Every interactive device with a screen has a graphical user interface (GUI), ranging from the highly complex desktop applications on personal computers to simple lists on an iPhone. But software itself does not have a shape. What is visible on a screen and what the user experiences is artificial and completely disconnected from how the machine actually works.

In order to create a great user experience, it is essential for the interaction designer to know the possibilities as well as the limitations and conventions of technology platforms and operating systems, and to have a good sense for visual communication. But to come up with great solutions that go beyond problem-solving, it is also necessary to break out of fixed frameworks think out of the box.

The students were asked to create a desktop software application focusing on answering a limited set of relevant questions to a certain user. This dashboard-like interface needed to show and visualise data and provide different perspectives on the data through minimal interaction.

The course concentrated on how to craft a graphical user interfaces from idea and concept, to the actual layout at pixel level. The students were introduced to the general principles of GUIs and to different platform conventions and standards.

The focus was on details in graphic design, layout and typography in the context of graphical user interfaces and students were encouraged to make conscious design decisions for every detail in software interfaces and to have a well-educated opinion on application design.

The final projects explored ways to make such an interface meaningful and helpful for the user’s work and life, but also joyful and playful. They looked at topics such as personal finance, health monitoring, energy consumption and logistics tracking.