When the new MIS curriculum was rolled out a year and a half ago, the department made some bold decisions. For one thing, it replaced the Systems Analysis course with a User Experience (UX) course. “UX is what today’s C-suite cares about,” says professor Munir Mandviwalla, who created and teaches the course. “Having a strong UX foundation makes our students better prepared for a more digitized economy and society,” he adds.
There are many ways of defining UX, but for Mandviwalla, who applies Donald Norman’s worldview on the subject of UX, it encompasses every aspect of a user’s interaction with a product, business, or brand. “Today you need to consider the emotional and social experience as well as the functional requirements and the steps you take to complete a task,” he says.
The course takes students through two hands-on projects. They conduct a usability analysis of an existing website they are randomly assigned and later they create a new transactional website that demonstrates their growing UX design expertise.
“The user experience has become much more crucial as the role of tech has expanded from the back office into our everyday lives. We judge an institution or business on how good the UX is,” says Mandviwalla.
In the course, he helps students learn to approach UX design from more than one point of view. “For example, the ease of use perspective suggests reducing the number of clicks it takes to complete a task. But sometimes the business model is such that you may want to add clicks to provide a better experience,” he says.
The course has helped recent MIS graduates launch their careers. “The UX Design course forced me to think about every single possible user interaction before it happened. A good design is one that is a step ahead of the user and can predict what the user will do next,” says Ahmed Hosny (BBA ’19), a software engineer at IBM.
Justin Kish (BBA ’19) also applies the UX design skills he learned at Temple in his work as an associate product manager at Bentley Systems. “The class taught me to challenge myself creatively in ways not typically found in a coding class. By utilizing the skills I learned, I’ve been able to analyze and lead products leading to better, long-lasting UI/UX solutions,” he says.