There was a new course launched recently on Udacity called “Introduction to the Design of Everyday Things“. I am always on the lookout for design courses, and so how and why things are designed the way they are interests me. So of course I signed up for this, and went through it.
It’s been a while since I’ve been on the Udacity platform, and as I’ve said previously the UI is pretty good. The videos and quizzes are integrated together a bit better than Coursera. Instead of the video needing to play on top of the screen in a lightbox, it’s integrated into the page which allows you to see how far you are along in each module in real time. The quiz section also allows a variety of input such as bigger text fields, and they seem to take those quiz questions more seriously by giving you hints if you get an answer wrong with a prompt to retry.
The course itself was a bit of a disappointment. Perhaps I went into it with too high expectations. I thought it would be more of an examination of “everyday things” – looking at water bottles, chairs, street lights, and a close examination of real objects. I was expecting to learn about why this water bottle in front of me has ridges on it, and how the shape of the bottle fits the human hand better than a bottle of 10 years ago.
Perhaps the course was too short. Essentially the course is 3 modules, which is perhaps 1/3rd the length of a typical Coursera class. I didn’t come away from this class feeling like I learned very much.
Some people might find many of these positives: the course wasn’t long (3 modules), didn’t require a huge time investment, was fairly interactive (requiring lengthy posts to the forums for each week’s assignments), and wasn’t difficult. Also, the audio and video production quality was quite high. If you’re looking for something along those lines, this could be an interesting course. If you were hoping for something with a bit more meat on it, this might not be the one for you.