Advanced Methods in HCI

COMPSCI 690A, 3 Credits, Spring 2019
Time: TueThu 10:00am – 11:15am
Location: Room 140, Computer Science Building

Instructor: Narges Mahyar
Office: Room 322, Computer Science Building
Office hours: Wednesdays 2-3pm


This is an advanced course in Human-Computer Interaction. This course will provide a deeper treatment of some topics that are typically found in an undergraduate HCI course. For example, design methodologies, evaluation methodologies (both quantitative and qualitative), human information processing, cognition, and perception. This course will also introduce students to research frontiers in HCI. The course will cover topics of Universal Usability, CSCW, Digital Civics and fundamentals of designing interactive technology for people.

Course Overview

People are increasingly surrounded by interactive computational technology systems that are integral to their everyday life. However, poorly designed systems are common, and they can lead to negative outcomes such as frustration, lost time, and errors. The role of design is more crucial than ever before for crafting appropriate systems that truly meet people’s needs, abilities, and expectations. This course covers the theories and concepts important for all professionals and researchers that design interactive technology for human use. This course will build common ground across students from a range of backgrounds, so they will have a shared vocabulary and methods to bring into other components of the Designing for People. Designing for People means designing for human experience, abilities, and fallibilities, which requires in-depth engagement of people throughout the design process in order to develop interactive technologies that fit human needs and capabilities. More specifically, the course adopts a human-centered design (HCD) approach and teaches a highly iterative process called design thinking. This process draws heavily on fundamental human-computer interaction (HCI) methods. Students will have a chance to practice and hone their abilities through weekly homework in the context of a project, in-class activities, and discussions.

Survey and research articles will be the primary text for the course, chosen from a collection of readings. There is no textbook required.

Students are expected to have taken an HCI course prior to taking this course. While there are no other formal prerequisites, the ability to do basic computer programming will be an asset for the prototyping part of the course. Alternate tools that require minimal programming will, however, be possible. Further, there will be some coverage of experimental design and analysis, which relies on some basic statistical knowledge.

University policies and information

Accommodation Statement
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to providing an equal educational opportunity for all students. If you have a documented physical, psychological, or learning disability on file with Disability Services (DS), you may be eligible for reasonable academic accommodations to help you succeed in this course. If you have a documented disability that requires an accommodation, please notify me within the first two weeks of the semester so that we may make appropriate arrangements.

Academic Honesty Statement
Since the integrity of the academic enterprise of any institution of higher education requires honesty in scholarship and research, academic honesty is required of all students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Academic dishonesty is prohibited in all programs of the University. Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to: cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and facilitating dishonesty. Appropriate sanctions may be imposed on any student who has committed an act of academic dishonesty. Instructors should take reasonable steps to address academic misconduct. Any person who has reason to believe that a student has committed academic dishonesty should bring such information to the attention of the appropriate course instructor as soon as possible. Instances of academic dishonesty not related to a specific course should be brought to the attention of the appropriate department Head or Chair. Since students are expected to be familiar with this policy and the commonly accepted standards of academic integrity, ignorance of such standards is not normally sufficient evidence of lack of intent (