Human Computer Interaction Design

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This class aims at familiarising students with theory, terminology and basic definitions in Human Computer Interaction, HCI. The class will focus on how to keep users and their skills, needs and overall profiles central when developing innovative systems. Students will get an awareness and appreciation of the crucial implications of good interfaces in terms of overall system performance and user satisfaction. Simplicity and usability will be the main principles around which the course will be structured. A system that is too difficult to use is useless by definition. User friendly interfaces account for the success of many popular applications, it is enough to think about Google with its simplicity and effectiveness. Examples of good and bad web design will be used extensively during the course as a direct and simple way to get students to thinks of existing problems and solutions when considering user and computer interaction.


Definitions and Formalisms;
User requirement Gathering and Analysis;
Focus Groups, Interviews and Questionnaires;
Scenario Based Approach;
Interface Design;
Use of Metaphors and Models;
Mock-ups and Prototypes;
Evaluation Techniques:
Heuristic vs. Empirical;
Formative Evaluation.

Teaching Mode

Students will be encouraged to take an active role and explore the importance of HCI on software design, development, testing and evaluation.
Classes will alternate traditional lecture based ones with problem based learning sessions when students will be working in small groups to find solutions to problems generated by poor interface design.


Students are encouraged to look at few of the main textbooks in his area including for example:

  • Carroll, J., M. (2002) Human-computer interaction in the new millennium, Addison Wesley
  • Carroll, J., M. (2003) HCI Models, Theories, and Frameworks: Toward a Multidisciplinary Science (Interactive Technologies)
  • Lazar J. Dr.. (2007) Universal Usability: Designing Computer Interfaces for Diverse User Populations, John Wiley and Sons.
  • Raskin J. (2000) The Humane Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems, ACM Press.
  • Shneiderman, B., Plaisant, C. (2004) Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction; Addison-Wesley, 1987. Fourth edition with Catherine Plaisant as co-author 2004.

Students are strongly encouraged to use online sources and journals, starting from the very extensive HCI bibliography web site, by Gary Perlman. It is highly recommended to browse USI library looking at the HCI dedicated shelf, Dewey code 004.019 where students will find all relevant textbooks. Lecturer will point at additional relevant papers for students to read and discuss weekly in class.


ClassSemesterInstructorTeaching Assistant(s)
HCI Design 2016 Fall
Anastasia Giachanou ▫ Evangelos Niforatos
HCI Design 2015 Fall
HCI Design 2014 Spring
HCI Design 2013 Spring
Marco Pasch ▫ Vasilis Triglianos
HCI Design 2012 Spring
Marco Pasch
HCI Design 2011 Spring
Marco Pasch

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