Introduction: Design of Interactive Things (DO IT)


Wendy E. Mackay, Inria & Université Paris-Saclay

M1, M2

The course, entitled Introduction: Design of Interactive Things (DO IT) teaches quick and effective user-centred design methods. Students will investigate a design problem from the user's perspective and produce a scenario-based video prototype of a new system based on their users' needs. Students will then redesign their system to address breakdowns and accommodate new situations and present it to the rest of the class. The course includes a series of individual and group exercises that build upon each other — all are required to successfully complete the final project. Class attendance and participation is essential!


The DO IT course is about design methods—how to quickly design and redesign an effective interactive system.

This year's design brief is to create a prototype of a mobile interactive map application, based on the principles of Instrumental Interaction (Beaudouin-Lafon, 2000) as well as user needs uncovered via assigned methods. You will learn to:
• shift from static wireframes to 'sketching' interaction with video
• focus on the user's perspective, in realistic contexts
• create design artefacts that serve as resources for future design
• know when to stop discussing and start doing
• distinguish between exploratory video prototypes, how to tutorials and marketing pitches

Warning: This course is fast!
The techniques in this course were created and refined in both industry and research settings and are directly applicable to Masters internships. This course challenges many assumptions about UX design in industry, and explains tested techniques that have been adopted for successful startups, for commercial and open-source applications, and as a foundation for HCI research.

By the end of the course, you should be able to observe users and design from their perspective, and focus on the interaction not just the interface. You should also be able to work effectively in groups, and avoid analysis paralysis when group members disagree.

Course structure:
This is a project-oriented class, that combines lectures activities, in class and as homework. You will work in groups of three or four, with individual, paired and group exercises. You have five weeks to create the first story-based video prototype and two more weeks to completely redesign and improve it.

Note: Due to the covid-19 pandemic, we are experimenting with a hybrid approach. This website contains all the assignments and space for uploading your work, as well as links to tools that will enable you to conduct collaborative video-based assignments remotely.

Most grades are based on group activities, but note that individual grades also count for certain assignments and class participation.

Participation and exercises: 30%
Video prototype #1 15%
Video prototype #2 15%
Final presentation & poster 40%

(Sorry -- this is correct. I've updated the lecture slide.)

Final presentation:
Each group will have 10 minutes to present their project, including a summary of their design process and the video prototype that illustrates their design. An external jury and other class members will then have 5 minutes to ask questions. Note that this is not a concept video with a marketing pitch. Rather, it is a early-phase design artefact designed to communicate the current state of the design, in a story-based format, to other designers and users.


Class meets every Tuesday afternoon from 14:00 to 17:00 (2pm - 5pm) and every Wednesday morning from 9:30 to 12:30.

Note that attendance is required at both sessions, since you will need time to accomplish all the assignments. Let us know in advance, if possible, if you will be late or cannot attend a session. The basic schedule is listed below:

Download complete schedule PDF
(1T means first Tuesday, 1W first Wednesday, etc. )


For those who will be attending in person, the class will be held in three rooms at the Breguet building
at Centrale Supelec. The class rooms are downstairs: D1.02, D1.03 and D1.05

  • 22 and 23 september : Breguet building: D1.21
  • 29 et 30 septembre, Bouygues building: SD 102

The above map shows the route from the "Moulon" bus stop (top blue landmark) to the classroom (bottom left blue landmark). You can click the blue landmarks for image and notes.

To reach the classroom once you enter the "Centrale Supelec bâtiment Breguet" building:

Enter the building and walk straight ahead to the end of the football court and turn right.
Go down the stairs. As you near the bottom, look for the sign shown above.
Turn right at the bottom of the stairs and walk through the double doors (on the right in the picture).
Go straight and you will see the class rooms. We will post a sign to help you find your way.


Workspace & group reports