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I recommend the side-by-side view on Zoom during lectures and the gallery view during discussions. Please consider having your video on during class meetings — at least put up a photo of you to help me identify you during class.

This will be a hybrid online class, which means we will have a mix of synchronous meetings and asynchronous lectures. Synchronous online meetings will always be held during class times. However, class attendance is not mandatory, and all class meetings will be recorded and posted on the course webpage. But on days that we will have project discussions/presentations or labs, you must attend the class.


Debaleena Chattopadhyay
Email: debchatt at uic dot edu
Personal Webpage:
Lab Webpage:

Course Information

Credit Hours 4*
Class Time Monday & Wednesday, 3:00pm — 4:15pm
Class Location Zoom Information
Office Hours Monday & Wednesday, 4:30pm — 5:30pm   |   Zoom Information
Link to Piazza Piazza

*Ph.D. students can petition to count this class as a CS qualifier course. Note that the CS department allows only 1 project based course to be counted as one of the 4 qualifier courses.

Course Description

The computer-user interface: media, languages, interaction techniques, user modeling. Human factors in software development. Theory, experimental methods, evaluation, tools. Project required. Course Information: Previously listed as EECS 578.

Recommended Prerequisite(s)

Students enrolled in any department of the College of Engineering (COE) must be proficient in at least one high-level programming language (e.g., C++, Java, JavaScript, Objective C) — enough to complete coding assignments and build functional prototypes. COE students not comfortable with building systems are advised not to take this course.

Students from non-COE departments will have non-coding assignments and the option of either design-centered or analytical final projects. Some proficiency in or aptitude for design methods (e.g., participatory design, value-sensitive design) or data analysis (e.g., parametric and non-parametric statistics) is expected.

General Guidelines to Use the Syllabus

Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the syllabus. The instructor is responsible for being responsive to the diverse needs of the enrolled students and making necessary modifications to this syllabus, which is to be treated as a living document.

Blackboard will be used to post course grades. Submit individual assignments via Blackboard and group assignments via Piazza.

Piazza will be used to post announcements, FAQs, discussion points, course-related general queries, and detailed instructions when deemed necessary.

This course webpage will contain links to readings, lecture videos, general instructions, and class schedule.

Students are responsible to keep themselves updated with class announcements.

Why take this class?

You probably cannot imagine computing without a mouse or searching without Google. As computers pervade every aspect of our lives, it is crucial to understand how we can reap their benefits in bettering human lives, not just through algorithmic computations but also human-computer interactions (HCI). To translate successfully computing innovations into daily-life aids, a variety of social, political, and human factor issues needs to be considered. In this class, we will learn about some of these fundamental HCI issues when designing computing systems. We will learn how to build a system beginning with the user requirements, how to envision computing solutions to society's hard problems, and how to evaluate the effectiveness of systems built. This class will draw from multiple disciplines, namely psychology, design, and sociology, to help students learn how to design better systems. By the end of the class, you should be able to figure out why certain systems are widely adopted, when others fail.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand basic HCI theory, terms, principles, and conceptual models
  • Apply HCI principles toward user interface design.
  • Analyze user needs and requirements.
  • Translate user requirements into system prototypes.
  • Sketch design ideas of a user interaction concept.
  • Design iteratively a user interface based on formative evaluation results.
  • Apply evaluation and usability testing methods to interactive products to validate design decisions.
  • Recommend appropriate evaluation protocols to evaluate user experience.
  • Ideate, sketch, elaborate, validate and communicate user experiences and interface designs

Course Texts

Title: Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction
Authors: Ben Shneiderman, Catherine Plaisant, Maxine Cohen, Steven Jacobs, Niklas Elmqvist, and Nicholas Diakopoulos
Copyright: 2017
Edition: Sixth
Publisher: Pearson


I will provide a copy of the required readings, so you are not required to buy it—although it is a nice-have.

Title: Human Factors in Simple and Complex Systems
Authors: Robert W. Proctor and Trisha Van Zandt
Copyright: 2008
Edition: Second
Publisher: CRC Press

I will provide a copy of the required readings, so you are not required to buy it. But this (or the newest edition) is an excellent book to have if you are interested in the psychology of HCI.

Title: Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design
Authors: Bill Buxton
Copyright: 2007
Edition: First
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann

Available online from the UIC library

Title: Brave NUI World: Designing Natural User Interfaces for Touch and Gesture
Authors: Daniel Wigdor and Dennis Wixon
Copyright: 2011
Edition: First
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann

Available online from the UIC library

Class Schedule

Readings are due before the corresponding class meeting. Students are encouraged to use the online class meeting pro-actively to get their doubts cleared up and questions answered.

