This class will give you hands-on experience with usability evaluation and
user-centered design. In this class you will not learn how to implement
user interfaces, but rather how to design these based on the needs of
users, which you will determine,
and learn how to evaluate your designs
rigorously. This is a class for those who wish to know more about
usability, human-computer interaction, the psychological aspects of
computing, evaluation, and/or experimentation.
There will be no programming. However, a significant portion of your grade
will be based on a team project, where you will
propose, prototype (using a special prototyping tool), and evaluate your own solutions.
At the completion of this course, students will be able to:
Describe the human centered design process and usability engineering process and their roles in system design and development.
Discuss usability design guidelines, their foundations, assumptions,advantages, and weaknesses.
Describe basics of human subjects research.
Complete a basic human subjects research certification form.
Design a user interface based on analysis of human needs and prepare a prototype system.
Assess user interfaces using different usability engineering techniques.
Make an oral presentation that justifies design decisions.
How the course will be conducted, method of instruction
This class is meant to be a hand-on course. This means that 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.
You are responsible for having done the reading before attending class
that day and be ready to participate in the discussion. To ensure that
everyone keeps up with the reading, there will be a short quiz almost every
week. 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.
Formative research into your users and their tasks: 20%
Prototype: 35% (10% as of first design gallery, 25% at end)
Evaluation plan: 10%
Presentation: (this is part of prototype score)
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.
Required:Designing with the Mind in Mind, 2nd Edition: Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Guidelines, 2014,
Author: Jeff Johnson
Publishers: Morgan Kaufmann
(Available at OSU bookstore. Also available as an on-line book from the OSU Library.)
We also have two small optional texts. The first is a very practical guide to evaluating user interfaces to learn users' needs & problems. The second is a very practical guide to designing a simple, usable interface. I suggest that you buy one or the other (your choice), and trade them around among your team members as your work shifts back and forth between evaluation and design:
Optional:Rocket Surgery Made Easy by S. Krug, 2010. (Available at the OSU bookstore. Also on 3-hour reserve at the OSU library. The reserve number is VR 197.) ISBN/SKU 978-0-321-65729-9.
We will also have selected readings from other sources, but you don't have to buy those.
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:
Your classmates come from a variety of cultural, economic, and educational backgrounds. Something that is obvious to you may not be obvious to them, and vice versa.
Your classmates are human beings with intelligence and emotions. This applies even when one or the other of you is posting anonymously. Rudeness and disrespect are unprofessional, and have no place in this course or in your career.
Your classmates are here to learn. They have the right to pursue their education without being distracted by others' disruptive behavior, or made uncomfortable by inappropriate jokes or unwanted sexual interest.
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
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
Getting your low fidelity parts into Mockups: to do this, just scan them in from your drawings, then add "shape" controls on top of the buttons, links, etc. that you have drawn on there, make them 25% opacity so that you can see the drawing beneath them, and make them "live" by linking the covering shapes to the right next screen.)
A very good book: The design of everyday things, by Donald Norman.
What do HCI researchers work on? Here is the Advance Program for ACM's 2012 CHI conference, which is the primary conference in HCI. There are several papers and events with OSU authors on the program. :-)
Monday: in-class HW #4 Part 2: Heuristic Evaluation, group portion (different teams than current ones - assigned in class). Turn in hardcopy at end of class.
You must attend class this day to get credit for HW#4.
Midterm Wednesday. You can bring two 3x5 index cards. Covers readings/lectures thru (including) Monday 2/12. Here is a sample.
(No quiz this week)
Week 7 (2/19-...)
Foundations and Strategies: Information Foraging Theory.
Prototyping with Balsamiq's Mockups prototyping system.