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Class Meeting

WF, 12:30 - 1:45 pm
Room 1109 Siebel Center


Brian P. Bailey
Skype: brian.p.bailey
Phone: 217-333-6106
Location: 3108 Siebel
Office hour: Friday 2:00-3:00PM CST

Teaching Assistant(s)

Anbang Xu
Skype: i2csta_cs465
Phone: 217-244-7116
Location: 3107 Siebel
Office hour: Thursday 7:30-8:30PM CST

Roshanak Zilouchian
Phone: 217-244-7116
Location: 3107 Siebel
Office hour: Thursday 4:00-5:00PM CST

Course Description

In this course, you will learn fundamental principles about how to design, implement, and evaluate a user interface for an interactive application. Topics will include human capabilities and limitations, user and task analysis, low- and high-fidelity prototyping, evaluation techniques, event-driven programming, UI toolkits, team and communication skills, and a few research topics. You will apply theoretical concepts taught during lecture to a semester-long interface design project of your own choosing. This course is one of many courses on campus that cover user interface design, e.g., see LIS 220, LIS 450II, and PSY 258. What distinguishes this course is an emphasis on developing and evaluating your own user interface. The class format is lecture, individual and group activities, and discussion. Class attendance and participation is expected. All handouts and on-line materials will appear on the course web page. Please check it regularly.

All students must complete a team design project. The design project involves the design and evaluation of an interactive system. Students must work in teams (2-4 students) on the project. Teams will need to meet outside of class, as well as in class, to complete the project.  In each team, there may be at most one person who is not a CS major. Students are not allowed to work individually as a team of one. The class project will require a significant time commitment and will make up a substantial part of your final grade. Due to the nature of the design projects (e.g. use of paper prototyping), it may be best for online students to team with other online students.

Policy on Classroom Use of Technology

The use of technology for browsing the Web, exchanging e-mail, sending text messages, or other activities not related to the course is prohibited during lecture. If observed, you will be asked to leave the class. It is distracting for those sitting around you and for the instructor.

Course Computing

All students enrolled in the course have a Computer Science Instructional Lab (CSIL) account. The labs are located in DCL and Siebel.


The course is video recorded and lecture videos are available for online graduate students. Lecture videos can be accessed at Online students will participate in all aspects of the course and accommodations for assignments will be made as needed. 

NOTE: On-campus students are typically able to access the lecture videos. The best use of these videos is for review or to substitute for a lecture that is occasionally missed due to illness or job interview. You should not use the videos as a replacement for attending class. It may be tempting, but my experience is that students who miss class without reason rarely end up watching the lecture videos and as a consequence perform poorly in the course.

Prerequisites and Necessary Background

Students are expected to have experience with data structures and algorithms as well as an understanding of computer hardware and software organization. CS 225 (CS majors) or CS 300 (non CS majors) provide this background and should generally be taken before this course. Students should have competence programming in modern languages and should have the ability to learn a new language and programming tools quickly.

A limited number of students without this background may be in this course because of strengths in other related areas (e.g., psychology, human factors or ergonomics). These students will participate in projects (one per group) and will be evaluated on all aspects of the course.


The course will require substantial reading and a sustained effort on the design projects. Because of the integrated group activity in the course, students whose work or personal lives would lead them to miss more than one consecutive week of class during the semester, or more than two weeks total, should not enroll in the course.

Working in Groups

Working in project groups may be new for some of you, and can be challenging for all. Spend time at the start of the course learning about prospective group members. Remember that you will have a better group experience if your group is diverse in talents and interest, but united in goals and compatible in work habits. Here are some tips for working in groups. I will do my best to help your group resolve problems, but it typically works best if the group can resolve problems on their own. This will better prepare you to manage group work in "real life."

Course Newsgroup

The course will use a Usenet newsgroup named class.fa12.cs465. The name of the Usenet news server is TSG has documentation available for configuring common news readers. You will then need to access the new server using a news reader application such as Microsoft Outlook. You will need to configure your news reader software appropriately to access the news server. If you need assistance, I can probably help or point you to the appropriate person.


The required texts for this course are:

  • The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman. This book is an excellent introduction to the human side of user interfaces.
  • Task-Centered User Interface Design by Clayton Lewis and John Rieman. This text-only shareware book (available at is an efficient introduction to a very useful design process. We will use this book to guide us through the projects.
  • Human-computer Interaction by Dix, Finlay, Abowd, and Beale (3rd edition). This book is an excellent text covering a wide range of topics and issues related to UI design and HCI.

Assignments, Grading Policy, and Scholastic Conduct

Project, Homeworks, and Exams
There is a separate page (see project guide) describing the semester design project. The project will be completed in stages and the deliverables for each stage will be graded separately. Some intermediate deliverables will be individual assignments; most should be completed by the group. While projects will receive a single grade per group, group members may receive different grades if not all members contribute equally to the project. You should bring all project-related documents (e.g., user research documents, paper prototypes, etc.) to each class. Many class sessions will include project-related activities. There will be a midterm and final examination. In addition, several homework assignments will also be assigned throughout the course. There may be pop quizzes during the semester and, if given, will be counted as a homework grade.

Make-up Examinations
Do not miss an exam. A makeup exam will only be given in extraordinary circumstances or if you notify me well before the date of the exam.

Grading Policy
Grades will be computed as follows: Project (40%), Exams (40%), Homeworks (20%). The course is typically not graded on a curve. The nominal scale awards an A or A- for 90% and better, B+, B, or B- for 80% and better, etc. That scale may be adjusted to lower numerical cut-offs if warranted, but will not be raised.

