This is an OLD version of the course. Please go to the 2011 page instead!

Schedule and Readings

  • The schedule and assignments are tentative and subject to change. Check back here often!
  • We are using the Tepper calendar; note that the start and end dates for classes is somewhat different from the rest of the university.
  • The readings are due on the date noted.
  • Required text: (note: you will be given a free copy of this book; see note about this new text!):
    • Hartson-Pyla text: H. Rex Hartson and Pardha S. Pyla, The UX Book: Ensuring a Quality User Experience, to be published by Morgan Kaufmann / Elsevier in 2011.
  • Optional texts: (none of the readings from these is required, but these are excellent to have if you are interested in this topic)
    • CD Text = Beyer, H. and Holtzblatt, K., Contextual Design
    • Nielsen Text = Jakob Nielsen. "Usability Engineering". Boston: Academic Press, Inc. 1993. ISBN 0-12-518406-9 (paperback) or ISBN 0-12-518405-0 (hardcover).
    • Norman book = Donald A. Norman, "The Design of Everyday Things". New edition: Basic Books, 2002, ISDN 0-465-06710-7
  • PowerPoint slides will be posted at least a day before the lecture.
  • VPN Note: Access to the ACM Digital Library (for the papers and guest lectures) is restricted to only those on a CMU machine. Use VPN if you are at home, or you can get a password from the instructor. For VPN, here are the instructions for SCS, or here are the general CMU instructions. (The easiest way to VPN is to go to:, enter your andrew username and password, and then enter the URL of this page again and you should be able to access all the content below).
  • The course is being videotaped, and videos of the lectures will be posted here the day following the lecture. Here is the table of contents of all CourseCast videos for the course.
  • The course syllabus is available here, and the full list of homeworks is available here.

October 20th, 2010

1. Why is UI Design Important and Why Is It Difficult?

PowerPoint slides for Lecture 1.
CourseCast video of lecture.

Required Readings:

  • Hartson-Pyla text: Chapter 1
  • Brad A. Myers. "Challenges of HCI Design and Implementation," ACM Interactions. vol. 1, no. 1. January, 1994. pp. 73-83. PDF arrow
Recommended Readings:
  • CD Text, Chapter 1
  • Nielsen Text: Chapters 1, 2
Fill out initial questionnaire in class

October 25th, 2010

2. Discovering what people can't tell you: Contextual Inquiry and Design Methodology

PowerPoint slides for Lecture 2.
CourseCast video of lecture.

Required Readings:

  • Hartson-Pyla text: Chapter 3
Recommended Readings:
  • CD Text, Chapters 5-7
  • Karen Cross, Adrienne Warmack, and Brad Myers. "Lessons Learned: Using Contextual Inquiry Analysis to Improve PDA Control of Presentations". Unpublished. PDF arrow
Do Homework 0 in class.
Start on Homework 1.

October 27th, 2010

3. Contextual Analysis/Design Methodology, cont.

PowerPoint slides for Lecture 3.
CourseCast video of lecture.

Movie (88.5 MB) for in-class CI demonstration (mpeg file)
Powerpoint slides of main points in the video

Required Readings:

  • Hartson-Pyla text: Chapters 6
Recommended Readings:
  • Hartson-Pyla text: Chapter 15
  • CD Text, chapters 8-10
November 1st, 2010

4. From Analysis to Design: Sketching and Prototyping

PowerPoint slides for Lecture 4.
CourseCast video of lecture.

Required Readings:

  • Hartson-Pyla text: Chapters 5,7
  • Bill Buxton, "What Sketches (and Prototypes) Are and Are Not", in CHI 2006 One-Day Workshop on "Sketching" Nurturing Creativity: Commonalities in Art, Design, Engineering and Research, Sunday, April 23, 2006, Montreal, Canada. 2 pages. Local PDF arrow
Recommended Readings:
  • Norman book (all chapters)
  • Nielsen's text, Chapter 4
  • Marc Rettig, "Prototyping for tiny fingers", Communications of the ACM, Volume 37 , Issue 4 (April 1994), Pages: 21 - 27. Unpublished. PDF arrow
  • Brad Myers, Sun Young Park, Yoko Nakano, Greg Mueller, Andrew Ko, "How Designers Design and Prototype Interactive Behaviors". 2008 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, VL/HCC'08. Sept 15-18, 2008, Herrsching am Ammersee, Germany. pp. 177-184. Local PDF arrow (See also the original survey.)
  • Bill Buxton, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, videotape of his talk on "Sketching and Experience Design" at the November 2006 BostonCHI meeting held at Sun Microsystems in Burlington, MA. Video (1 hr, 26 min) arrow
  • Bill Buxton, Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design. San Francisco, CA, Morgan Kaufmann. 2007. Amazon arrow
Turn in Homework 1.
Start on Homework 2.

November 3rd, 2010

5. How to design a good user study

PowerPoint slides for Lecture 5.
CourseCast video of lecture.

Required Readings:

Recommended Readings:
  • Hartson-Pyla text: Chapters 13, 14
  • Nielsen's text: Chapters 6, 7
  • CD Text: Chapters 17-20
  • Kathleen Gomoll, "Some Techniques for Observing Users," From The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design, Brenda Laurel, ed. New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., 1992. pp. 85- 90. PDF arrow
November 8th, 2010

6. Usability Engineering Process

PowerPoint slides for Lecture 6.
CourseCast video of lecture.

