Human-Computer Interaction Design

UCSD COGS120/CSE170 · Fall 2016 · Instructor: Philip Guo

  • Check Piazza for all class announcements.
  • Use Piazza to communicate with the course staff; we will not respond to emails.
  • To chat with the staff in person, catch us after class or during office hours. Otherwise Piazza!
  • If you can't get into Piazza, let us know in person ASAP!

In this course, you will learn how to design technologies that bring people joy, rather than frustration. To do this, you'll learn techniques for rapidly prototyping and evaluating multiple interface alternatives — and why rapid prototyping and comparative evaluation are essential to excellent interaction design. You'll learn how to conduct fieldwork with people to help generate design ideas. You'll learn how to make paper prototypes and low-fidelity mock-ups that are interactive — and how to use these designs to get feedback from teammates, clients, and users. You'll learn principles of visual design, perception and cognition so that you can effectively organize and present information with your interfaces. And you'll learn how to perform and analyze controlled experiments online.

Through a series of weekly assignments, you will complete a quarter-long project in teams of three. Each week, in small design studios, you present and discuss work with peers. The setting for the course is mobile web applications. The constraints of this small form factor set the stage for this challenge.

Weekly schedule

Design Lecture

Tuesdays 12:30pm-1:50pm
CICC 101 (Copley International Conference Center)

Code Lab

Thursdays 12:30pm-1:50pm
CICC 101 (Copley International Conference Center)

Studio Section

Fridays 9am-9:50am, 10am-10:50am, 11am-11:50am, 12pm-12:50pm, 1pm-1:50pm, 2pm-2:50pm, 3pm-3:50pm (CSB180 or HSS1346)

CICC (Copley International Conference Center)
CSB (CogSci building) location
HSS building location

   Office Hours

Monday OH
  • Jimmy Quach 6pm-7pm (Starbucks @ Price Center)
Tuesday OH
  • Alok Mysore 11am-12:30pm (outside of CICC 101)
  • Rob Gougelet 4pm-5pm (CogSci Bldg. CSB 123)
  • Lucky Nguyen 4pm-5pm (Hi Thai)
  • Prof. Philip Guo - check his website
Wednesday OH
Thursday OH
  • Shawn Kang AND Tricia Ngoon 11am-12pm (CSE basement B240A)
  • Kandarp S. Khandwala 2pm-3:30pm (CICC 101)
  • Calvin Xavier Gomez 2pm-3:30pm (CICC 101)

Calendar • Follow the lab/assignment link to submit work • Bring a fully-charged laptop to each class!

Week Design Lecture (Tues) Code Lab (Thurs) Assignment (due Thurs 11:59pm, discuss in Friday studio)
September 20

No class

September 22

Introduction (no lab)

September 27


  • Participant Observation video
  • Interviewing video
  • Additional Needfinding Strategies video
September 29

Lab 1 - Version control and HTML

No assignment due this week, but come to
October 4


  • Storyboards, Paper Prototypes, and Mockups video
  • Faking it: Wizard of Oz video
  • Faking it: Video Prototyping: video
October 6

Lab 2 - Styling and publishing your website

Due Thursday, 10/6, 11:59 pm
A1: Needfinding
October 11

Heuristic Evaluation

  • Heuristic Evaluation – Why and How video
  • Heuristics: Understanding video
  • Heuristics: Action video
  • Heuristics: Feedback video
October 13

Lab 3 - Interacting with webpage elements

Due Thursday, 10/13, 11:59 pm
A2: Prototyping
October 18

Mental Models

In-class heuristic evaluations (part of A3)

October 20

Lab 4 - Server-side backend web development

In-class heuristic evaluations (part of A3)

Due Thursday, 10/20, 11:59 pm
A3: Show your flow: Get feedback
October 25

Exam 1 - in class
(closed notes; multiple choice; covers all lectures, videos, and labs from Sep 27 to Oct 20)

October 27

Lab 5 - Integrating frontend and backend

Due Thursday, 10/27, 11:59 pm
A4: A skeleton and a plan
November 1

Visual Design

  • Visual Design video
  • Grids and Alignment video
  • Reading and Navigating video
November 3

Lab 6 - Connecting frontend and backend without page reloads

Due Thursday, 11/3, 11:59 pm
A5: Core implementation
November 8

Running Experiments

  • In-Person Experiments video
  • Applying Chi-squared to A/B Testing video

November 10

Lab 7 - Analytics and A/B Testing

If you want to learn databases, check out:

Databases Lab (optional, NOT covered on exam)

Due Thursday, 11/10, 11:59 pm
A6: Ready for testing

No studio class, Veterans Day Holiday, Friday 11/11

November 15

Information Foraging

  • Finding, Filtering, & Foraging video
  • Designing Effective Search video
November 17

Exam 2 - in class
(closed notes; multiple choice; covers all lectures, videos, and labs from Oct 27 to Nov 15)

Due Thursday, 11/17, 11:59 pm
A7: User testing and redesign
November 22

Class recap and Q&A

November 24

No class, Thanksgiving Holiday

Due Monday, 11/28, 11:59pm (later due date because of Thanksgiving)
A8: A/B Testing and Finalize

No studio class, Thanksgiving Holiday, 11/25

November 29
Final Presentations
December 1
Final Presentations

No studio class on this Friday; you're done!

Finals week
There is no final exam for this course. Enjoy winter break!