636 – Human–Computer Interaction - HS 2016

Human–Computer Interaction

Course description

Think of a piece of software that was difficult to use. Is it hard for only you, or is it hard for everyone to use? How would you fix it? How could you be sure that the fix is effective? And how can we prevent bad design in the first place?

The field of human–computer interaction (HCI) addresses these questions. This course will introduce students to principles and processes for designing successful interactive systems which enable users to effectively complete their tasks while being easy and fun to use. The following topics are discussed:

  • Design thinking methods: defining design problems, understanding users' needs, generating ideas, prototyping, and evaluation
  • Human perception, cognition, and motor characteristics such as reaction time and memory capacity
  • Design principles
  • Models and architecture of interactive systems


  • Assignments: 20%
  • Project: 30%
  • Final exam: 50%

To be eligible to attend the final exam, students must complete at least 80% of online quizzes on OLAT.


(subject to adjustments as appropriate)
Tuesday Wednesday Homework
Week 1 Human-centered design Interviewing
• Reading assignment + quiz: Norman (2013) (p. 217–239)
• Pre-assigment: Interviewing: "How do students choose courses?"
Week 2 Affinity diagramming Prototyping
Week 3 Psychology for design 1 Psychology for design 2
Week 4 Psychology for design 3 Design principles 1
Week 5 Design principles 2 Design principles 3
(no lecture) (no lecture)
Week 6 Designing Experiments 1 Designing Experiments 2
Week 7 Statistical analysis 1 Statistical analysis 2
Week 8 Statistical analysis 3 (Project consultation)
Week 9 (Project consultation) Pointing
Week 10 Text input (Project consultation)
Week 11 (Project consultation) Gestural interaction
Week 12 Project presentation 1 Project presentation 2
Week 13 History and vision Frontiers of HCI