15-820 (B) Advanced Topics In HCI:
User Interface Software, Spring, 1996

Instructor: Brad Myers

Projects by Class Members

MW 9-10:20
Wean 5409

1 CS PhD Core Elective Unit
12 University Units

Approved for credit in CS PhD Program, and the INI, MSE and HCI MS programs

Attendance limited to 20


After a quick overview of the design of user interfaces, we will concentrate on how to implement the chosen design. Particular emphasis will be placed on user interface software tools, such as windowing systems, toolkits, interface builders, prototypers, and advanced user interface development environments. In particular, we will introduce MS Windows, OLE, Macintosh Toolbox, MacApp, OpenDoc, X/11, Motif, Visual Basic, and various research systems like InterViews, Amulet, and Fresco. Students will study and use "usability engineering" development methodologies and the state-of-the-art Amulet user interface development environment to implement a substantial interface as the final project.

The grades will be based on homeworks, tests, and a final project.

This is primarily a MS and PhD level course but some advanced undergrads may be admitted with permission of the instructor. No prior HCI experience is required. In addition to the regular work, the PhD students will investigate a major modern UI system and present it to the class. They will also participate throughout the term on an extra project to develop and test metrics and mechanisms for evaluating user interface tools.


  • 15-212 or considerable programming experience.
  • Experience with object-oriented programming and/or software engineering is desirable.
  • Prior experience with user interface design is not required.

  • Required text:

    Jakob Nielsen. Usability Engineering. Boston: Academic Press, Inc. 1993. ISBN 0-12-518405-0.

    Recommended texts:

    Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things. New York: Doubleday, 1988. ISBN 0-385-26774-6 (paperback) $12.95

    Brad A. Myers, Languages for Developing User Interfaces, Wellesley, MA (289 Linden Street, 02181, 617-235-2210): A.K. Peters, LTD, 1992. ISBN 0-86720-450-8. $49.95

    Tentative Topic List:

    Brad Myers (bam+@cs.cmu.edu), last updated 7-May-96