Scholastic Conduct
Academic integrity is essential to a positive teaching and learning environment. All students enrolled in University courses are expected to complete coursework responsibilities with fairness and honesty. Failure to do so by seeking unfair advantage over others or misrepresenting someone else's work as your own can result in disciplinary action.

The University has the responsibility for maintaining academic integrity so as to protect the quality of education and research on our campus and to protect those who depend upon our integrity. It is the responsibility of the student to refrain from infractions of academic integrity, from conduct that may lead to suspicion of such infractions, and from conduct that aids others in such infractions. It is the responsibility of the faculty to establish and maintain an environment that supports academic integrity. An essential part of this faculty responsibility is the enforcement of existing standards of academic integrity; where faculty do not discourage and act upon violations of which they become aware, this has the effect of undermining respect for those standards. Faculty members should provide students with a clear statement of their expectations concerning academic integrity. For more information, please review the University Student Conduct Code for Academic Integrity

Incompletes are only awarded in very rare circumstances when an unforeseeable event causes a student who has completed all coursework to date to be unable to complete a small portion of the work remaining in the course. Because of the heavy groupwork nature of the course, incompletes will generally not be awarded except in cases of medical or family emergency. Making up an incomplete grade will usually require completing a new project the following year. An incomplete grade will require a written agreement on the work to be completed.

Special Circumstances
Students with special needs or circumstances should contact me as soon as possible to make any necessary arrangements. Because of the extensive group work involved in the class, please be sure to inform your group members should you plan to miss class or be out of town for a lengthy period. As with incompletes, extensions are only granted for unforeseeable events, but arrangements may be made to obtain assignment handouts in advance if needed. Other accommodations, including sign language interpreters, large-print exams and private exam rooms can be arranged in cooperation with disability services.

Graduate Credit
Graduate students enrolled in the 4 credit hour section of the course need to complete an additional assignment. For the assignment, you must write a 2-3 page critique of a recent research paper. The research paper must come from an ACM conference or journal related to user interface design or human-computer interaction such as ACM CHI, UIST, CSCW, or TOCHI. Papers can be found in the ACM digital library ( Critiques are due on or before the day of the final exam.

Getting Involved in HCI Research

If you are enthusiastic about designing novel interactions, there are many opportunities to participate in HCI research. For example, you may want to consider attending the ORCHID research group meetings, the 591 HCI seminar, or the 591 BPB reading seminar. You could also perform Independent Study to pursue projects of interest. Contact me for more information.

Course Schedule

Date Topic Readings Due Assignments Project Deliverables
Aug. 29 Course introduction   Pitches / Introductions Post project ideas, skills, and expectations to class newsgroup
Aug. 31 Perception and cognition Design of Everyday Things    
Sep. 5 Pitches / introductions (PPT)
  HW 1 assigned If you have visual aids for the pitches / introductions, submit them to your TA by 8:00 AM CST. We will go in alphabetical order by last name.
Sep. 7 Reaction time and motor skills HCI: Chapter 1    
Sep. 12 Principles of design TCUID: Ch. 1-2
HCI: Chapter 10
  Submit group information
Sep. 14 User and task analysis HCI: Chapter 15    
Sep. 19 Contextual inquiry and interviews HCI: Chapter 5
Submit project proposals (10%)
Sep. 21 Low-fidelity prototyping TCUID: Chapter 3; HCI: Chapter 6 HW1 Due
Submit user research plans (5%)
Sep. 26 GOMS & action analysis HCI: Chapter 12 HW 2 assigned  
Sep. 28 Cognitive walkthrough TCUID: Chapter 4   Submit user research reports and task descriptions (10%) 
Oct. 3 Project day I (bring project materials)      
Oct. 5 Heuristic evaluation (HE exercise) HCI: Chapter 9   Submit paper prototype and use scenarios (10%)  Meet with TA signup
Oct. 10 Project day II      
Oct. 12 User interface tools TCUID: Chapter 6 HW 2 due Submit user evaluation or walkthrough results (10%)
Oct. 17 Review Session (old midterm)      
Oct. 19 Midterm exam     Submit heuristic evaluation results (5%) 
Oct. 24 Windows and events (code) HCI: Chapter 8    
Oct. 26 UI controls and layout  (code) HCI: Chapter 3 HW 3 assigned Submit functional prototype plans (5%)
Oct. 31 Interaction design guidelines HCI: Chapter 7    
Nov. 2 Midterm review      
Nov. 7 Color and composition      
Nov. 9 Typography      
Nov. 14 Project Day III
Nov. 16 Empirical user studies
TCUID: Chapter 5
Submit functional prototype (10%) and user evaluation plans (5%) 
Meet with TA sign-up
Nov. 21 Thanksgiving Break
Nov. 23 Thanksgiving Break

Nov. 28 Statistics for design
(Excel example)
   HW3 due (extended)
Nov. 30 Design for collaboration
HCI: Chapter 13, 14, 19   Submit user evaluation results (10%)
Dec. 5 Consensus building in UI design  
Dec. 7 Mobile user experiences (Frank Bentley, Motorola Labs)
  Posters due
Submit posters (10%). An example poster in PPT format.  
Dec. 12
Open house
    Poster Presentations
Dec. 18
Final Exam 7-10PM Rooms 1109 and 1105   Submit project, essays, and evaluations (10%)
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