Novel Interfaces

Novel Interfaces

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this course should be able to:

  • Articulate the concepts of "novelty" and "interface" in regard to games and playable media, especially with respect to expected norms for audience and experience
  • Explain how interfaces include and exclude populations based on physical and behavioral ability
  • Describe how game interfaces are informed by the bias of their creators, and how they inform the design of games
  • Reflect upon how interfaces are used to attract audiences
  • Engage consciously in design informed by the affordances and constraints of an interface and/or platform
  • Critique and respond to critique, both in terms of self-critique and the critique of others' work
  • Engage in imaginative, speculative design of interfaces and experiences
  • Synthesize concepts that span readings and other media
  • Conduct independent background research based on a prompt, and seek out examples of games and playable media that are not already known
  • Present convincing pitches for conceptual designs on the strength of an initial prototype and a well-explained vision

What You'll Do

This class consists of the following major kinds of work:

  • Completing readings, preparing for class discussions, and participating in class activities
  • Three major individual design projects to produce concepts for novel interfaces, each responding to a different prompt
  • A short group design project that iterates on a prior project pitch
  • Development of a proposed canon of games and playable experiences related to novel interfaces
  • Analysis of an existing game or playable experience in relation to its interface


Gillian Smith (please call me Prof. Smith, Dr. Smith, or Gillian)

Office: Fuller Labs, B-23

Office Hours: You are always welcome to stop by my office (I will ask you to come back later if I'm too busy). You can guarantee that I'll be there if you schedule an appointment with me. If you have something urgent to discuss, please send me a message on Slack.

Contact Instructions: The primary form of communication outside of class will be the course Slack, which you can join here and then join the #novelinterfaces channel. Except for communication that must remain private, please communicate in the main course channel. If you have a question, it's likely someone else in the class does as well. And if you need help, you're more likely to get it quickly if you ask in a forum where multiple people can answer you!

Teaching Assistant

Dafei Lu

Office Hours: 2 - 4pm on Wednesdays, location Fuller Labs A-17 (Digital Art Studio)

Course Policies

By enrolling in this course, it is assumed that you have read and agreed to all of the policies outlined on the Course Policies page.

Course Summary:

Date Details