Each class meeting will essentially constitute a short lecture by the instructor, discussions about the async lecture videos, student presentations, paper discussions, or a dedicated practice lab.

Readings marked with will be discussed in class. Posting discussion points/questions on Piazza is required, and counted toward course credit.

All assignments are due by 11:59pm CST on the due date.

Week Class agenda Readings/ Course Videos Assignments
Week 1
Aug 24
Course introduction and student introductions None
Aug 26 HCI design Shneiderman et al., 2017. Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction. Chapter 4 (Design), pp. 99—137. [download]
Week 2
Aug 31
Psychology of HCI (part 1)
Proctor & Zandt, 2008. Human Factors in Simple and Complex Systems. Chapters 3 (Reliability and Human Error in Systems) and 4 (Human Information Processing). pp. 53—107. [download]
HW 1 out
Sep 2 User Evaluation Shneiderman et al., 2017. Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction. Chapter 5 (Evaluation and the User Experience), pp. 140—179. [download] None
Week 3
Sep 7
No Class; Labor Day CITI Certification from UIC IRB due
CITI completion certificate example
Sep 9 Psychology of HCI (part 2) Proctor & Zandt, 2008. Human Factors in Simple and Complex Systems. Chapter 9 (Attention and the Assessment of Mental Workload), pp. 229—259. [download] HW 1 due
Week 4
Sep 14
Introduction to HCI Research Oulasvirta, A., & Hornbæk, K. (2016, May). HCI research as problem-solving. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 4956-4967). [download] None
Sep 16 Student presentations; project proposals
Class meeting video (uncut)
HW2 out
Week 5
Sep 21
Research Methods in HCI Yang, Q., Banovic, N., & Zimmerman, J. (2018, April). Mapping machine learning advances from HCI research to reveal starting places for design innovation. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1-11). [download] Project proposals due
Some examples
Sep 23 User Interfaces Shneiderman et al., 2017. Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction. Chapter 7 (Direct Manipulation and Immersive Environments), pp. 198—224. [download] None
Week 6
Sep 28
User Navigation Shneiderman et al., 2017. Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction. Chapter 8 (Fluid Navigation), pp. 240—264. [download] None
Sep 30 Lab: In-Class Sketching Buxton, 2007, Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design, pp. 105—151.
Week 7
Oct 5
Command Languages Shneiderman et al., 2017. Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction. Chapter 9 (Expressive Human and Command Languages), pp. 278—295. [download]
HW2 due
Oct 7 Input Devices Shneiderman et al., 2017. Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction. Chapter 10 (Devices), pp. 302—328. [download]
Week 8
Oct 12
Mid-term exam
Oct 14 Information Search Shneiderman et al., 2017. Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction. Chapter 15 (Information Search), pp. 478—502. [download] None
Week 9
Oct 19
Natural User Interfaces (part 1) Wigdor & Wixon, 2011. Brave NUI World: Designing Natural User Interfaces for Touch and Gesture. Part III, pp. 63 - 104. None
Oct 21 Student presentations; design iterations
Class meeting video (uncut)
Requirement specs + Sketch diary due
Some examples
Week 10
Oct 26
Lab: In-Class Formative Evaluation
CW example 1
CW example 2
Greenberg, S., & Buxton, B. (2008). Usability evaluation considered harmful (some of the time). In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 111—120. ACM. [paper]   
Oct 28 Natural User Interfaces (part 2) Wigdor & Wixon, 2011. Brave NUI World: Designing Natural User Interfaces for Touch and Gesture. Part IV, pp. 105 - 164.
No sync meeting; Debaleena at (virtual) ASSETS
HW3 out
Formative evaluation due Friday, 10/30
Some examples
Week 11
Nov 2
Advanced topic: Economic Models of Interaction Oulasvirta, Kristensson, Bi, & Howes, 2018. Computational Interaction. Chapter 11. Economic Models of Interaction. [book chapter]   
Class meeting video (uncut)
Nov 4 Advanced topic: Speech Interfaces

Clark, L., Doyle, P., Garaialde, D., Gilmartin, E., Schlögl, S., Edlund, J., ... & R Cowan, B. (2019). The State of Speech in HCI: Trends, Themes and Challenges. Interacting with Computers, 31(4), 349—371.   

Hong, J., & Findlater, L. (2018, April). Identifying speech input errors through audio-only interaction. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1—12).   

