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The CS-1Q: HCI Introduction

Computers are one of the few things that irritate me. Make one false move and you can lose a day's work. If you forget how to do something it can take you ages to figure out how to do it again.

At the same time, computers are brilliant. They enable me to keep in touch with my friends and family by email. I can download music, play games, watch DVDs. At work, they help me prepare presentations on paper or for projection during lectures. They enable me to create effects that would not previously have been possible without the help of professional typesetters and printers.

In this course, I want to explain why some computer applications make you want to weep. I also want to explain why other applications unleash your creativity, save you time and support tasks that would not otherwise have been possible. The course will be illustrated with human-computer interfaces to mobile devices, to web and Internet-based systems and to new generations of context aware and collaborative applications.

The course textbook is Ben Shneiderman, Designing the User Interface Addison Wesley, Harlow, England. Third edition. 1998. ISBN 0-201-69497-2.

This part of the CS-1Q course will provide students with an understanding of why so many people are frustrated and intimidated by computer-based systems. Conversely, it will also provide an appreciation of why some technologies, such as mobile phone texting, have proven to be so successful amongst particular social groups. This part of the CS-1Q course will also provide an introduction to the problems of interface design and will provide experience in using some simple evaluation techniques.

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. conduct an initial requirements elicitation exercise for an interactive system;
  2. design a number of altrenative interfaces for a range of human-computer applications;
  3. perform both formative and summative evaluations of those designs.


This course will be assessed as part of the CS-1Q module. This material will form a significant component of the class test, currently scheduled for week 13. Open exercises contribute 20% to the overall marks that are awarded to the CS-1Q course. These will be broken down as follows: 6% for information management, 6% for the systems exercises and 6% for the HCI open assessment, 2% for the professional issues assessment.

The open assessment for this part of the CS-1Q course will be based on an interface design exercises. Students will submit a report which describes their design and evaluates its usability. There will also be an opportunity to present the design during a tutorial in week 6.

Chris Johnson,
Dept. of Computing Science, Univ. of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8QQ, Scotland.
Tel: +44 141 330 6053, Fax: +44 141 330 4913,