Starting in 2018, I taught the theory & practice of human-centered design at General Assembly
"It is the supreme joy of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."
- Albert Einstein
As an avid practitioner of human-centered design, I felt honored and excited to help train the next generation of designers. When I was scouted by General Assembly to become one of their design instructors, I recognized this as an excellent opportunity to give back to and fortify a practice that's deeply meaningful to me.
I taught 3 immersive cohorts, each of which was 10 weeks long and ran 40 hours per week, for 20+ students each. This added up to a total of 1,200 hours of instruction for over 70 hard-working design students.
Instruction included a combination of lecture-based and project-based learning. In order to successfully complete the projects, my students had to demonstrate proficiency in applying their newly-minted design skills to solve practical problems.
My main lecture topics included:
- User Research
- Contextual Inquiry
- Competitive Analysis
- User Scenarios
- Task Analysis
- Hand Sketching
- User Flow Diagrams
- Information Architecture
- Project Planning
- UI Design
- Visual Design
- Interaction Design
- Usability Testing
- Feature Prioritization
- Mobile & Responsive Design
- Mobile Commerce
- Design Presentation
- Design Critique
I followed up each lecture with hands-on exercises that challenged students to apply the design theories & principles they'd just learned to solve practical problems – e.g., design a better BART kiosk experience. [Wouldn't that be dreamy?]
Of the 5 total design projects, the fifth and final project required students to team-up to define, research, and solve the real-world needs of a local business... and then to offer a compelling live presentation of their design solution to their key stakeholders.
Many of my students landed design jobs at A-list companies, including Apple, Google, Samsung, Huawei, LinkedIn, JP Morgan Chase, & UC Berkeley, plus a host of promising startups.
General Assembly Student Feedback
"Shalom is easily one of the best instructors I've ever had. His enthusiasm and passion for design are clear from the very minute you meet him—he truly embodies what it means to be a human-centered designer. I'll always thank Shalom for completely changing my perspective and teaching empathy to someone who didn't really understand it before."
- Y. S.
"I don't think it's possible for me to overstate the impact that Shalom has had on my UX career. I had the honor of first being his student, then the first designer he hired at bud.com. As a mentor to me in both roles, Shalom lead by example, modeling a philosophy of design that is centered in humanity. It's easy to say that UX and product design work is "all about the user" or "rooted in empathy," but to put those ideals into practice consistently is another thing entirely. Shalom also has particular skill in finding the business advantage to designing in this way and inspiring organizational buy-in. I feel incredibly lucky to have been mentored by a designer that always leads from the heart, champions inclusive design, and never compromises his commitment to the people he designs for - be they his users, his students, his employees, or the company that's lucky enough to have him."
- M. A.