Class meeting video (uncut)
Week 12
Nov 9
Advanced topic: HCI in Health

Kathleen O’Leary, Stephen M. Schueller, Jacob O. Wobbrock, and Wanda Pratt. 2018. Suddenly, we got to become therapists for each other: Designing peer support chats for mental health. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’18). ACM, Paper 331, 14 pages.   

Derboven, J., Voorend, R., & Slegers, K. (2020). Design trade-offs in self-management technology: the HeartMan case. Behaviour & Information Technology, 39(1), 72—87.   

Paper reflections and discussion summary

Nov 11 Advanced topic: Designing for the Older Adults

Yu, J., and Chattopadhyay, D. (2020). “Maps are hard for me”: Identifying how Older Adults Struggle with Mobile Maps. In Proceedings of the 22nd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, ASSETS, ACM.   

Sarcar, S., Joklnen, J., Oulasvirta, A., Silpasuwanchai, C., Wang, Z., & Ren, X. (2016, October). Towards ability-based optimization for aging users. In Proceedings of the International Symposium on Interactive Technology and Ageing Populations (pp. 77—86).   

Week 13
Nov 16
Advanced topic: Midair Gestural Input

Carter, M., Velloso, E., Downs, J., Sellen, A., O'Hara, K., & Vetere, F. (2016, May). Pathsync: Multi-user gestural interaction with touchless rhythmic path mimicry. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 3415—3427).   

Cheema, N., Frey-Law, L. A., Naderi, K., Lehtinen, J., Slusallek, P., & Hämäläinen, P. (2020, April). Predicting Mid-Air Interaction Movements and Fatigue Using Deep Reinforcement Learning. In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1—13).   

Paper reflections and discussion summary

HW3 due
Nov 18 Lab: In-class project demos and discussion None
Week 14
Nov 23
Advanced topic: Mixed Reality Interactions

Yang, J., Holz, C., Ofek, E., & Wilson, A. D. (2019, October). Dreamwalker: Substituting real-world walking experiences with a virtual reality. In Proceedings of the 32nd Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (pp. 1093—1107).   

Müller, J., Rädle, R., & Reiterer, H. (2017, May). Remote collaboration with mixed reality displays: how shared virtual landmarks facilitate spatial referencing. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 6481—6486).   

Nov 25 Advanced topic: Virtual Humans in Health

DeVault, D., Artstein, R., Benn, G., Dey, T., Fast, E., Gainer, A., ... & Lucas, G. (2014, May). SimSensei Kiosk: A virtual human interviewer for healthcare decision support. In Proceedings of the 2014 international conference on Autonomous agents and multi-agent systems (pp. 1061—1068).   

Zhang, L., Fu, Q., Swanson, A., Weitlauf, A., Warren, Z., & Sarkar, N. (2018). Design and evaluation of a collaborative virtual environment (CoMove) for autism spectrum disorder intervention. ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing (TACCESS), 11(2), 1—22.   

Week 15
Nov 30
Advanced topic: Mixed Reality in Health

Chen, L., Day, T. W., Tang, W., & John, N. W. (2017, October). Recent developments and future challenges in medical mixed reality. In 2017 IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR) (pp. 123—135). IEEE.   

Gasques Rodrigues, D., Jain, A., Rick, S. R., Shangley, L., Suresh, P., & Weibel, N. (2017, May). Exploring mixed reality in specialized surgical environments. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 2591—2598).   

Dec 2


Course project presentations
Class meeting video (uncut)

Project websites/reports are due by 11:59 PM CST December 7. The late grading schema does not apply here.
Week 16
Dec 7
No final exam
Project Presentation/ Discussion   |   Lab


All assignments in this course, except final project deliverables, are individually graded. Collaborative learning is strongly encouraged, but students should aim to master the technical skills as an independent quality.

Class participation (15%)

Here are the ways you can participate in class/ class activities and earn credit toward it.

  • Watch course videos and answer in-video questions. Graded for effort, not accuracy.
  • Post questions/comments/discussions on Piazza for a class's topic to be discussed later during class meetings.
  • Post discussion points for research articles scheduled for class discussions.
  • Attend discussion sessions for research articles and take part in class discussions.

CITI Certification (5%)

CITI course link. Take the Group 2. Human Subjects Research (HSR): Social – Behavioral - Educational Research Investigators and Key Personnel test and submit a completed training certificate to receive grade.

CITI completion certificate example

Homeworks (30%)

Mid-term exam (10%)

The mid-term exam will include materials covered until week 7. The 45-minutes exam will contain multiple-choice and short-answer questions. It will be open book and open Internet.

