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Human-Computer Interaction


In Human-Computer Interaction, you'll learn the principles and methods that govern the design and improvement of user interfaces.

In Human-Computer Interaction, you'll learn the principles and methods that govern the design and improvement of user interfaces.

Last Updated March 7, 2022


No experience required

Course Lessons

Lesson 1

1.1: Introduction to HCI

An introduction to the course topics: what is human-computer interaction, and how does it relate to other fields like human factors engineering and user experience design?

Lesson 2

1.2: Introduction to CS6750

In this lesson, we introduce the specific administration of this class. This covers the learning goals, outcomes, strategies, and (for Georgia Tech students) assessments for the course.

Lesson 3

1.3: Exploring HCI

In this overview, we preview the various places we might apply the HCI principles that we learn, from new technologies like virtual reality to domain areas like healthcare.

Lesson 4

2.1: Introduction to Principles

In the first lesson of Unit 2, we introduce the fundamental principles of human-computer interaction, emphasizing the evolving way we think about the user and their role in the systems we design.

Lesson 5

2.2: Feedback Cycles

The foundational unit of analysis in HCI is feedback cycles. Feedback cycles are ubiquitous, and nearly everything we discuss in HCI can be thought of in terms of building good feedback cycles.

Lesson 6

2.3: Direct Manipulation

When we design interfaces, we often rely on a user using some controller or device to interact with the object of the task. With direct manipulation, we minimize the visibility of that controller.

Lesson 7

2.4: Human Abilities

What humans can do with interfaces are governed by their cognitive and physical constraints. In this lesson, we cover limitations on cognition, memory, and physical interaction.

Lesson 8

2.5: Design Principles and Heuristics

The HCI community has a long and rich history, and that history has developed a number of well-defined principles to leverage in designing new interfaces. We cover 15 of these in this lesson.

Lesson 9

2.6: Mental Models and Representations

A user's interaction with an interface is dependent on their mental model matching the model of the world. Representations are our primary tool for ensuring the user's mental model matches the world.

Lesson 10

2.7: Task Analysis

To design effective interfaces, we need to understand the tasks users are completing at a fine level. With different forms of task analysis, we can describe users' behavior objectively and in detail.

Lesson 11

2.8: Distributed Cognition

Many artifacts that we design do more than help the user; they actually extend the user's cognition. Interfaces can perform cognitive functions like memory and reasoning on their own.

Lesson 12

2.9: Interfaces and Politics

Every design we create affects the world in both expected and unforeseen ways. In this lesson, we discuss how interfaces can be designed to create social change, and how they might do so by accident.

Lesson 13

2.10: Conclusion to Principles

In this lesson, we wrap up the principles we have covered and draw connections amongst them, like how our analysis of a user's task can point to opportunities to leverage certain design principles.

Lesson 14

3.1: Introduction to Methods

In the first lesson of Unit 3, we cover the overall cycle for user research. The principles help us design good interfaces quickly, but we must get data from real users to design effective interfaces.

Lesson 15

3.2: Ethics and Human Research

As researchers, we are governed by ethical guidelines about what we may do with our research subjects. University research is governed by review boards, and many companies have such boards, too.

Lesson 16

3.3: Needfinding and Requirements Gathering

In order to design effective interfaces, we must start with the user: we should never assume we know what the user wants until we have investigated their needs and requirements.

Lesson 17

3.4: Design Alternatives

Once we know a bit about what the user needs, it is crucial that we go through a deliberate phase of brainstorming possible designs to avoid fixating on a single solution too early.

Lesson 18

3.5: Prototyping

Once we have designs in mind, we want to start gathering feedback quickly. We can't wait for complete interfaces to be created, so we create prototypes rapidly to get feedback as soon as possible.

Lesson 19

3.6: Evaluation

Once we have those prototypes, we can actually evaluate them through qualitative, empirical, and predictive evaluations depending on the maturity of our prototype and the type of feedback we need.

Lesson 20

3.7: HCI and Agile Development

Agile development has taken the world by storm, and it has a number of natural alignments with: both emphasize involving the user, constantly getting feedback, and revising quickly.

Lesson 21

3.8: Conclusion to Methods

In this lesson, we wrap up the methods unit of the course. To do so, we talk through how we might apply the design life cycle to a real design problem.

Lesson 22

4.1: Applications: Technology

In this library, we provide resources on a number of emerging technologies in HCI, including virtual reality, augmented reality, ubiquitous computing, wearables, robotics, and mobile devices.

Lesson 23

4.2: Applications: Ideas

In this library, we provide resources on a number of big ideas in HCI, including context-sensitive computing, gesture-based interaction, information visualization, and social computing.

Lesson 24

4.3: Applications: Domains

In this library, we provide resources on a number of domains to which HCI applies, including healthcare, education, security, gaming, and people with special needs.

Lesson 25

5.1: Course Recap

In this lesson, we recap the principles and methods of HCI. Remember, repetition is the heart of memory: by repeatedly loading it into short-term memory, it is more durable in your long-term memory.

Lesson 26

5.2: Related Fields

If you loved HCI, as much as we do, you're probably curious what to do next. In this lesson, we cover some fields that are related to HCI for your further study.

Lesson 27

5.3: Next Steps

Finally, if you want to take your next steps in HCI, you need to know where to go. From MOOCs to dedicated Master's programs to a PhD, we close the course by covering what you might do next.

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David Joyner


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Human-Computer Interaction


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