UT-Austin iSchool Syllabus
INF385T UX Prototyping
Spring 2024


January 18, 2024


This course covers the prototyping aspect of the iterative design cycle, which also includes a design aspect and an evaluation aspect. Prototyping includes both lofi and hifi prototypes, distinguished from each other by both their purpose and form. The lofi prototype proposes design ideas to be questioned, while the hifi prototype proposes design answers to those questions. Students will produce both types of prototypes using both pencil and paper, as well as contemporary software tools. To the extent that it supports prototyping, students will also engage in the design and evaluation aspects of the iterative design cycle.


Important note: The information presented in this syllabus is subject to expansion, contraction, change, or stasis during the semester. In case of conflict between versions, the copy on Canvas takes precedence.

Course Number



graduate standing


Tu 15:30–18:30




16 JAN 2024–29 APR 2024

Final Exam

Take-home reflection, due 2 MAY 2024


Mick McQuaid




1616 Guadalupe St, Room 5.402

Office Hours

M,W 4PM to 5PM in RLP 0.108, or by appointment at my UTA office or by appointment on Zoom at https://utexas.zoom.us/my/mickmcquaid


No single textbook will suffice for such a rapidly changing subject. Instead, many sources must be consulted with the guidance of the instructor. These include Baker (2017), Buxton (2007), Cockton et al. (2016), Cooper et al. (2014), Goodman, Kuniavsky, and Moed (2012), Holtzblatt, Wendell, and Wood (2005), Holtzblatt and Beyer (2016), Lazar, Feng, and Hochheiser (2017), Matsudaira (2019), Patton (2014), Rubin and Chisnell (2008), Shneiderman (2017), Spiekermann (2014), and Wixon (2003). Students will need to make extensive use of Google and Wikipedia, as well as popular design websites such as A List Apart, Behance, and dribbble, in addition to readings provided on Canvas.

Learning Outcomes

The student successfully completing this class will:

  • learn multiple techniques for creating lofi and hifi prototypes using pencil and paper and contemporary software tools
  • have experience implementing multiple lofi prototypes as individuals
  • have experience implementing multiple hifi prototypes as a group
  • be able to articulately describe and evaluate tools and techniques for creating lofi and hifi prototypes

Class Format

This is a hands-on, project focused course, so attendance and participation in class are critical to individual success in this course and to the success of the course. You need to come to class prepared to participate in small group and full class discussions and project work, to complete all required readings prior to class, and to submit assignments on time.


Week 1 (16 Jan) Design Thinking Exercise — Introductions — Syllabus — Canvas — Accessibility — Milestone 1 (accessible report) assigned

Week 2 (23 Jan) Design Principles — Intro to two design tools (Figma and Framer) — Sketches 1, due Friday at midnight

Week 3 (30 Jan) Mood boards — Design Inspiration — Sketching — Crazy Eights — Milestone 1 (accessibility) due on Tuesday at 9PM — Milestone 2 (using inspiration) assigned

Week 4 (06 Feb) Story Mapping — Patton (2014) — Scenarios — Sketches 2, due Friday at midnight

Week 5 (13 Feb) How Might We (HMW) statements — Ideation — Diverging & Converging — Prototyping Levels — System diagramming — Becker (2020) (Ch 7) — Prototyping definitions — Buxton (2007) — Milestone 2 (using inspiration) due on Tuesday at 9PM — Milestone 3 (using story mapping) assigned

Week 6 (20 Feb) Prototyping elements — Color — Typography — Layout — Animation — Sketches 3, due Friday at midnight

Week 7 (27 Feb) Agile Development — Milestone 3 (using story mapping) due on Tuesday at 9PM — Milestone 4 (aesthetics) assigned

Week 8 (05 Mar) Working with clients — Greever (2020) — Sketches 4, due Friday at midnight

Week 9 (19 Mar) Micro interactions — Pair designing — Bad UX and UX writing— Milestone 4 (aesthetics) due on Tuesday at 9PM — Milestone 5 (microinteractions) assigned

Week 10 (26 Mar) Formative & Summative Testing — Sketches 5, due Friday at midnight

