Summer 2022

CS 3750 – User Interface Design

Office: TSRB 332
Office Hours: By appointment

Class Meetings: Tuesday/Thursday/Friday, 12:30–3:15PM
Location: Klaus 2456

Course Description

This course is an introduction to Human-Centered Computing and user-centered design process. You will be introduced to a number of different techniques and tools for understanding particular interaction design challenges, you will develop scenarios and storyboards, create low-fidelity prototypes, and iterate on those prototypes to create a final design project.

Course Objectives

This class is designed to help students develop and use critical thinking skills and evaluation techniques necessary to solve real-world problems related to the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI).

In completing this course you will:

  • Be knowledgeable about the history and intellectual traditions of human-computer interaction concepts and techniques.
  • Be able to access and distill primary research relevant to content area
  • Learn user-centered design techniques and distinguish when and where is most appropriate to use these methods. (Interviewing, ethnography, etc)
  • Gain experience as a designer of interactive technology by getting your hands dirty, prototyping interfaces and functions (but not programming or developing the back-end).
  • Practice qualitative and quantitative methods for user needs discovery and usability evaluation.
  • Demonstrate that design is a systematic and evidence-based process by working in the field
  • Design technology that is easy to use, useful, and supports users with varying levels of expertise.
  • Compellingly communicate design concepts and the rationale behind them
  • Create inventive design artifacts with an awareness of history, audience, and context


The total grade for the class will be based upon the following factors and weights:

Reading Presentations 10%
Project Milestone 1: People and Place(s) 5%
Project Milestone 2: Personas, Task Analysis, Storyboards 10%
Project Milestone 3: Prototypes 15%
Project Milestone 4: Evaluation 20%
Project Milestone 5: Final Prototype and Process Book 25%
Participation 15%

Late Work

I do not accept late work except in rare instances where arrangements were made ahead of time.


Class participation is mandatory. Participation in class discussion is imperative because they allow you to explore content and design process collaboratively. Participation in class also challenges you to continuously question, refine, and articulate your own ideas and interpretations.

Your participation grade is determined in part by attendance, active participation in class activities and critiques.

Written Assignments and Project Reports

Written work is an important part of many of the evaluation components. You are expected to use best practices when submitting written work. This means clearly citing material that is not your own, in accordance with the GT honor policy listed below.

Course Communication

We will have three main channels for communication. Questions and issues with any of the course material should start with your TA. I will use Canvas for course-wide announcements and updates to assignments and project deliverables. Once we are underway, we will be using MS Teams for studio and project group communication and coordination. Finally, email is the best way to reach me and the only way to schedule additional office hours if needed.

Course Expectations and Guidelines

  • The Georgia Tech Academic Honor Code applies to all work submitted in this course.
  • You are expected to check your e-mail and Canvas daily. Important class announcements and information will be posted to Canvas. You are responsible for all materials posted.
  • Grades will be posted to Canvas throughout the semester. It is your responsibility to keep track of your submitted assignments and grade progress throughout the semester.
  • Appropriate online behavior is expected at all times. This means that you should be respectful of your classmates, your TAs, and your instructor.

Course Schedule

What follows is an outline for the term. As the semester progresses, we may adjust dates and materials.

Week 1 Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction
Administrivia and what is HCI and UCD
Brainstorm Stakeholders
Form Teams
Understanding People

Interviews & Surveys & Contextual Inquiry

Flick – Chapter 13 IxD Foundation: Contextual Interviews (Read full article)

HCI Research & Good Design

Creswell, “The Selection of a Research Design”
Buchanan, “Good Design in the Digital Age”
How to Begin Designing for Diversity

Milestone 1: Due 5pm

Week 2 Task Analysis

Edmondson and Meech, Putting Task Analysis into Context
Carol, Making use is more than a matter of task analysis

Personas & Scenarios

Wixon et al. 1990. Contextual Design: An Emergent View of System Design
Cabrero et al. 2016. A Critique of Personas as representations of “the other” in Cross-Cultural Technology Design


Time for fieldwork, analysis, feedback.

