Mobile Design

Prof. Ian Besler


Instructor: Ian Besler


Blogs, Magazines, and Podcasts
Code Forums/Playgrounds
Design Process
Drawing Applications
Information Architecture (AI)
Interaction Design (IxD) and User Experience (UX) Design
Mobile Design Basics
Organizations and Activism
Pattern Libraries
Professional Practices
Prototyping and Wireframing
Recommended Readings
Responsive Design
Text Editors
Usability and Testing
User Interface


The Center For Media And Design

The Center for Media and Design (CMD) was built to provide quality education and lifelong learning opportunities in rapidly evolving design and media fields. All of the programs housed at the CMD are dedicated to preparing students for successful transfer or professional growth through innovation, collaboration and communication.

The facility represents years of thoughtful planning and great expense to ensure the creation of a state-of-the-art learning environment which encourages exploration and discovery.

The future success of the CMD rests with all of us. As stewards of this community, all who use the CMD must be committed to three simple principles:

  • Uphold a positive, productive climate where every person is engaged and respected.
  • Work together to maintain a shared vision for the facility.
  • Contribute to the successful operation of the CMD and the care of the physical environment.

We strongly encourage everyone to use the LiveSafe mobile app that Santa Monica College is providing to all students, faculty, and staff to download for free. The app provides a quick, convenient, and discreet way to communicate directly with Santa Monica College officials, enhancing your overall safety and allowing Santa Monica College to better serve you. Please use the app to anonymously report any acts of vandalism you may observe at the CMD.

Course Description

This design course focuses on designing for mobile touchscreen interfaces including smartphones and tablets. Mobile design requires the skill of designing for smaller, hand- held devices and has its own set of characteristics and constraints. Students will conceptualize, design, and implement low-fidelity design prototypes of apps for mobile devices. Projects will cover best practices for designing for mobile devices and will cover the basics of mobile app prototyping including design process, interface design, and interaction design patterns.

NOTE: This course is not a mobile app development or programming course. For such courses, please see our Computer Science course offerings.

Advisory Prerequisites: GR DES 61 and GR DES 65

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Explain the constraints presented by hand-held devices that differentiate mobile as a distinct medium.
  • Identify the differences between types of mobile applications such as mobile Web apps versus native applications.
  • Create a concept and strategy for implementing a mobile design.
  • Complete information architecture deliverables such as flow charts, wireframes, and prototypes.
  • Integrate mobile design best practices.
  • Apply effective visual design to the mobile environment.
  • Identify the variety of mobile design tools and technologies.

Arranged Hours Objectives

Upon successful completion of the arranged hours, students will be able to:

  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of how to prototype design for a mobile app.

Student Learning Outcomes
  • Exhibit strong academic behaviors including regular attendance, timeliness, participation in class activities, and adherence to the College Honor Code.
  • Successfully create a concept and strategy for implementing a mobile app.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and ability to create an effective visual design for the mobile environment.
Course Content

The content of this course may change depending on time constraints. The order of the topics listed may vary.

  • A History of Mobile Communication
  • Concept and Strategy
  • A Basic UX/UI Toolset
  • Information Architecture
  • Mobile App Design Best Practices
  • Native App vs Web App Design
  • Responsive Web App Design
  • Mobile Design Patterns
  • Rapid Prototyping and Testing
  • Visual Design for Mobile
  • UX/UI Design Systems
  • Mobile Design Tools and Technologies/ Design Prototyping
  • Microinteractions
Materials & Supplies
Recommended Computer Skills

To succeed in this course, students should have the ability to:

  • Navigate the internet using a web browser.
  • Manage files using either the Mac or Windows operating systems.
  • Send and receive email messages and attachments.
  • Use a word processing program like Microsoft Word or its equivalent.

Students that do not meet these required skills are advised to enroll in a computer skills course such as ET 11, GR DES 18 or INTARC 29.

Methods of Presentation
  • Lab
  • Lecture and Written Reflection
  • Projects
  • Critique
  • Group Work
Methods of Evaluation

Grading is determined by participation and the timely completion of all assignments, projects and/or exams. Assignments and projects will be judged on technical execution and mastery of the underlying concepts. All coursework submitted must be original, completed solely by you.

To receive full credit, all assignments are due on time. Students are responsible for submitting all work on time regardless of absence. Emailing late assignments is NOT allowed. A late assignment may be submitted in class one week after the due date but will automatically drop one grade level. No late assignments will be accepted after one week.

There is no extra credit available for this course.

Students must complete 75% of the coursework, including the final, to pass the course. Final projects that are submitted late will NOT be accepted.

A grade of “Incomplete” may be granted at the very end of the term, only when 90% of the course work has been completed with a “C” or better, and an unforeseen event or illness prevents the student from completing the coursework. “Incomplete” grade situations are extremely rare, and are entirely at the discretion of the instructor, within the parameters set above.

Please let the instructor know, promptly and courteously, if a mistake has been made in class or in grading.

