COMP_SCI 397: HCI Studio

Quarter Offered

Spring : 3:30 - 4:50 TuTh ; O'Rourke


CS 214 or Instructor Consent


Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) serves as the bridge between computing and humanity. The effective design of HCI systems requires a keen understanding of how interfaces and computer systems support (or do not support) human endeavors. Designing transformative HCI systems requires asking and exploring a wide range of critical questions. Why would a particular set of system characteristics be effective at reaching a desired user outcome? Why would another set of system characteristics fail to reach that outcome? How can a high-level design argument be instantiated through an effective interface model (front-end) and system model (back-end)? Taking a step back, are our designs actually addressing the underlying problems that our users face? If not, how can we understand and more effectively address these problems?

Through the studio method, we will work together as a community to learn how to ask and answer these questions for ourselves. This course will introduce core skills required to design HCI systems, including need finding techniques, usability principles, prototyping techniques, design arguments, and user evaluation techniques. Beyond these core skills, we will focus on developing critical thinking and problem solving skills through team projects and studio critiques, with special emphasis on learning effective representations for thinking about the design of HCI systems. We will also explore approaches for developing a deeper understanding of the problems that people encounter by expanding our capacities for humility, empathy, and curiosity. Last but not least, we will focus on *process*, using agile sprints, rapid prototyping and testing, and iteration to help us face and embrace the fears, imperfections, and failures that are a natural and expected part of the design process. By developing these skills and practices, we will learn to become more skillful and critical in how we work on difficult HCI design problems.

  • This course satisfies the project requirement.