Building Mobile Experiences
A project-based course that guides students through creating a novel mobile application - from generative research to design, usability, implementation and field evaluation.
About this Course
How do you design a mobile app that truly changes people's lives? How can you understand how a new service is being used, both quantitatively and qualitatively? How can you use all of the rich sensing and I/O capabilities of mobile devices to create experiences that go far beyond what's possible on a traditional computer?
Mobile devices are changing the ways that we interact with each other and information in the world. This course will take you from a domain of interest, through generative research, design, usability, implementation and field evaluation of a novel mobile experience. You'll finish the course with a working, field-tested application suitable for release in the app store as well as a deep understanding of human interaction with mobile devices and services.
Based on a popular MIT class that has been taught since 2006 by Frank Bentley of Yahoo Labs and Ed Barrett, a Senior Lecturer at MIT, this course will explore what makes mobile devices unique. A primary focus will be on studying existing behavior and using key findings for design. While writing the code for an app is a part of the class, the majority of the topics will cover designing and evaluating a unique mobile experience. Along the way, you will have opportunities to share your work with other students from around the world! Java experience (or Objective C for iOS users) and a smartphone are required.
All required readings are available within the courseware, courtesy of The MIT Press. A print version of the course textbook, Building Mobile Experiences, is also available for purchase. The MIT Press is offering enrolled students a special 30% discount on books ordered directly through the publisher’s website. To take advantage of this offer, please use promotion code BME30 at The MIT Press site.
Ways to take this edX course:
Simply Audit this Course
Audit this course for free and have complete access to all of the course material, tests, and the online discussion forum. You decide what and how much you want to do.
Try for a Certificate
Looking to test your mettle? Participate in all of the course's activities and abide by the edX Honor Code. If your work is satisfactory, you'll receive a personalized certificate to showcase your achievement.
Frank Bentley is a Principal Research Scientist in Mobile Sensing and User Behavior Research at Yahoo Labs in California. Frank's work investigates the ways in which mobile devices can help strengthen strong-tie social relationships. He takes projects from early conceptual studies through to prototyping, field evaluation, and product as a routine process. Frank recently joined Yahoo Labs after 11 years at Motorola Labs in Chicago. Frank has been co-teaching an in-person version of this course at MIT since 2006 and recently completed the book Building Mobile Experiences with Ed Barrett.
Ed Barrett is Senior Lecturer in Comparative Media Studies and Writing at MIT and author of several books on digital media published by MIT Press. His work at MIT focuses on a range of topics including social media, digital humanities and corporate communications.
Java experience (or Objective C for iOS users) and an Android or iOS device are required.
This will be a project-based class, with each student starting with a topic area of interest (e.g. mobile photo sharing, navigation, alarm clocks, music, etc.) and progressing through generative research, design, usability, implementation, and field evaluation over the course of 12 weeks. Assignments will be peer graded and grading others’ assignments is required to pass the class.
Building Mobile Experiences is the suggested textbook. Three chapters are provided free of charge on the edX platform, but we imagine many students will want to read through the entire book.
This will be a project-based class, with each student starting with a topic area of interest (e.g. mobile photo sharing, navigation, alarm clocks, music, etc.) and progressing through generative research, design, usability, implementation,and field evaluation over the course of 12 weeks. Assignments will be peer graded and grading others’ assignments is required to pass the class.
Yes, but you might find it difficult to catch up or may not have enough peers who are also starting late in order to get all of your assignments peer graded.
This is not a programming class, but all students are required to fully implement a working version of their application as the main part of the semester’s work. Students will not be able to conduct the field evaluation without a functional app. Students who are targeting Android should be proficient in Java and have completed several projects using the language. Students targeting iOS should have at least built and deployed a simple iOS app in Objective C before starting the class.
Smart phones are required as you must be able to demo your work and test it in real-life situations. The networking and location assignment will require a 3G/4G data plan. Pay as you go plans may be available in your location and you’ll only need <25 MB for this assignment.