Lecture: 3 hours
Discussion: 1 hour

Catalog Description:
Introduction to concepts and practice of modern human-computer interaction design


Credit restrictions, cross listings: None

Summary of course contents

Students will learn how to evaluate quality of interface and interactive system design, and construct good ones, by using the design principles in human-computer interaction. Students will engage in generating and identifying valuable design ideas by using a systematic process. Students will learn about the notion and key techniques for fast-prototyping and using low-fidelity prototypes to support communication in and out of a design team Going through the human-computer interaction design principles and design process will help students understand the challenges underlying interactive technologies, which further motivate topics of advanced human-computer interaction research.
Topics will include:
(1) Concepts and principles of interaction design
(2) Design thinking process
(3) Cognitive foundation
(4) Needfinding and requirement analysis
(5) Emotional interaction
(6) Brainstorming activity
(7) Persuasive design and behavioral change technologies
(8) Interface types
(9) Prototyping
(10) User evaluation
(11) Design heuristics
(12) Design criticism and iteration
Specific learning goals of this course include:
(1) being able to use and discuss the key concepts of human-computer interaction
(2) being able to engage in the process of user-centered design activities for the development of user interfaces and interactive systems
(3) being able to critically discuss and evaluate the usability and usefulness of current technologies and new prototypes
(4) knowing the range of tools and methods for understanding users and identifying user needs
(5) possessing the awareness of advanced HCI research topics

Illustrative reading

Computer Usage:

ABET Category Content:
Engineering Science: 4 units
Engineering Design: 0 unit


Science & Engineering


Introduction to HCI takes the angle of human-centered computing, which aims to teach students knowledge and skills essential to the building of computing systems and applications that are usable and useful. To achieve the goal of usability and usefulness, over years HCI has evolved to adopt an interdisciplinary approach that naturally draws theories, concepts, methods and techniques from multiple disciplines, including Engineering, Design, Behavioral and Social Sciences.
We tend to have some potential overlap with Intro to Engineering Design (in Engineering) and UI/UX Workshop (in Design) in terms of project-based learning and the use of systematic design processes to guide students through the course project. What’s unique in HCI is the focus on the building and evaluation of usable and useful Computing Technologies and Systems situated in various application contexts, while the emphasis on shaping computing artifacts is not necessarily the focus of general Engineering Design or UI/UX studio courses offered in other departments.
HCI can also have some potential overlap with a wide range of behavioral and social sciences, including Communication, Science and Technology Studies, Management, Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology etc. A greater overlap or shared interest may happen at more advanced studies and research given the interdisciplinary nature of HCI. As for this undergraduate Intro to HCI course, the overlap tends to be limited to the use of qualitative and quantitative research methods for studying users’ needs and their interactions with systems. While these methods are already commonly shared by many basic and applied areas, like other disciplines, HCI has also adapted and specialized these methods to the specific contexts of human-computer interaction.
In addition to all the differences between HCI and other potentially overlapping areas/courses mentioned above, it’s important to note that only this Intro to HCI course follows the curricular recommendations by ACM SIGCHI closely, The instructor is also an active participant and core member of the annual conference of ACM SIGCHI which ensures that the course will stay well-connected and updated according to the state of art of HCI education and research.