Required Readings:

  • Hartson-Pyla text: Chapters 2, 16
Recommended Readings:
  • Hartson-Pyla text: Chapters 8, 20, 21
  • Nielsen's text: Chapters 6, 7
  • CD Text: Chapters 2-4
  • John D. Gould and Clayton Lewis. "Designing for usability: key principles and what designers think," Communications of the ACM. Volume 28 , Issue 3 (March 1985), pp. 300 - 311. ACM DL PDF arrow
  • Budwig, M., Jeong, S. and Kelkar, K. When user experience met agile: a case study. In Proceedings of CHI'2009: The 27th international conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (Boston, MA, USA, 2009). ACM, 3075-3084. ACM DL PDF arrow
Turn in Homework 2.
Start on Homework 3.

November 10th, 2010

7. Implementing a Wireframe Prototype: Overview of Using PowerPoint, Flash Catalyst, html, Microsoft Sketchflow/Expression Blend, etc.

PowerPoint slides for Lecture 7.
CourseCast video of lecture.

Required Readings:

  • Hartson-Pyla text: Chapters 9
November 15th, 2010

8. Evaluation using Heuristic Analysis

PowerPoint slides for Lecture 8.
CourseCast video of lecture.

Required Readings:

Recommended Readings: Turn in Homework 3.
Start on Homework 4.

November 17th, 2010

9. Graphic and Interaction Design for User Interfaces

PDF of slides for Lecture 9 (updated).
CourseCast video of lecture.

Required Readings:

  • Hartson-Pyla text: Chapter 17
Guest Lecture:
John Zimmerman (Guest Lecturer) An interface is the link between a user and a product that communicates how a product will be used and creates an experience for the people who will use it. Interaction design is the process of creating and defining product behavior, encompassing both usability and aesthetic dimensions of an artifact, service, or environment.

In this lecture, we will explore issues that pertain to the design of interfaces. Students will become proficient in interface and interaction design fundamentals as applied to visual interfaces, including use of design systems, typography, color, scale, ordering, hierarchy, and repetition. In understand the design process for creating interface designs.

November 22nd, 2010

10. Designing for the Web

PowerPoint slides for Lecture 10.
CourseCast video of lecture.

Required Readings:

Recommended Readings:
  • Nielsen Text: Chapters 11-16
Turn in Homework 4.
Start on Homework 5.

November 24th, 2010

(No class - University Holiday: Thanksgiving)

November 29th, 2010

11. International and Handheld User Interfaces

PowerPoint slides for Lecture 11.
CourseCast video of lecture.

Required Readings: Recommended Readings:
  • Nielsen Text: Chapter 9
Turn in Homework 5.
Start on Homework 6.

December 1st, 2010
12. Other HCI Methods: Scenarios, Essential Use Cases, Card Sorting, Keystroke Model, "Body Storming", "Speed Dating", etc.

PowerPoint slides for Lecture 12.
CourseCast video of lecture.

Required Readings:

  • Hartson-Pyla text: 6.6.4, 7.6.10,
Recommended Readings:
  • Nielsen Text: Chapter 7
  • Bill Gaver, Tony Dunne, & E Pacenti, Design: Cultural Probes, ACM Interactions. vol. 6, no. 1, 1999, pp. 21-29. ACM DL PDF arrow
  • John, B. E. (2003) "Information processing and skilled behavior." Chapter 4 In J. M. Carroll, (Ed.), Toward a multidisciplinary science of human computer interaction. Morgan Kaufman. pp. 55-101. Local CMU-only copyarrow (GOMS, KLM)
  • Marion Buchenau and Jane Fulton Suri. 2000. "Experience prototyping." In Proceedings of the 3rd conference on Designing interactive systems: processes, practices, methods, and techniques (DIS '00), pp. 424-433.  ACM DL PDF arrow (Bodystorming)
  • Scott Davidoff, Min Kyung Lee, Anind K. Dey, and John Zimmerman. 2007. Rapidly exploring application design through speed dating. In Proceedings of the 9th international conference on Ubiquitous computing (UbiComp '07), Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, 429-446. pdfarrow
  • Clayton Lewis and John Rieman, "4.1. Cognitive Walkthroughs", in Task-Centered User Interface Design; A Practical Introduction (on-line book), 1994. htmlarrow
  • T. R. G. Green and M. Petre. Usability analysis of visual programming environments: A ‘cognitive dimensions’ framework. Journal of Visual Languages and Computing, 7:131-174, 1996. pdfarrow
Course Evaluation day. Please fill out all three:
December 6th, 2010
13: Guest lecture: Interaction Design: Perspective from a local professional

CourseCast video of lecture.

Turn in Homework 6.
December 8th, 2010
14: Novel interaction techniques and interfaces for new devices.

PowerPoint slides for Lecture 14.
CourseCast video of lecture.

(last day of class)

Note: by popular vote, the material in this lecture will not be included in the final exam.

December 13th, 2010

This class will have a final exam. It will be given two times, to accommodate both the "normal" and the Tepper calendars. However, note that the last two lectures are after the official end of classes for "normal" courses so you don't want to leave before Thurs, Dec. 9, 2010.

See information about the final.

Exam Schedule:
  • Thursday, Dec 9, 2010, 1:30pm-4:30pm in Scaife Hall 125
  • Monday, Dec 13, 2010, 1:30pm-4:30pm in Tepper, Room 146