Course project (40%)

Project deliverables include presentations, short write-ups, a website/report describing the design process, and a video showcase. The video (and website) should be presented during the final presentation.

Guidelines and grading rubric for project deliverables will be discussed in class.

Some relevant HCI conferences/journals: CHI, CSCW, UbiComp, UIST, AVI, IUI, ISS, TOCHI, Human-Computer Interaction, Interacting with Computers, Computers in Human Behavior

NOTE: Conceptualizing a computing application and successfully prototyping is required. The project must consist of HCI research. The goal is to have the final deliverable to be of sufficient quality to submit to an HCI conference as a poster or full paper.

Programming language requirement: As long as it serves the course's learning objective, students are free to use any programming language(s) for this class. Students are encouraged to use their strong suit.

Past student projects

"Bachao" - Your personal safety application

SAGE2 Classroom Edition


Whiteboard - When Blackboard and Piazza lend an ear

Class presentations

Project groups in this class will have 2 to 3 members. Project deliverables must be commensurate with the group size. Each member will be graded separately for their part in the project. Each project group will deliver multiple presentations—proposal, design, and final demonstration. Each group member must present at least once. All group members must be present during their class presentation to answer questions from the class and the instructor.

Presentations will count toward the grade corresponding to each part of the project part—in addition to other deliverables. Students are encouraged to use the feedback provided for the presentations from peers and the instructor toward next steps.

Class presentation and class participation grading rubric—available here.

Finally, when in doubt, always ask the instructor.

Assessment & Evaluation

Discussion points, completion of interactive video quizzes, and overall class participation 15%
Homework (3 sets) 30%
Mid-term exam 10%
CITI training 5%
Course project 40%
project proposal 5%
req specs 10%
sketch diary 10%
formative evaluation 5%
final product 10%
Total 100%


89.5—100 A
79.5—89.4 B
69.5—79.4 C
49.5—69.4 D
0—49.4 F

Letter grades are determined at the end of the semester. The default cutoffs are provided above. These boundaries may be adjusted downwards if necessary because of the difficulty of the assignments, but the boundaries will never be adjusted upwards, so a final average of 90 is guaranteed to be an A. The boundary adjustment is done heuristically, and there are no grade quotas, no grade targets, and no centering of the class on a particular grade boundary.

Attendance, Assignment Deadlines, and Late Policy:

Attendance. Attendance is not required, but recommended. Attendance during group project presentations/ discussions and labs is mandatory. Your class participation grade will partly be based on your participation during paper discussions. So please plan to attend enough of them.

Lateness and Extensions. To give you some flexibility for periods of heavy workload, minor illness, absence from campus, job interviews, and other occasional (but often predictable) circumstances, you may use limited extensions on HW deadlines, called slack days. Each slack day is a 24-hour extension on the deadline. You have a budget of 5 slack days for the entire semester, which you may apply to any combination for individual assignments. Slack days apply only to individual problem sets, not to group work.

To use a slack day, just submit the assignment late. You DO NOT need to notify the staff. When we grade your assignment, we will see that you submitted late, and dock you the appropriate number of slack days in our records. You are responsible for keeping track of the slack days you’ve used. If you have used up your slack days you will need an instructor’s permission for more extension.

Supplementary Materials

This course aims at assisting students to achieve an intermediate level of mastery in HCI skills. The course requires a variety of skills, including designing user interfaces, conceptualizing ideas, building computing prototypes, user evaluation, data collection, analysis, and interpretation. Because enrolled students may have different exposure to these different skills, this section lists additional materials that can be helpful to be successful in this course.

This is a fast-paced course, with multi-disciplinary reading materials, and students are strongly encouraged to pro-actively use the supplementary materials (freely available online) as deemed necessary.

Website Available support
Stack Overflow
Your one-stop shop for common coding problems.

Following courses are related to this course:

  • Design Thinking for Innovation
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Bayesian Statistics: From Concept to Data Analysis
  • Social Computing
  • Designing, Running, and Analyzing Experiments
  • Interactivity with JavaScript
Helpful courses:
  • Introduction to Video Editing
  • Premiere Pro CC Essential Training (2015)

Guidelines & Policies

Attendance Policy. Class attendance is not always mandatory; however, research indicates that students who attend class are more likely to be successful. You are encouraged to attend every class.

Academic Misconduct. All students should aspire to the highest standards of academic integrity. Using another student’s work on an assignment, cheating on a test, not quoting or citing references correctly, or any other form of dishonesty or plagiarism shall result in a grade of zero on the item and possibly an F in the course. Incidences of academic misconduct shall be referred to the Department Head and repeated violations shall result in dismissal from the program.

