05-863/08-763/46-863: Introduction to Human Computer Interaction for Technology Executives* in Fall 2008
(formerly 17-770, formerly 08-766)

NOTE: This is an OLD version of the course. Please see the current year's version (Fall, 2010).

*[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 ISR course number 08-766 or HCII course number 05-863]

Time: Tuesday+Thursdays 3:30pm to 4:50pm
(But classes will be videotaped, so you can take the course even if you have another course at the same time. We have confirmed with the Hub that this is OK.)
Room: NSH-1305
Dates: Mini-2, Fall, 2008 (Oct 23, 2008 - Dec 9, 2008)

Open to graduate students from all departments who have sufficient computing background (see the prerequisites).
Required course in the Technology Leadership MBA Track.
Approved as an elective in INI, MSE, IS, and other Master's programs.
May be available to undergraduates in SCS and Information Systems with permission of the instructor.
Enrollment limited to 60.
[This course is not appropriate for students 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

TAs: Allison Gallant
E-mail: agallant@andrew.cmu.edu
WWW: http://www.allisongallant.com/
New Office hour: Mondays,
           12noon 1pm in NSH Atrium
Old Office hour: Wednesdays,
           12noon 1pm in NSH Atrium
Devin Blais
E-mail: dblais@andrew.cmu.edu
WWW: http://devinblais.com/
Office hour: (Tentatively) Sundays,
           1pm 2pm in NSH Atrium

No longer a TA for this course:
Jackie Weber
E-mail: jweber1@andrew.cmu.edu
WWW: http://jackieweber.net
Office hour: (Tentatively) Mondays,
           2pm 3pm in NSH Atrium

(for course add-drop problems)
HCII - 05-863 ISR - 08-763 Tepper - 46-863
Nicole Willis
nicolewi @ cs.cmu.edu
Linda Francona
laf20 @ cs.cmu.edu
Vickie Motz
vmotz @ andrew.cmu.edu

You are looking at the course web page

The URL is: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~bam/uicourse/08763fall08/index.html

The Hub's page for 05-863 and 08-763 and 46-863.

This course is also on Blackboard

Tepper's page for the technology leadership track

Schedule and Readings

See the schedule of all lecture material, readings, homework and the exam. Includes the list of videos of the lectures available from Coursecast

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.

Some Evaluation Comments from Last Year (Fall 2007)

(See complete evaluations on onlinecourseevaluations.com).

"The class was very interesting. I got to know more about how to design systems taking the user into consideration and how to design user interfaces that would give the user a better experience while using the system."

"Very good introduction to HCI."

"Course materials are good and the instructor is also good."



Beyer, H. and Holtzblatt, K., Contextual Design: Defining Customer-Centered Systems. 1998, San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Inc. ISBN: 1-55860-411-1 (paperback). Author's site; or Amazon

Jakob Nielsen. Usability Engineering. Morgan Kaufmann, San Francisco, 1994. ISBN 0-12-518406-9 (paperback) [updated from the the older hardcover: ISBN 0-12-518405-0]. Author's site; or Amazon


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]. Author's site; or Amazon

Useful Resources

Resources for Visual Basic


None. However, some experience with programming is expected. This might be defined as one programming course. Two homeworks will involve implementing small programs quickly and evaluating them with real users. All programming will probably be in Visual Basic .Net, and the students are expected to be able to write these programs without too much trouble and without much help from the professor or TAs.

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 12%
Homework 2 12%
Homework 3 12%
Homework 4 12%
Homework 5 12%
Homework 6 10%
Final Exam 30%