Week 11 (02 Apr) Heuristic Evaluation — Affinity Mapping — Team work — Milestone 5 (microinteractions) due on Tuesday at 9PM — Milestone 6 (testing) assigned

Week 12 (09 Apr) User Testing dot Com — Fuel Cycle — Empty States — Sketches 6, due Friday at midnight

Week 13 (16 Apr) Leading a prototyping workshop — Robert Stackowiak (2020) Chapter 2 — Milestone 6 (testing) due on Tuesday at 9PM — Milestone 7 (improvements from tests) assigned

Week 14 (23 Apr) Summary — Presentations — Milestone 7 (improvements from tests) due — Final exam “Reflections” due on 2 MAY 2024


I plan to grade assignments within two weeks of their due date except where circumstances interfere. The grading scale used along with the grade components follow.

Scores are not rounded
letter grade lower bound upper bound
A >= 94.0%
A- >= 90.0% & < 94%
B+ >= 87.0% & < 90%
B >= 83.0% & < 87%
B- >= 80.0% & < 83%
C+ >= 77.0% & < 80%
C >= 73.0% & < 77%
C- >= 70.0% & < 73%
D >= 60.0% & < 70%
F < 60%

Milestones (35%)

You will complete seven milestones as a group of four or five.

Details are in the hwInstructions.html document.

Sketches (Lofi Prototypes) (35%)

You will keep a 5×8 inch (approximately) sketchbook throughout the semester. This may be a Moleskine Cahier or similarly sized sketchbook. The size is important.

You will submit pictures of sketches from that sketchbook, a total of 18 sketches in six groups of three.

Details are in the hwInstructions.html document.

Final Exam - Reflection (10%)

The final exam will be a take-home reflection document.

Details are in the hwInstructions.html document.

Peer Review (10%)

Each group member will rate their peers on a scale of 0-10. Your peers’ scores for you will be averaged and entered on the grade sheet as a numerical score.

Attendance (10%)

I will take attendance every day and it will count for ten percent of your final grade.

If you have a legitimate need for absence, such as illness or job interview, notify the instructor by email as soon as possible and you may receive an excused absence.


Important Note: The policies of the University are undergoing change. The following may be superseded by the policies at https://utexas.instructure.com/courses/1377522, which is a Canvas course containing the honor code which you must adhere to, as well as much of the following information. A better URL may be https://utexas.instructure.com/enroll/TP964H if for some reason you are not enrolled in the site.


All concerns about attendance recording must be resolved within 72 hours of the class session in question. In other words, you can’t come to the instructor weeks later and insist you were present on such-and-such a day.

Assignment Submission

All assignments must be submitted via Canvas. No assignment should be submitted via email. Any assignment submitted via email will receive a grade of zero. It may be tempting to try to submit assignments via email when you have trouble with Canvas but the correct response is to contact tech support and resolve the problem with Canvas.

Extra credit and grade rounding

There is no extra credit available in this class and grades are not rounded. You receive exactly the letter grade corresponding to the score you achieve.

Disability and Access

The university is committed to creating an accessible and inclusive learning environment consistent with university policy and federal and state law. Please let me know if you experience any barriers to learning so I can work with you to ensure you have equal opportunity to participate fully in this course. If you are a student with a disability, or think you may have a disability, and need accommodations please contact Disability and Access (D&A). Please refer to D&A’s website for contact and more information: http://community.utexas.edu/disability/. If you are already registered with D&A , please deliver your Accommodation Letter to me as early as possible in the semester so we can discuss your approved accommodations and needs in this course.

Policy on Academic Integrity

Students who violate University rules on academic misconduct are subject to the student conduct process and potential disciplinary action. A student found responsible for academic misconduct may be assigned both a status sanction and a grade impact for the course. The grade impact could range from a zero on the assignment in question up to a failing grade in the course. A status sanction can range from probation, deferred suspension and/or dismissal from the University. To learn more about academic integrity standards, tips for avoiding a potential academic misconduct violation, and the overall conduct process, please visit the Student Conduct and Academic Integrity website at: http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/conduct.

Class Recordings

Class recordings are reserved only for students in this class for educational purposes and are protected under FERPA. The recordings should not be shared outside the class in any form. Violation of this restriction by a student could lead to Student Misconduct proceedings.

