CS 565 Spring 2018
Introduction to HCI

Classroom Location: MLM 202
Time: MW 2:00-3:50 pm

Instructor: Prof. Margaret Burnett
E-Mail: burnett@eecs.oregonstate.edu
Office Hours: listed on my home page
Office Hours Location: KEC 3051

TA: Lara Letaw
E-Mail: letawl@oregonstate.edu
Office Hours: Wednesdays 10:00-10:50 am; Thursdays 3:00-3:50 pm
Office Hours Location: KEC Atrium


Course Description

In this class, you will learn basic principles of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) for the design and evaluation of software systems. Includes research methods for studying human-machine interactions and user interfaces; design strategies; software evaluation methods; and related guidelines and standards. PREREQS: Grad standing in CS or permission of instructor.

There will be no programming. However, a significant portion of your grade will be based on a team project Here are possible projects to choose from.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe HCI design processes.
  2. Discuss HCI design guidelines, their foundations, assumptions, advantages, and weaknesses.
  3. Describe basics of human subjects research.
  4. Complete a basic human subjects research certification form.
  5. Design a user interface based on analysis of human capabilities and needs, and prepare a prototype system.
  6. Evaluate user interfaces using a variety of HCI research methods.
  7. Make an oral presentation that justifies design decisions.

How the course will be conducted, method of instruction

We will run this class as an "HCI clinic". You will act as the "HCI doctors" to apply your emerging skills to healing "HCI patients" -- systems whose UIs probably need improvement. Thus, it is a hands-on course.

To do this, you will be required to work on group projects (~4-person groups) and classwork (in addition to doing readings) outside of class time. This class will also be very interactive. Participation will count towards your final grade, and I want a healthy discussion in each class session.

This class will meet an average of only 3 hours per week in the classroom, because the hands-on component will require significant meeting times with your teams as well. The in-classroom sessions are shown on the Schedule below.

You are responsible for having done the reading before attending class that day and be ready to participate in the discussion. I may not go over all the reading material in class, preferring to spend that time elaborating or discussing that material with you. This does not mean the assigned reading is not important, or will not be covered in a test.


I have high expectations. Thus, in this class, "A" does not mean "adequate" or "nothing really wrong": instead, it means "excellent". For an A, you should expect to work hard and get the most you can out of the class.

Student performance will be evaluated via projects and assignments, a midterm exam, a final exam, and active participation. Approximate weights will be Projects and assignments about 40-50%, midterm and final about 40-50%, with about 1%-5% set aside for participation.

Note: The team receives one grade for the group project. However, allocation of the grade among team members will in some cases not be equal, if team members do not contribute relatively equally to the effort.


We will also have selected readings from other sources, but you don't have to buy those.

Classroom Policies

This class is our community.

Every student should feel safe and welcome to contribute in this course, and it is all of our jobs to make sure this is the case. I will try to establish this tone whenever possible, but ultimately the responsibility for cultivating a safe and welcoming community belongs to the students—that means you! Fortunately, forming a safe and welcoming community is not too hard. A good place to start is to recognize (and continually remind yourself) of the following facts:

In addition, the OSU Expectations for Student Conduct apply.

In short, treat your classmates as respected colleagues, support each other when needed, have fun without spoiling it for anyone else, and everybody wins.

Laptops and phones in the class

(1) You are welcome to take notes on your laptop, but this can be distracting to others, so please sit in the back if you do this. (2) If you find yourself trying to keep an eye on your emails and messages during class, know that you are missing out on a lot of information that will eventually prove useful to your project and your grade. As you'll learn in this class, we humans pay a huge cognitive tax when we try to multitask. You'll be better off as a student and a future professional if you learn to wait till after class to check your phone/etc.

Students with Disabilities

Accommodations for students with disabilities are determined and approved by Disability Access Services (DAS). If you, as a student, believe you are eligible for accommodations but have not obtained approval please contact DAS immediately at 541-737-4098 or at http://ds.oregonstate.edu. DAS notifies students and faculty members of approved academic accommodations and coordinates implementation of those accommodations. While not required, students and faculty members are encouraged to discuss details of the implementation of individual accommodations.

Other Resources and Links

Schedule (subject to change)

When Topics Readings Due dates and assignments
Week 1 (4/2-...)
  • M: Introduction
    Design, PRICPE. Project introductions by Jed Irvine, Todd Shechter, Olivia Hinton
  • W: Class 3:00-3:50 only. Project introductions by Chris Mendez, Kim Kaaz, Doshna Umma Reddy, Tim Burnett
  • Interaction design and process: Read Rogers handout (retrieve from Canvas): 1.6.1 (goals) and 1.6.3 (affordances).
  • Designing: Read Johnson book: Forward & Intro (pp. ix-xvi).
  • Designing: Read Rogers handout (Canvas): 9.3.top - 9.3.1.
  • T and T: #4 (Uncomprehended element), #9 (Feedback failure)
  • HW #1 due F 4/6, 12:00 noon, on TEACH.
  • Week 2 (4/9-...)
  • M: Teams and Projects, Re-designing with PRICPE (Walmart's online grocery: enter zipcode 01085).
    Also project introductions by Pam Van Londen, Jillian Coleman, Beatrice Moissinac, Nicholas Nelson, Abhijeet Agnihotri
  • W: Analytical Evaluation and Personas
  • Analytical Evaluation (HE, CW, GOMS): Read Rogers handout 15.1-15.2 (pp 505-518) and part of 15.4 (pp 521-524). Retrieve from Canvas.
  • Analytical Evaluation: Read GenderMag-Heuristics document (retrieve from Canvas).
  • T and T: #1 (Invisible element), #2 (Effectively invisible element).
    Week 3 (4/16...) Learning about your users
  • Data gathering about users: Read Rogers handout (Canvas): 7-7.4, 7.6-7.6.1.
  • Human Perception: From Johnson book, start reading ch 1-4 (pp. 1-48)
  • Project 1 (introduction) due M 4/16, 11:30pm on TEACH
  • HW #2 (Human subjects ethics) due Thursday, 11:30 pm on TEACH
  • Week 4 (4/23...)
  • Monday: groups work together on group part of HE assignment.
  • Wednesday: no class this day
  • Human Perception: From Johnson book, finish reading ch 1-4 (pp. 1-48)
  • T and T: #20 (Data loss), #25 (Ambiguous home)
  • Project 2 Individual part: Individual Heuristic Evaluations: every individual bring yours to class Monday 4/23, hardcopy AND electronic, and also hand in on TEACH by 11:30pm Sunday 4/22.
  • Project 2 Team part: Group Heuristic Evaluations due Wed 4/25: one per team, turn in on TEACH by 11:30pm Wednesday.
  • Week 5 (4/30-...) Human capabilities: Memory and Perception
  • TBA
    Week 6 (5/7-...) TBA TBA TBA
    Week 7 (5/14-...)
  • Monday: midterm exam
  • Wednesday: no class
    Week 8 (5/21...) TBA TBA TBA
    Week 9 (5/28...) Class does not meet these days TBA TBA
    Week 10 (6/4...) M: Final presentations by:
  • Open, Open, Open, Open, Open, Open
  • W: Final presentations by:
  • Open, Open, Open, Open, Open
  • No readings this week.
  • Final project write-up due Friday June 8 by 11:30pm.
  • Final exam (Thursday, 6/14, 6:00 pm, in our regular classroom).    
  • Comprehensive final exam is on Thursday, 6/14, 6:00 pm, in our regular classroom.

  • Margaret M. Burnett
    Date of last update: April 18, 2018