, should contact the ODS via telephone: 212-592-2396, or visit the office: 340 East 24th Street, 1st Floor, New York, NY 10010, or email: disabilityresources@sva.edu.

I want to acknowledge that the School of Visual Arts, myself, and many of you, are currently occupying the traditional homelands of the Lenape, Rockaway and Canarsie peoples. Our claim to be here—studying and thinking about design, in English, within a largely western-European academic lineage—is legitimized by colonial power structures violently imposed on this land and its original inhabitants and responsible for many other violences, both past and ongoing. What this means for us as graphic designers and as members of this community, and what we should do about it, is something I intend to actively engage in this course.

The goal of this class is to experience the positivity of good design, to experiment with modes of thought, develop our ability to express those thoughts through design, and to constantly do so with joy and excitement. If we aren’t enjoying what we’re doing, what’s the point?

  • laptop or desktop computer
  • Wifi
  • Google Drive (docs, slides, etc.)
  • Slack (messaging app)
  • Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign and After Effects)
  • Figma
  • Principle (or other prototyping software)
  • course website
  • file backup software (Google Drive), hard drive


Meeting ID: 686 325 0291
Passcode: SVAGD