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.
Please note: There is no zoom version, as this is not a hybrid class. If attending class in person is problematic for you, one of the e-campus sections of CS352 will be a better fit for you.
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)
Problematic contributions to team projects: Up to one letter grade adjustment to the course grade (determined at the very end of the term).
Details: The team receives one grade for every project handin. However, this will change if team members do not contribute relatively equally to the effort. If your team contributions warrant adjustments to your course grade, these adjustments will happen at the very end of the term. In past terms, a few students' course grades have changed by as much as a whole letter grade from these adjustments, so it's wise to keep up with your contributions to your team's efforts throughout the term.
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 free as an on-line book from the OSU Library.)
Required: Trap Cards Deck. Author: Medlock. Available at OSU Bookstore. (You may have to ask for this, since they tend to store them behind the desk.) Bring to class every day.
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. You might want to 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. On 3-hour reserve at the OSU library.
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.
What to bring to class
Laptops will be needed for some activities, but if bringing a laptop is problematic, you can take notes on paper/phone and then catch up on these later.
Paper and something to write with will be needed for some activities. Please always bring some.
Bring your Tenets & Traps cards.
About your phone: If you feel you must keep reading/texting your phone's notifications, please sit in the back, as this is distracting to others. 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