Milestone 2: Due 5pm

Week 3 Design Synthesis

Kolko, “Abductive Thinking and Sensemaking: The Drivers of Design Synthesis”
Design Thinking Is Fundamentally Conservative and Preserves the Status Quo


Biggs and Desjardis, “Crafting an Embodied Speculation: An Account of Prototyping Methods”
McCurdy et al, “Breaking the Fidelity Barrier: An Examination of our Current Characterization of Prototypes and an Example of a Mixed-Fidelity Success”
Lichter “Prototyping in Industrial Software Projects – Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice”


Time for fieldwork, analysis, feedback.

Milestone 3: Due 5pm

Week 4 Evaluation

10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design
Jeffries et al, “User Interface Evaluation in the Real World: A Comparison of Four Techniques”
Mankoff et al, “Heuristic Evaluation of Ambient Displays”

Information Design

Time for fieldwork, analysis, feedback.

Milestone 4: Due 5pm

Week 5 Studio

Milestone 5: Due 5pm

General Class Policies

It is important to keep in mind that this class focuses on the principles and processes of user-centered design, not on technical skills; it is therefore up to you to develop and/or hone your facility with Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop.

Students whose work meets all criteria outlined for an assignment will receive a grade of C; students whose work meets all criteria and shows additional sophistication, thoughtfulness, research and creativity will receive a grade of B; students whose work meets all criteria and goes well beyond the expected in terms of sophistication, thoughtfulness, research, and creativity will receive a grade of A; students whose work fails to meet to all criteria outlined for an assignment will receive a grade of D or F.

Two points will be deducted for all typographic, spelling, and grammatical errors in all writing assignments.

Late assignments will not be accepted. Presentations must be given on the designated day.

Lectures will not be posted. It is your responsibility to take notes and remain attentive in class.

If you have questions or concerns about this or any other course policies stated in this syllabus, class assignments, email correspondence, or announced in class, please speak with me in class, during office hours, or via email as soon as possible so that we can discuss your concerns.

Debate, Diversity, and Respect

In this class, we will present and discuss a diversity of perspectives. Although you may not always agree with others’ perspectives, you are required to be respectful of others’ values and beliefs. Repeated inappropriate or abusive comments and/or behavior will be cause for disciplinary action. If you feel that your perspectives are being ignored or slighted, or you in anyway feel uncomfortable in the classroom, please contact me immediately.

The Communication Center

The Communication Center is located in Clough Commons, Suite 447. It is an excellent resource for any student (undergraduate or graduate) who wants help with a communication-related project. You can visit the center for help at any stage of the process for any project in any discipline. The knowledgeable and friendly tutors are available to help you develop and revise your projects. They are not available to “fix” your projects. Please do not ask the tutors to proofread or edit your projects.

For information on making an appointment please visit their website. If you need assistance with the appointment system, you can call 404-385-3612 or stop by the center.

All services are free and confidential.

Students with Disabilities

Students should self-report to the Access Disabled Assistance Program for Tech Students at:
220 Student Services Building
Atlanta, GA 30332-0285
404.894.2564 (voice) or 404.894.1664 (voice/TDD)

Scholastic Dishonesty and Academic Misconduct

This class abides by the university’s policies relating to plagiarism, scholastic dishonesty, and academic misconduct. Per the Georgia Tech Code of Conduct, plagiarism is defined as:

  • Unauthorized Access: Possessing, using, or exchanging improperly acquired written or verbal information in the preparation of a problem set, laboratory report, essay, examination, or other academic assignment.
  • Unauthorized Collaboration: Unauthorized interaction with another Student or Students in the fulfillment of academic requirements.
  • Plagiarism: Submission of material that is wholly or substantially identical to that created or published by another person or persons, without adequate credit notations indicating the authorship.
  • False Claims of Performance: False claims for work that has been submitted by a Student.
  • Grade Alteration: Alteration of any academic grade or rating so as to obtain unearned academic credit.
  • Deliberate Falsification: Deliberate falsification of a written or verbal statement of fact to a Faculty member and/or Institute Official, so as to obtain unearned academic credit.
  • Forgery: Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any Institute document relating to the academic status of the Student.
  • Distortion: Any act that distorts or could distort grades or other academic records.