Fall 2012: ITI 230: Human-Computer Interaction

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Class meetings: Monday & Wednesday, 2:50-4:10pm, CI-304.
Instructor: Dr. Chirag Shah
Phone: (732) 932-7500 x8240
Office: Room 334 in SC&I
Office hours: Monday and Wednesday 2pm, or by appointment
Latest news/announcements
● 12/17/2012: Final grades have been submitted. That's all folks!
● 12/17/2012: Project stage#7 has been graded.
● 12/13/2012: Project stage#6 has been graded.
● 12/10/2012: Quiz-6 has been graded.

Course Description
This course studies how best to design the interface between human users and computer systems. Emphasis is placed on learning how to involve the user at different stages in the design process to improve the interface in a cost effective way. In particular, experience with iterative user-centered design, rapid prototyping and usability testing methods are developed. Students evaluate several computer interfaces as well as iteratively design and evaluate an interface prototype.

What is this Course About?
This course provides an overview about the user interface design. The course particularly concentrates on the user interface design for information retrieval systems, based on human information seeking behavior. The user interface lies between the user and the information system. It is designed to facilitate user-system interaction. Information searching is a highly complex and intelligent task. Given the explosion of digital information available for search, information retrieval systems need more effective, efficient, and natural user interfaces to support access to information.
The course will cover basic concepts in human-computer interaction, user interface design principles, task and user analysis, interface design methods, user interface evaluation and usability testing. Students will be expected to do readings, participate in discussion, and complete all assignments. They will extensively use web design tools (Dreamweaver/MS PowerPoint) to prototype user interfaces. For further information about the topics covered in this class, please see the class topics and schedule.
This is NOT a course on programming, app development, or Web page design. The course requires a basic understanding of information *systems* and hands-on skills with the use of prototyping tools.

01-198:113 OR 198:211 OR 04-547:202

Course Materials
  • Main text: UIDE: Stone, D., Jarrett, C., Woodroffe, M. & Minocha, S. (2005). User Interface Design and Evaluation. Morgan Kaufman. ISBN 978-0-12-088436-0. [companion website - contains most early chapters 1-10 in PDF] [You can get a used/new copy at Amazon for around $30-40]
  • Secondary text: SM: Studio 7.5. (2005) Designing for Small Screens (Required Reading Range, Ava books) (Paperback) by Studio 7.5 (Author) ISBN-10: 2940373078. [You can get a cheap used copy at Amazon for around $8-10]
  • ET: Norman, D. (1988). The Psychology of Everyday Things. New York : Basic Books. Also published under "The Design of Everyday Things" Call number TS171.4.N67 1988. [Chapters 1, 2, 3 & 4 - Full -text available on Sakai]. [You can get a cheap used copy at Amazon for under $5; and pay approx. $10 for a new copy. Full-text is also available on-line through questia.com]
  • UE: Rosson, M.B & Carroll, J.M. (2002). Usability engineering: scenario-based development of human-computer interaction. Morgan Kaufman. [QA76.9.H85R67 2002] Chapter 4/5 only - Full-text available [go to Resources on Sakai]. [If you happen to have access to books24x7.com this book is on-line]
  • UCD: Norman, D.A., Draper, S.W. (Editors) (1986). User centered system design : new perspectives on human-computer interaction. Mahwah , NJ ,: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. [Q76.9.I58U73 1986] Chapter 3 only - Full-text available [go to Resources on Sakai].
  • TCUID: Lewis, C. and Rieman, J. (1993) Task-Centered User Interface Design: A Practical Introduction. Entire book available on-line as shareware http://hcibib.org/tcuid/
  • HF: Vicente, K. (2003). The Human Factor: Revolutionizing the Way People Live With Technology. Knopf Canada . In particular, chapters 1,2,4 & 5. [303.4834 V632H]

Learning Objectives
By the end of the course, students should be able to:
  • Describe relevant HCI theories;
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of interface designs and provide suggestions of how to improve them;
  • Design interfaces to accommodate a wide range of users and skill levels;
  • Undertake iterative and inexpensive user-centered design methods;
  • Perform usability testing procedures;
  • Apply practical design methodology to develop an interface prototype, based on market research, task analysis and user input.

Instructional Methods
The course combines lectures, discussions, demonstrations, and assignments/projects to help students understand UI design principles, task and user analysis, design methods, and UI evaluation and usability testing techniques in developing interactive information systems. Students are encouraged to discuss, question, and clarify course content in class meetings.
The assignments are individual and group work. The assignments reflect a process and each one builds on the results of the previous. All focus on conceiving, developing, and testing an interface to information content, and will follow the material discussed in class.

