Spring 2023 DES INV 98 2 Units • P/NP

The Human Centered Design DeCal

Schedule Syllabus

Our Human-Centered Design DeCal is an introductory class to design theory and practice, with a focus on human-centered design.

2 Units P/NP

Mondays, 7-9 PM

Jacobs 310

Apply by 1/24!

In this course facilitated by Berkeley Innovation, students learn about the human-centered design process and theory, and engage in hands-on activities during class and in homework assignments. Throughout the semester, students will use industry standard tools to solve a problem they care about in their midterm and final project. Apps due January 24, 2023.

About the Course

If you want to reach out to course staff, you can email caldesigndecal@gmail.com

If you have a question for any individual course staff, you can find our emails on the syllabus. If emailing course staff directly, please put “HCD DeCal” in the email subject line!

The most important part of the course are the projects you’ll work on.

The first project is completed in groups of 4-5. Your group will focus on solving a problem that you all care about. You can express preferences for who you want to have in your group and we’ll try our best to honor them! Matching will be determined primarily by the issues that matter to you and your future groupmates. In this project, you will complete user research, synthesis, and begin the ideation process. The final deliverable, due halfway through the semester, will be a research report!

The second project will build on your first group project, but will be completed individually to allow you to explore ideas and implementations that intrigue you. You’ll complete the design process by coming up with solutions from your research and implementing them. You’ll ideate many divergent and convergent solutions, conduct evaluation testing to determine which solutions are viable, create prototypes, and repeat until you come up with a solution to your original problem!

The Berkeley design community offers a myriad of other wonderful DeCal courses, like the web development DeCal, Figma DeCal, BigD (Brand Identity) DeCal, and many more which we also recommend you check out! This DeCal differs in the fact that it is non-technical and doesn’t focus on any individual technology, tool, or implementation of designs. Rather we strive to teach the human-centered design process that can be applied to nearly any domain of work, be it design, engineering, biology, history, etc.

In addition to the 2 hour weekly meetings on Monday, you’ll likely have to spend some time outside of class on homework and projects. While the numbers will vary from week-to-week, depending on what your team is able to get done during class time and the nature of your project, we’d recommend budgeting 1-2 hours per week outside of class to complete projects and homework.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the capacity to enroll every applicant. That being said, we look for individuals passionate about design—regardless of skillsets. Beginners interested in design are welcome and strongly encouraged to apply!

We focus mainly on your responses in the application form, and provide slight priority to those who’ve previously applied or are closer to graduating.

Thanks for your interest in our Human-Centered Design DeCal. Unfortunately, the application deadline has passed. Still, if you’d like to audit the course, please reach out to caldesigndecal@gmail.com.

We’ll also be posting slides, recordings, and assignments to this course site.

We meet every Monday, 7-9 PM at Jacobs 310. Attendance is mandatory!

Our first class is January 30th from 7-9 PM in Jacobs 310.

Anyone! There are no prerequisites—this class is for anyone and everyone interested in learning about the theory behind human-centered design.

Course Staff

Jess Huang she/they


Sunny Park she/her


Aditya Mavalankar he/him


Hamid Habibi he/him


Sarah Suen she/her


Kevin Wang he/him


Jayna Wu she/her


Isabel Zheng she/her


Brandon Lin he/him


About Berkeley Innovation

We are UC Berkeley’s first student-run design organization since 2003. As a human-centered design consultancy, we work with clients on projects ranging from physical to digital products, brands, and experiences.