Artificial intelligence

The creation of artificial intelligence tools for widespread use is an exciting innovation. These tools have both appropriate and inappropriate uses in classwork. The use of artificial intelligence tools (such as ChatGPT) in this class is permitted but must be documented. Usually, you should include a lengthy disclaimer at the end of the assignment as a separate paragraph telling which generative AI tool was used, e.g., ChatGPT, and what it was used for. Failure to document will be considered a cheating offense, punishable under the rules for academic integrity. The disclaimer must be specific and thorough. A brief, vague statement will not be considered sufficient.

Personal Pronouns

Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with differences of race, culture, religion, politics, sexual orientation, gender identity & expression, and nationalities. Class rosters are provided to the instructor with the student’s legal name, unless they have added a “chosen name” with the registrar’s office, which you can do so here: https://utdirect.utexas.edu/apps/ais/chosen_name/. I will gladly honor your request to address you by a name that is different from what appears on the official roster, and by the pronouns you use (she/he/they/ze, etc). Please advise me of any changes early in the semester so that I may make appropriate updates to my records. For instructions on how to add your pronouns to Canvas, visit https://utexas.instructure.com/courses/633028/pages/profile-pronouns. More resources are available on the Women’s Community Center website, https://community.utexas.edu/wcc/.

Basic Needs Security

Any student who faces challenges securing their food or housing and believes this may affect their performance in the course is urged to contact the Dean of Students for support. UT maintains the UT Outpost (https://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/emergency/utoutpost.php) which is a free on-campus food pantry and career closet. Furthermore, please notify the professor if you are comfortable in doing so. This will enable him to provide any resources that he may possess.

Mental Health Information

Students who are struggling for any reason and who believe that it might impact their performance in the course are urged to reach out to Bryce Moffett if they feel comfortable. This will allow her to provide any resources or accommodations that she can. If immediate mental health assistance is needed, call the Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC) at 512-471-3515 or you may also contact Bryce Moffett, LCSW (iSchool CARE counselor) at 512-232-4449. Bryce’s office is located in FAC18S and she holds drop in Office Hours on Wednesday from 2-3pm. For urgent mental health concerns, please contact the CMHC 24/7 Crisis Line at 512-471-2255.

Carrying of Handguns on Campus

Students in this class should be aware of the following university policies related to Texas’ Open Carry Law: Students in this class who hold a license to carry are asked to review the university policy regarding campus carry.

  • Individuals who hold a license to carry are eligible to carry a concealed handgun on campus, including in most outdoor areas, buildings and spaces that are accessible to the public, and in classrooms.
  • It is the responsibility of concealed-carry license holders to carry their handguns on or about their person at all times while on campus. Open carry is NOT permitted, meaning that a license holder may not carry a partially or wholly visible handgun on campus premises or on any university driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area.
  • Per my right, I prohibit carrying of handguns in my personal office. Note that this information will also be conveyed to all students verbally during the first week of class. This written notice is intended to reinforce the verbal notification, and is not a “legally effective” means of notification in its own right.

LGBTQIA+ Community

As an institution committed to creating a safe and inclusive learning environment, The University of Texas at Austin strictly prohibits discrimination, harassment, or marginalization based on sexual orientation or gender identity under Title IX. If you encounter any discrimination or harassment, please seek support from the Title IX office.

Additionally, we encourage you to complete the Campus Climate Survey by following the link: https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/d70ce9db84a3403ab00394e4617f8f3b

If you experience any form of discrimination or harassment, please contact the Title IX office for support. If you do not wish to contact the UT Title IX office, you may view confidential community resources at https://titleix.utexas.edu/community-resources-confidential . The Womens Community Center, found at https://community.utexas.edu/wcc/ , offers resources and support for LGBTQIA+ students, and I encourage you to visit their website for more information or to contact their professional staff.

I am committed to creating a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students. This includes fostering an environment of respect, openness, and understanding in the classroom and actively working to address any discrimination or harassment that may occur. If you wish to display your pronouns on your Canvas page, you can find a guide here: https://utexas.instructure.com/courses/633028/pages/profile-pronouns. Furthermore, you can include a “preferred name” by viewing the following link to class rosters, which come with the student’s legal name (unless an addition of a preferred name is made): https://utdirect.utexas.edu/apps/ais/chosen_name/.


