17-770/46-863: Introduction to Human Computer Interaction for Technology Executives*

NOTE: This is the OLD version of the course. Please see the current year's version (Fall, 2008).

*[Taught for Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business, MBA Track on Technology Leadership which is why the "for Technology Executives" is in the title, but this course is appropriate for anyone with some programming experience who wants a quick introduction to HCI.]
[Tepper students should register for 46-863; all others should register for ISRI course number 17-770]

Time: Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30AM - 11:50AM
Room: NSH 1305
Dates: Mini-1, Fall, 2006 (August 29 - Oct 12)

Open to graduate students from all departments who have sufficient computing background (see the prerequisites).
May be available to undergraduates in SCS and Information Systems with permission of the instructor.
Enrollment limited to 30.
[Does not count in the degree programs of the Human Computer Interaction Institute.]

6 units (1 mini course)

Instructor: Professor Brad Myers
Human Computer Interaction Institute

Office: Newell-Simon Hall (NSH) 3517
Phone: x8-5150
E-mail: bam@cs.cmu.edu
WWW: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~bam

TA: Andrew ("Andy") Ko
E-mail:  ajko @ cmu.edu
WWW: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~ajko/
Office hours: Mondays at 11 am in the NSH atrium near the couches

You are looking at the course web page

The URL is: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~bam/uicourse/17770/index.html

The Hub's page for this course.

Schedule and Readings

See the schedule of all lecture material, readings, homework and the exam.

The homeworks are described on a different page.

Course Abstract

Human computer interaction (HCI) is an interdisciplinary field in which computer scientists, engineers, psychologists, social scientists, and design professionals play important roles. The goal of this field is to solve real problems in the design and use of technology, making computer-based systems easier to use and more effective for people and organizations. Ease of use and effectiveness are critical to the success of any systems that interact with people, including software systems, home, office and factory appliances, and web applications.

This course provides an overview and introduction to the field of human-computer interaction, with a focus on how it applies to managers, technology executives, and others who will work with HCI professionals. Particular emphasis will be placed on what HCI methods and HCI-trained specialists can bring to design and development teams. The course will introduce students to tools and techniques for creating or improving user interfaces, such as Contextual Inquiry, Heuristic Analysis, and Think-Aloud User Testing. Students at the end of the course will have learned some useful techniques and an understanding of systematic procedures for creating usable and useful designs and systems.


Beyer, H. and Holtzblatt, K., Contextual Design: Defining Custom-Centered Systems. 1998, San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Inc. ISBN: 1-55860-411-1 (paperback)

Jakob Nielsen. Usability Engineering. Morgan Kaufmann, San Francisco, 1994. ISBN 0-12-518406-9 (paperback) or ISBN 0-12-518405-0 (hardcover)

Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things. Basic Books; 1st Basic edition (September 2002), ISBN: 0-465-06710-7 (paperback) [updated from the original 1988 hardcover version]

Useful Resources

Resources for Visual Basic



However, significant experience with programming is expected. This might be defined as two serious programming courses worth. Homeworks will involve implementing small to medium size programs quickly and evaluating them with real users. All programming will probably be in Visual Basic .Net. No background in HCI is expected.




Grades will be based on 6 assignments and a 3-hour final exam. All assignments will be individual (not group). See the homeworks overview page.

Assignment Percent of Final Grade
Homework 0 --
Homework 1 10%
Homework 2 10%
Homework 3 10%
Homework 4 10%
Homework 5 10%
Homework 6 10%
In class participation 10%
Final Exam 30%