CPSC 481 - Human Computer Interaction: Foundations and Principles

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  1.   1.  Brief Description
  2.   2.  Long Description
  3.   3.  Learning Objectives
  4.   4.  Evaluation
  5.   5.  Course Materials

1.  Brief Description

This course provides an introduction to the process of designing and creating tools or artifacts for direct human use.

2.  Long Description

Computing technology is rapidly becoming ubiquitous and embedded in our everyday lives, owing in large part to increasing miniaturization and exponential growth in processing power. This changes everything. What your grandfather learned about UI design no longer applies -- computers are no longer just things we sit in front of; instead, computation appears in all sorts of devices--our mobile phones, tablets, even in our homes! Today, we think of computation as enabling experiences. The focus of this class is learning how to design user experiences within the context of computation.

This means that we will need to investigate and understand how people currently use technology, and think about how they might be able to use new technologies. From here, we try to design technologies to suit the kinds of user experiences they want to have. This process of designing user experiences is a creative one, leveraging both your technical skills, and your decision making skills. You will learn to apply several state-of-the-art methods, aimed to help hone your programming, critical thinking and communication skills. Because this process always involves making trade-offs, the methods you learn will help you to be more creative, as well as to make informed decisions about which trade-offs to make.

NOTE: This is an intense course with a lot of work.

3.  Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, you should:

  • Understand and practice several methods for designing effective interfaces
  • Understand how to ground designs in reality
  • Understand how to evaluate interface quality
  • Have sufficient background to apply your training: (a) in industry, or (b) in research

To do this, you will get:

  • Hands-on experience applying multiple methods for interface design and evaluation

4.  Evaluation

  • Class participation: 10%
  • Assignments: 10%
  • Project: 40%
  • Mid-term: 15%
  • Final: 25%

5.  Course Materials