ISM 210 Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction

Craig Miller

Office: CDM 745
Spring 2019-2020
Class number: 30573
Section number: 601
Tu 1:30PM - 4:45PM


Course Overview

This course familiarizes students with the user interface development process, including user and task analysis, interaction design, prototyping and evaluation. Students study human perception, cognition and motor abilities as they relate to the design of interactive systems. In a series of projects, students design and revise prototypes as they apply a user-centered design process. Emphasized topics include user profiles, information architecture and usability testing. Students provide written analysis of their research and process.

Course Goals

By the end of the quarter, students will be able to:

  • Critique a software application or device using principles of interaction design.
  • Apply user-centered research methods for need finding, generating insights, and developing concepts for interactive systems.
  • Apply user research to design a digital application (website or mobile app) and create an interactive prototype.
  • Apply usability and evaluation methods to improve and refine a design.


Required Texts

Designing for Interaction: Creating Innovative Applications and Devices (2nd Edition), Saffer, Dan. ISBN-10: 0321643399

The Design of Everyday Things (Revised Edition, 2013) - Norman, Donald. ISBN-10: 0465050654


Grade Determination

10% 1 Individual Project
30% (10% each) 3 Team Projects
20% Quizzes (taken online)
25% Summary Report (Individual submission)
15% Individual Contribution

All grades will be assigned a letter grade with a corresponding point value (A = 10, A- = 9, B+ = 8). The final grade will be calculated with a weighted average and assigned the closest corresponding letter grade.

The summary report is an individual submission due during finals week. It includes original insights, reflections or experiences for each of the phases in the user-centered design process. It takes the place of a final exam.

The two quizzes are offered online through D2L. Students will have about a week to complete each one.

The score for individual contribution to class and team projects is based on contributions to class activities, documented contributions in team reports, observed team activities (in class, email or group message boards) and team member reports at the end of the quarter. Students who make solid contributions to their team projects and regularly participate in class (i.e. weekly contribution) receive at least an A- (9 points) of the contribution points. Weekly contribution includes zoom attendance and online posts. Exceptional contributions may receive an A or an A+.

Team presentations occur in the last regular week of class. All students should contribute to the presentation. At the end of the quarter every student is expected to submit a completed evaluation form for each group member.

Team projects will generally be completed in groups of three, four or five. Some class time will be used to coordinate among group members.

All group members are jointly responsible for the entire assignment, although the group may assign primary roles to each group member. Generally, each group member will receive the same score on each project. However, in some cases, additional credit may go to those who make an exceptional contribution to a project and reduced credit to those who contribute little to a project. Any adjustment will be based on a variety of indications including group participation in class, contribution summaries in reports, and student feedback at the end of the quarter.



Course Policies

Students are expected to attend every zoom session or watch the zoom recording.

Late assignments will be accepted up to 3 days late, with a 1 point penalty. Assignments submitted more than 3 days after the due date will not be accepted without an excused absence cleared by the dean of students office.

Additional assignments for extra credit will not be offered.

All grade challenges must be submitted in writing and include an explanation why the given score or grade should be reconsidered.

Tentative Schedule

Week Topic Reading Assignment
Mar 31 Course overview, goals of HCI, UCD vs UXD Norman ch. 1 & 6, Saffer Ch. 1  
Apr 7 IxD Goals and Principles, UxD Process Norman ch. 2 & 3, Saffer ch. 2 & 3 Individual Assignment
Apr 14 Discovery methods, user and task analysis Saffer ch. 4  
Apr 21 Presenting Research, Personas Saffer ch. 5 Quiz 1
Apr 28 Conceptual Design Saffer ch. 6 Team Project 1
May 5 Interaction Design Saffer ch. 7  
May 12 Prototyping Balsamiq notes, Saffer ch. 8  
May 19 Evaluation Saffer ch. 8 continued Team Project 2
May 26 Advanced topics Saffer ch. 9 Quiz 2
Jun 2 Project presentations, review Course notes and presentations Team Project 3
Jun 9     Summary Report

School policies:

Changes to Syllabus

This syllabus is subject to change as necessary during the quarter. If a change occurs, it will be thoroughly addressed during class, posted under Announcements in D2L and sent via email.

Online Course Evaluations

Evaluations are a way for students to provide valuable feedback regarding their instructor and the course. Detailed feedback will enable the instructor to continuously tailor teaching methods and course content to meet the learning goals of the course and the academic needs of the students. They are a requirement of the course and are key to continue to provide you with the highest quality of teaching. The evaluations are anonymous; the instructor and administration do not track who entered what responses. A program is used to check if the student completed the evaluations, but the evaluation is completely separate from the student’s identity. Since 100% participation is our goal, students are sent periodic reminders over three weeks. Students do not receive reminders once they complete the evaluation. Students complete the evaluation online in CampusConnect.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

This course will be subject to the university's academic integrity policy. More information can be found at If you have any questions be sure to consult with your professor.

Academic Policies

All students are required to manage their class schedules each term in accordance with the deadlines for enrolling and withdrawing as indicated in the University Academic Calendar. Information on enrollment, withdrawal, grading and incompletes can be found at

Students with Disabilities

Students who feel they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss their specific needs. All discussions will remain confidential.
To ensure that you receive the most appropriate accommodation based on your needs, contact the instructor as early as possible in the quarter (preferably within the first week of class), and make sure that you have contacted the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at:
Lewis Center 1420, 25 East Jackson Blvd.
Phone number: (312)362-8002
Fax: (312)362-6544
TTY: (773)325.7296