CMSC 434
Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction

Evan Golub (
Please put [434] in the subject.

Office Hours in AVW 1115, announced weekly
Tuesday 3/14 between 2pm and 3pm
Wednesday 3/15 between 1pm and 3pm
Thursday 3/16 between 2pm and 3pm


Final Exam - Tuesday, May 16th from 6:30-8:30pm (room TBA)

03/22: Homework #4 has been posted. As with HW3, the 'clock' starts after Spring Break. Also, please read about the deadline for this one and plan accordingly.

03/19: A clarification to the format of the PDF has been added to the bottom of the homework #3 explanation.

03/17: Homework #3 has been posted. The 'clock' starts after Spring Break, so it's not due until April 3rd. I'm posting it now just in case anyone prefers being able to start it during the break. The ELMS entry will appear in the next few days but the full description is at the above link.

03/15: The midterm exams will be returned in class tomorrow (I won't be having you use the gradescope system). The adjusted scores appear on the server. The maximum is listed as 107 because that was the highest adjusted score possible. When determining grades at the end of the semester, I will treat the exam as "out of 100."

03/14: To make up for today's snow day, please view the video posted on ELMS and read slide set 09a before Thursday's class meeting. The video is a subset of the slide material and my discussion on the video is meant to provide an overview of the topic. Following things that I've read and heard about posting video lectures, the video is under 10 minutes long. I have posted three versions of different video quality to provide different bandwidth versions, though it looks like ELMS might have shrunk them all so you should probably just start with the higher quality one and if it plays fine go with that. They are all in the same folder:

03/04: I've posted some sample questions based on submitted ideas (as well as some old sample questions I posted a previous time I taught this course). This is not exhaustive, but rather meant to help you think about the types of questions that could be asked.

03/03: As requested, I've made a quick list of topics we've covered in advance of next week's midterm. My focus was on the big ideas we covered and their primary sub-parts. One way to perhaps use this is to study as you would normally, and then afterward take a look at this and see if there are any things from it that you don't recall.

02/28: Phase 2 has been posted.

02/28: Homework 2 has been posted.

02/21: A new required reading, connected to an earlier topic. Getting to Know Users and Their Tasks. I think there are some interesting points in here. We've discussed things in here, but I'd like everyone to read this for another person's viewpoint.

02/12: Just a quick reminder that the slides are posted as PDF either soon before or soon after we discuss the topics related to them in class and the full slides are required readings and a link to them always appears in the menu on the right-hand side of the site. Class time will typically be spent on things that cannot be as easily conveyed just by the written word. Also, the slides will often help pull individuals points together.

02/07: The Phase 1.2 entry is now live on ELMS. I'm trying something I haven't before by setting up groups, so you should each be in an ELMS group (like the Slack group) to make it easier for us when grading since it's one submission per group. For this deliverable your team document needs to have between 5 and 7 example task scenarios that you envision represent some of the situations in which people will use your system. More details are in the Phase 1 overview and also within the mini description on ELMS in the assignment entry. It is expected that you will have spoken with some example potential users and/or stakeholders of your system during this sub-phase and this will be reflected in what you submit.

02/03: The next reading is an optional one - Chapter 1 of "Designing the User Interface" (specifically, reading about usability of software in general, and some of our goals in the field of HCI).

02/02: Individual Homework #1 has been posted. It is due on ELMS as a PDF by 11:59pm on Thursday, February 9th.

02/01: I have made an ELMS entry where you will be able to upload the PDF of your pitch/pitch-back. It is due by class time on February 7th. We will be configuring the class Slack channels soon and you will each get invited, but you should start thinking about your team's option even before we have that up.

01/26: Some reflections on your poll responses.
  • There were many examples for software you liked, and some popular words used to describe them were "simple" and "usable" and "easy" and "features"
  • For software you found frustrating, there were also many examples and some overlap with the ones that were liked which is interesting.
  • Experience collaborating with others seems to be a common reply for things you are looking forward to and everyone doing their fair share of the work seems to be a common concern.
  • For the notion of a "computer" there were near-50/50 splits on "Remote Control" and "Cable Box" and "Microwave Oven" and Alexa/Siri was a common suggestion for a missing one, which places a discussion about those on our Tuesday class topics list.

    01/26: There are a few things to read between now and our next class meeting. Here on the main class site please read the syllabus, the first set of slides, and the project overview and phase 1 options. In class on Tuesday part of my plan is to work on team-forming. If you have an idea for a self-designed project, please feel free to contact me via e-mail or come to office hours in AVW 1115 on Monday between 1pm and 3pm. I have also posted two readings on ELMS from Don Norman's "Design of Everyday Things" to help continue to frame some of the challenges of which we should be aware in terms of humans and design. These should be done by Thursday's class meeting time.

    01/12: For now, the "strongly recommended" textbook that I sent you e-mail about is Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (6th Edition). Its ISBN-13 is 978-0134380384. New and used copies should be available at places like Amazon and Barnes and Noble and Book Holders near campus and the campus bookstore.

    This is the 6th edition, and the authors indicated that they have updated many things, and the table of contents reflects reorganization of some of the topics and adding of others. When I assign readings, I will refer to the chapter and section titles of the 6th edition but there is overlap with the 5th edition. Some of the things in the 5th edition are in different places and there are some new things in the 6th edition, but I think for the types of readings that would be optional from DTUI and the goals, it feels like the 5th edition could be ok too. I'd say if you have a strong interest in HCI, it might be more worthwhile having the newer one since reading beyond just what I cover could be useful in a larger scope.

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