HCI Introduction

Introduction to the Course

In this course you will learn the basics of human-computer interaction (HCI). The course is "project-based", not lecture-based; this means that the various ideas and skills that you have to learn are presented by taking you through a set of exercises and tasks, rather than by having them presented on a blackboard and OHP. At the end of the course you will have had "hands-on" experience of HCI, and be able to design and implement better interactive systems from a practical as well as a theoretical viewpoint.

Much of the work requires you to work cooperatively with each other, sometimes in pairs, sometimes in groups of many more. Group work is a common activity in the outside world and experiencing it here is in itself a useful undertaking. There are many things that go towards successful groupwork, and they are not all presented below. However, some of these ideas may be new to you and they are worth pursuing to make your group more coherent, harmonious and effective.
Working in Groups

Much of what you need to learn you will encounter as you work through the exercises. There are two important points to note.

  1. The first is that this course requires you to use your intelligence, to think things through carefully, to be creative, artistic, logical, thoughtful and precise. You cannot get away with hoping to come along, be told what to do, make a few notes and then go away. It requires effort and commitment on your behalf before you will achieve any benefit from the course.
  2. The second point is that often there will be concepts you do not fully understand or that we hardly touch upon. As with most other lecture courses, there is work to be done outside of the lectures, and this course is no different. You should expect to go away and look up things in books and journals, to read about new concepts and skills, and to work on your own initiative. Many references to specific things will be made, either explicitly or implicitly, but the more that you read, the better.

    In particular, you are expected to work your way through the relevant sections of "Human-Computer Interaction" by Dix, Finlay, Abowd and Beale (Prentice-Hall, 1993).

Coursework description