Your final grade will be calculated using the following percentages:

  • Readings and Written Response: 20% (40 pts)
  • Technical Exercises: 37.5% (75 pts)
  • Midterm Project: 12.5% (25 pts)
  • Final Project: 30% (60 pts)
  • Total: 100% (200 pts)
Grading Scale
  • A: 90% - 100%
  • Superior performance. Excellent achievement and craftsmanship in all work. Performs beyond course requirements.
  • B: 80% - 89%
  • Above average performance. Consistent progress and craftsmanship. Meets all course requirements.
  • C: 70% - 79%
  • Average performance. Minimum time and effort spent on coursework. Fulfills basic course requirements.
  • D: 60% - 69%
  • Uneven performance. Minimal output and improvement in work. Requirements are only partially fulfilled.
  • F: 0% - 59%
  • Fails to meet a minimum of performance levels. Does not exhibit achievement or progress.
Policy for Adding Class

A student must attend the first day of class in order to remain or to be placed on the waiting list. A student will only be placed on the waiting list if s/he has met all the prerequisites for the class. The instructor will contact students on the waiting list should any spaces become available. Students who are not formally enrolled in the class cannot sit in on the class until they are officially registered for the class.

A student who does not attend the first day of class may not add the class without approval from the instructor. The instructor has the right to drop any student who does not attend the first day of class and adds the class without the instructor’s approval.

Withdrawal Policy

Students are responsible for withdrawing from a class and must not expect faculty to initiate withdrawal procedures for them. If you wish to drop this class, you may do so through Corsair Connect.

General information regarding drop dates, withdrawals, and other enrollment matters may be found at the Admissions section of the SMC website.

After the eighth week of classes, students must have the instructor’s approval and documentable extenuating circumstances to withdraw. Extenuating circumstances are unavoidable circumstances that prevent students from participating in further class activities and fulfilling remaining course requirements. Poor student performance in the course will NOT be considered as an extenuating circumstance.

Class Policies – Academic Honesty

The SMC Honor Code and Code of Academic Integrity, printed in the General Catalog, remind students of their responsibility to behave honestly and ethically. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with these codes. Other guidance is also available online:

Please be extremely careful that you do not engage in any behavior that could even be construed as cheating. Outside of class, students are allowed to study together. However, copying another student’s work is not acceptable. If the instructor determines that students have violated the SMC Honor Code and/or the Code of Academic Integrity, the students may be assigned no credit. Future occurrences could result in academic disciplinary action. During an exam, talking to another student, looking at another student's work or computer screen, using cheat notes or mobile devices, etc. are not permitted.

Class Policies – Attendance

Students are expected to attend ALL class sessions, especially the first scheduled session. Lectures and hands-on demonstrations will not be repeated for individual students. Please make a commitment to be in class on time, arriving within the first 10 minutes of class, even if you have not completed the current assignment. You are responsible for notifying your instructor in advance of any absence or scheduling conflict. You may be dropped from the class if you miss more than two consecutive classes without notifying your instructor. Students who are out for 3 sessions due to illness must provide a doctor’s note to be reinstated back into the class.

Class Policies – Classroom

All food or drink is prohibited in the classroom with the exception of water bottles, which are permitted as long as they have lids that remain closed and they are kept away from all equipment. Use of the computers for purposes other than the assignments for this class is not permitted. No cell phone or smart phone use will be permitted in the classroom. Please turn off all electronic devices prior to entering the classroom.

Class Policies – Recording of Class Lectures

In accordance with Section 78907 of the California Education Code, students shall not use any electronic listening or recording device in any classroom without the prior consent of the instructor, except as necessary to provide reasonable auxiliary aids and academic adjustments to disabled students.

Class Policies – Students with Disabilities

Santa Monica College accommodates students with disabilities. If you qualify for any special accommodations due to a disability, you need to officially process your request through the Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS) office as close to the beginning of the semester as possible. If you believe you have a learning disability that has not yet been documented, please notify the instructor and make an appointment at the DSPS office for assistance. The DSPS office is located in the Admissions/Student Services Complex, Room 101, and the phone numbers are (310) 434-4265 and (310) 434-4273 (TDD). Scheduling of accommodated exams will be arranged on a case-by-case basis.

Class Policies – Emergency Preparedness

The safety of students at SMC is a priority. Please note that procedures for various emergencies are delineated on the SMC website. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with these procedures today, when knowledge of what to do can be the most effective.

Academic Advisement

Students should schedule an appointment with our Academic Counselor, Ashley Wadman and Marisela Canela, to develop an Educational Plan. This is to ensure that you are taking the necessary courses to meet your educational goals.

During the first week of the semester, counselors will be available on a walk-in basis at the main campus Transfer Center. Please contact either Ashley or Marisela directly to make an appointment to meet at the CMD for the remainder of the semester.

College Use of Student Work Policy

By participating in this course, you agree to allow your work to be used by Santa Monica College for promotional purposes. These uses include, but are not limited to, display in the physical and web galleries, promotional video tapes, and printed promotional pieces. You retain complete rights to your work, and Santa Monica College may not use your work for non-promotional purposes without your prior agreement.


Some elements of the syllabus may be changed at the instructor’s discretion. Students will be given at least 48 hours notice of changes whenever possible. If there is any aspect of this syllabus which you do not understand, or to which you take exception, please let the instructor know within the first week of class.


This syllabus was developed from curricula originally created by Maxim Safioulline.