This course studies how best to design the interface between human users and computer systems. Emphasis is placed on learning how to involve the user at different stages in the design process to improve the interface in a cost effective way. In particular, experience with iterative user-centered design, rapid prototyping and usability testing methods are developed. Students evaluate several computer interfaces as well as iteratively design and evaluate an interface prototype.

Prerequisite: a curious mind, an innovative thinking, and a willingness to try, fail and succeed & 198:113, 198:211 or 547:202

In this course, you will learn how to design technologies that are effective for humans to use. To do this, you will learn how to understand users and tasks. You will learn how to transform the understandings of the users into design. You will learn how to make paper prototypes and low- and high-fidelity mockups that are interactive — and how to use these designs to get feedback from the users. You will learn principles of visual design, perception and cognition so that you can effectively organize and present information with your interfaces. And, you will learn how to evaluate your interfaces.

Through a series of weekly assignments, you will complete semester-long individual projects as well as group projects in teams of three students. The setting for the course is mobile applications.

Please Note: This is NOT a course on programming, app development, or web page design. The course requires a basic understanding of information systems and hands-on skills with the use of prototyping tools.

Throughout the semester, students will: By the end of the course, students will be able to:
  • Describe and apply relevant HCI theories and principles in new designing activities;
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of interface designs and provide suggestions of how to improve them;
  • Design interfaces to accommodate a wide range of users and skill levels;
  • Undertake iterative and inexpensive user-centered design methods;
  • Perform usability testing procedures;
  • Apply particular design methodology to develop an interface prototype, based on market research, task analysis and user input.
  • Main textbook: UIDE Stone, D., Jarrett, C., Woodroffe, M. & Minocha, S. (2005). User Interface Design and Evaluation. Morgan Kaufman. ISBM 978-0-12-088436-0 (You an get a used/new copy at Amazon for less than $30.)

    Required Canvas Readings: There are chapters selected from several other books and research papers that will be uploaded to Canvas.

    Other useful resources (for class learning and design prototyping)