  • Design requirements gathering
  • Identifying requirements using scenarios and task analysis
  • Conceptual design and prototyping
  • Design of mobile UIs
  • Designing and prototying mobile apps
  • Developing mobile apps
  • Information design
  • Layout and use of color
  • Evaluating user interfaces

Course Assessment
The content of this course is best understood by assimilating the lectures, by readings, by analyzing examples and by practice. The assessment for this course is based on a series of assignments that match the real-world process and on class participation. Assignments are of two types: smaller exercises and a multi-part course project. Descriptions of the assignments are available on the course website. There will also be exercises that are not graded - in all cases, you will later use the same techniques/methods as a part of your project. Class participation includes participation in discussions; reading descriptions. Course grades are assigned according to the following:
  • A   (91-100%): Outstanding and excellent work of the highest standard, mastery of the topic, evidence of clear thinking, good writing, work submitted on time, well organized and polished.
  • B+ (85-90%:) Very good work, substantially better than the minimum standard, very good knowledge of the topic; error free.
  • B  (80-84%): Good work, better than the minimum standard, good knowledge of the topic.
  • C+ (74-79%): Minimum standard work, adequate knowledge of the topic.
  • C   (70-73%): Work barely meeting the minimum standard, barely adequate knowledge of the topic; errors.
  • D   (65-69%)  Writing not up to standard, disorganized, many errors
  • F  (< 65%): Unacceptable, inadequate work
  • T: Temporary.
The final grade will be weighted based on the following: Assignments: 25%, Quizzes: 25%, Project: 45%, Class participation: 5%.

Course Policies
Announcements: Students are responsible for all announcements made in class, whether or not they are present when the announcements are made.
Late submissions: Deadlines are your responsibility. Late submissions may be accepted with a penalty. In the case of unforeseen emergencies (e.g. with a doctor's note), or with a prior permission from the instructor (obtained before the due date), late submissions will be graded normally. Late submissions will not receive any verbal or written feedback.
Communication: For emails, Rutgers accounts preferred. Always include your name (esp. if emailing from non-Rutgers account) and always include the course number (ITI 230) in subject line. If you don't, your email most likely will not be read. This course uses Sakai, primarily for submitting assignments and posting grades. Speaking of communication, please turn off or silent your cellphones and anything that can spontaneously make noise before entering the class. Please do not text nor view text messages during class. Please do not use computers to check e-mail, IM, surf the web, and other such activities. This is distracting for other students and there have been student complaints about this. If you are caught using a cell phone or other communication you will receive one warning, on the second occurrence you will be excused from classroom.
Attendance: Students are expected to attend all classes. If you expect to miss one or two classes, please use the University absence reporting website https://sims.rutgers.edu/ssra/ to indicate the date and reason for your absence. An email is automatically sent to me. Note that class participation accounts for 5% of the final grade (see the grading policy above). You are responsible for obtaining any material that might have been distributed in class the day when you were absent.

Academic Integrity
Academic integrity means, among other things:
  • Develop and write all of your own assignments.
  • Show in detail where the materials you use in your papers come from. Create citations whether you are paraphrasing authors or quoting them directly. Be sure always to show source and page number within the assignment and include a bibliography in the back.
  • Do not look over at the exams of others or use electronic equipment such as cell phones or MP3 players during exams.
  • Do not fabricate information or citations in your work.
  • Do not facilitate academic dishonesty for another student by allowing your own work to be submitted by others.
If you are doubtful about any issue related to plagiarism or scholastic dishonesty, please discuss it with the instructor. At the instructor's discretion, work presented in this course is subject to verification of originality, using www.turnitin.com.
The consequences of scholastic dishonesty are very serious. Rutgers' academic integrity policy is at this site. An overview of this policy may be found here. Multimedia presentations about academic integrity may be found here and here.

How to Succeed in this Course
  • Successful students will attend class regularly. If you know you must miss a class, please contact the instructor in advance, either by phone or email. You can obtain assignments or notes from a fellow classmate or from the instructor. In the case of a prolonged absence from class, you should schedule an appointment with the instructor so we can discuss the course material and concepts that you missed.
  • Successful students will pay close attention to the course goals and objectives, because they will help you master the course material. If you have any questions about any of the objectives, please ask the instructor. Questions are encouraged during class for clarification. Remember that you're probably not the only one in the class with the same question. If you have questions about material from previous classes, please email me prior to the next class session, and I'll address your question at the beginning of the class session, prior to any quizzes.
  • Successful students will talk to their classmates about the course material. You will find that they can help you understand many complex issues.
  • Successful students will come prepared to the class with assigned readings for that class. This will help you comprehend the material for that class better. Regular assignments will also be given at the end of each class. Doing these assignments and turning them on time (typically before the next class), will help you obtain higher-order learning goals for this course.

  1. Access the class material promptly and on time.
  2. Respect yourself, classmates, and the instructor.
  3. Participate in class discussions.
  4. Display preparedness for class through completing reading assignments.
  5. Present content knowledgeably with supported reasoning.

Chirag Shah