Beginning January 1, 2020, Texas Education Code, Section 51.252 (formerly known as Senate Bill 212) requires all employees of Texas universities, including faculty, to report to the Title IX Office any information regarding incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking that is disclosed to them. Texas law requires that all employees who witness or receive information about incidents of this type (including, but not limited to, written forms, applications, one-on-one conversations, class assignments, class discussions, or third-party reports) must report it to the Title IX Coordinator. Before talking with me, or with any faculty or staff member about a Title IX-related incident, please remember that I will be required to report this information.

Although graduate teaching and research assistants are not subject to Texas Education Code, Section 51.252, they are mandatory reporters under federal Title IX regulations and are required to report a wide range of behaviors we refer to as sexual misconduct, including the types of misconduct covered under Texas Education Code, Section 51.252. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex – including pregnancy and parental status – in educational programs and activities. The Title IX Office has developed supportive ways and compiled campus resources to support all impacted by a Title IX matter.

If you would like to speak with a case manager, who can provide support, resources, or academic accommodations, in the Title IX Office, please email: supportandresources@austin.utexas.edu. Case managers can also provide support, resources, and accommodations for pregnant, nursing, and parenting students.

For more information about reporting options and resources, please visit: https://titleix.utexas.edu, contact the Title IX Office via email at: titleix@austin.utexas.edu, or call 512-471-0419.


Baker, Rebecca. 2017. Agile UX Storytelling: Crafting Stories for Better Software Development. New York, NY: Apress. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4842-2997-2.
Becker, Christopher Reid. 2020. Learn Human-Computer Interaction: Solve Human Problems and Focus on Rapid Prototyping and Validating Solutions Through User Testing. Packt Publishing.
Buxton, Bill. 2007. Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design. San Francisco: Morgan Kaufman.
Cockton, Gilbert, Marta Lárusdóttir, Peggy Gregory, and Åsa Cajander. 2016. Integrating User-Centred Design in Agile Development. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
Cooper, Alan, Robert Reimann, David Cronin, and Christopher Noessel. 2014. About Face 4.0: The Essentials of Interaction Design. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley.
Goodman, Elizabeth, Mike Kuniavsky, and Andrea Moed. 2012. Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research. Waltham, MA: Morgan Kaufman.
Greever, Tom. 2020. Articulating Design Decisions: Communicate with Stakeholders, Keep Your Sanity, and Deliver the Best User Experience. 2nd ed. O’Reilly Media.
Holtzblatt, Karen, and Hugh Beyer. 2016. Contextual Design, Second Edition: Design for Life. San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kaufmann.
Holtzblatt, Karen, Jessamyn Burns Wendell, and Shelley Wood. 2005. Rapid Contextual Design: A How-to Guide to Key Techniques for User-Centered Design. San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kaufmann.
Lazar, Jonathan, Jinjuan Heidi Feng, and Harry Hochheiser. 2017. Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed. West Sussex, UK: Wiley.
Matsudaira, Kate. 2019. “Design Patterns for Managing Up.” Commun. ACM 62 (3): 43–45. https://doi.org/10.1145/3303878.
Patton, Jeff. 2014. User Story Mapping. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media.
Robert Stackowiak, Tracey Kelly. 2020. Design Thinking in Software and AI Projects: Proving Ideas Through Rapid Prototyping. Apress. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4842-6153-8.
Rubin, Jeffrey, and Dana Chisnell. 2008. Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests. Wiley.
Shneiderman, Ben. 2017. “Revisiting the Astonishing Growth of Human–Computer Interaction Research.” Computer, no. 10: 8–11.
Spiekermann, Erik. 2014. Stop Stealing Sheep, 3rd Edition. San Jose, CA: Adobe Press.
Wixon, Dennis. 2003. “Evaluating Usability Methods: Why the Current Literature Fails the Practitioner.” Interactions 10 (4): 28–34. https://doi.org/10.1145/838830.838870.