All students are responsible for reading, understanding, and applying the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct and in particular the section on academic misconduct. Refer to UIC student affairs.

All students are strongly encouraged to read what constitutes plagiarism here and complete this short tutorial here. You must document the difference between your writing and that of others. Use quotation marks in addition to a citation, page number, and reference whenever writing someone else’s words (e.g., following the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association).

Cheating. Cheating is an attempt to use or provide unauthorized assistance, materials, information, or study aids in any form and in any academic exercise or environment. A student must not use external assistance on any “in-class” or “take-home” examination, unless the instructor specifically has authorized external assistance. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, the use of tutors, books, notes, calculators, computers, and wireless communication devices. A student must not use another person as a substitute in the taking of an examination or quiz, nor allow other persons to conduct research or to prepare work, without advanced authorization from the instructor to whom the work is being submitted. A student must not use materials from a commercial term paper company, files of papers prepared by other persons, or submit documents found on the Internet. A student must not collaborate with other persons on a particular project and submit a copy of a written report that is represented explicitly or implicitly as the student’s individual work. A student must not use any unauthorized assistance in a laboratory, at a computer terminal, or on fieldwork. A student must not steal examinations or other course materials, including but not limited to, physical copies and photographic or electronic images. A student must not submit substantial portions of the same academic work for credit or honors more than once without permission of the instructor or program to whom the work is being submitted. A student must not, without authorization, alter a grade or score in any way, nor alter answers on a returned exam or assignment for credit.

Fabrication. A student must not falsify or invent any information or data in an academic exercise including, but not limited to, records or reports, laboratory results, and citation to the sources of information.

Plagiarism. Plagiarism is defined as presenting someone else’s work, including the work of other students, as one’s own. Any ideas or materials taken from another source for either written or oral use must be fully acknowledged, unless the information is common knowledge. What is considered “common knowledge” may differ from course to course. A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another person without acknowledgment. A student must give credit to the originality of others and acknowledge indebtedness whenever: directly quoting another person’s actual words, whether oral or written; using another person’s ideas, opinions, or theories; paraphrasing the words, ideas, opinions, or theories of others, whether oral or written; borrowing facts, statistics, or illustrative material; or offering materials assembled or collected by others in the form of projects or collections without acknowledgment

Interference. A student must not steal, change, destroy, or impede another student’s work, nor should the student unjustly attempt, through a bribe, a promise of favors or threats, to affect any student’s grade or the evaluation of academic performance. Impeding another student’s work includes, but is not limited to, the theft, defacement, or mutilation of resources so as to deprive others of the information they contain.

Violation of Course Rules. A student must not violate course rules established by a department, the course syllabus, verbal or written instructions, or the course materials that are rationally related to the content of the course or to the enhancement of the learning process in the course.

Facilitating Academic Dishonesty. A student must not intentionally or knowingly help or attempt to help another student to commit an act of academic misconduct, nor allow another student to use his or her work or resources to commit an act of misconduct.

Right to revise. The instructor reserves the right to make changes to this syllabus as necessary and, in such an event, will notify students of the changes immediately.

Grievance Procedures. UIC is committed to the most fundamental principles of academic freedom, equality of opportunity, and human dignity involving students and employees. Freedom from discrimination is a foundation for all decision making at UIC. Students are encouraged to study the University’s Nondiscrimination Statement. Students are also urged to read the document Public Formal Grievance Procedures. Information on these policies and procedures is available on the University web pages of the Office of Access and Equality.

Course Evaluations. Because student ratings of instructors and courses provide very important feedback to instructors and are also used by administrators in evaluating instructors, it is extremely important for students to complete confidential course evaluations online known as the Campus Program for Student Evaluation of Teaching evaluation. You will receive an email from the Office of Faculty Affairs inviting you to complete your course evaluations and will receive an email confirmation when you have completed each one.

For more information, please refer to the UIC Course Evaluation Handbook.

Results for the “six core questions” will be published on the UIC course evaluation website.

Mental Health. We value your mental health and emotional wellness as part of the UIC student experience. The UIC Counseling Center offers an array of services to provide additional support throughout your time at UIC, including workshops, peer support groups, counseling, self-help tools, and initial consultations to speak to a mental health counselor about your concerns. Please visit the Counseling Center website for more information ( Further, if you think emotional concerns may be impacting your academic success, please contact your faculty and academic advisers to create a plan to stay on track.