the human-centered design decal

schedule syllabus attendance
  • spring 2024
  • 2 units
  • p/np
  • jacobs 310
  • 7-9 pm pst

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

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.

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what the course covers



research methods, design process, and need-finding



creating insights, finding pain-points, and visualizing data



insight-based ideation, convergent- and divergent-thinking


visual design

design theory, making aesthetic designs, presentation skills

humans often ask

Absolutely! We encourage you audit the DeCal if you’re interested. To audit, just show up, and fill out the form at

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.

If you want to reach out to course staff, you can email

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!

If you want to access previous course sites, you can access them here:

Fall 2023:

Spring 2023:

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

We strongly encourage beginners to apply!

You can access the application at at the start of the semester.

Unfortunately, apps for SP24 have closed. You can audit the course, however, by filling out the following form at

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.

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

Our first class is January 29th, from 7-9 PM, in Jacobs 310.

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humans behind the decal

Instructor she/her ...

Michid Byambajav

Instructor he/him ...

Aditya Mavalankar

Instructor she/her ...

Sophia Matthews

TA she/her ...

Lasya Ramakrishnan

TA she/they ...

Jess Huang

TA she/her ...

Jenice Hartono

TA she/her ...

Danielle Wong

TA she/her ...

Claire Wang

TA they/he ...

Rhyu Olide

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.

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