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CMSC 434: Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction

University of Maryland | Department of Computer Science | Fall 2009 | Dr. Ben Bederson

Class hours: Mon & Wed, 2pm - 3:15pm Room: 1121 CSIC

Contact information

Name Office Email ( Phone Office Hours
Dr. Ben Bederson 3171 AVW bederson 301-405-2764 Mon 11:30-12:30 & Wed 3:30-4:30
Megan Monroe (TA) 1112 AVW madeyjay Tues 2:00-4:00


Web resources:,,,,, UCD Book

Tools: Eclipse, Google Web Toolkit, JQuery

People: People and Term Projects

Topics: Science base (theories, models, and studies) and user interface design and development. Graphical user interfaces for desktop, web, and mobile devices. Assess usability by quantitative methods. Conduct task analyses, usability tests, expert reviews, and continuing assessments of working products by interviews, surveys, and logging. Apply design processes and guidelines to develop professional quality user interfaces. Build low-fidelity paper mockups, and a high-fidelity prototype using contemporary tools.

Homework: Critiques, web development, analyze problem, design and create web solution. All homeworks are due by class time on the due date.

Term Projects: (teams of 4): User needs assessment, design, usability test, and re-design. All project deliverables are due by class time on the due date.

Week Topic Reading (Lidwell and Papers w/ Questions) Term Project Homework HOF/S
1: 8/31 Introduction xx / xx
2: 9/7
No class 9/7
Usability 20 (Affordance), 128 (Mapping), 130 (Mental Model)
Norman (Quest), Johnson (Quest)
Wiki (9/7) xx / xx
3: 9/14 Usability evaluation 100 (Gutenberg Diagram), 142 (Ockham's Razor), 134 (Mnemonic Device)
Lewis (Quest), Preece (Quest), Tullis (Quest)
Critique (9/14)
HTML & CSS (9/16)
ETA-ARB (Pres) / MEB-MAB (Pres)
4: 9/21 Ideation / participatory design 62 (Development cycle), 118 (Iteration), 158 (Prototyping)
Winograd (Quest), Kelley (Quest)
Proposal (9/21) TC-JC (Pres) / MNC-BD (Pres)
5: 9/28
No class 9/28
Personas / roles 24 (Archetypes), 186 (Storytelling)
Druin (Quest)
Javascript & GWT (9/30) xx / MMF-BCF (Pres)
6: 10/5 Prototypes Arnowitz (Quest) User Needs (10/5) ASG-JEG (Pres)/ MEH-RSH
7: 10/12 Perception & visual design 22 (Alignment), 34 (Closure), 64 (Entry Point), 80 (Figure-Ground Relationship), 94 (Garbage In - Garbage Out), 98 (Good Continuation), 104 (Hierarchy), 124 (Legibility), 160 (Proximity), 184 (Similarity), 190 (Symmetry), 200 (Uniform Connectedness)
Ware (Quest)
First design (10/12) LDH-AJJ (Pres) / AGK- MPK (Pres)
8: 10/19 Design guidelines 12 (80/20 Rule), 44, (Confirmation), 46 (Consistency), 66 (Error), 88 (Forgiveness), 174 (Scaling Fallacy), 202 (Visibility)
Lausen (Quest), Mac, PC
Database (10/21) JJ-OMB (Pres) / BTM-EMN (Pres)
9: 10/26 Human Interface guidelines
10/28 Midterm
(Prev. Midterm)
(Current Midterm)
106 (Hierarchy of Needs), 154 (Progressive Disclosure)
Norman (Quest)
Task list & Q (10/26) SMO-RMO ( Pres: Media:Hofs.ppt ) / xx
10: 11/2 Low-level models 30 (Chunking), 82 (Fitts' Law), 102 (Hick's Law), 108 (Highlight), 114 (Interference Effect), 146 (Orientation Sensitivity), 148 (Performance Load), 150 (Performance vs. Preference), 164 (Recognition over Recall)
Card (Quest), Fitts
CRP-TO Media:crpto.pdf / AMP-TJR Media: outlook.ppt
11: 11/9 High-level models 36 (Cognitive Dissonance), 60 (Depth of Processing), 76 (Feedback loop), 86 (Flexibility-Usability Tradeoff), 128 (Mapping), 110 (Iconic Representation)
Shneiderman (Quest), Show Me!
Usability test (11/9) TSR Media:Roganhofs.ppt / ANS-NS - Media: kotaku.ppt
12: 11/16 Infovis Spence (Quest), Card (Quest)
Preece (Quest)
Models (11/18) Tandeep-Sasha | Presentation / BDS-CKS | Pres
13: 11/23
Mobile & Devices Bergman (Quest)
Xerox Star (Quest), Weiser (Quest)
NVT-WSV - Winamp Pres/ JLW-JY - Presentation
14: 11/30 Quantitative evaluation Raskin (Quest), Hinton (Quest) Report (12/2) Comment (12/4) -- / --
15: 12/7 Student reports Presentation signup
No class 12/9
Presentation (12/7) xx / xx

Final Exam: Thursday, Dec. 17, 1:30-3:30pm in our regular classroom - Prev. Final

Writing: This course involves a lot of writing. You will be graded on your writing quality as well as your writing content. Good writing conveys ideas more clearly than poor writing, and the process of writing down your thoughts often helps to clarify them. Thus it is to your advantage to make the effort to organize your thoughts and write well.

Late Assignments and Excused Absences policy: All assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the day that they are due. The paper part (if any) must be turned in in class, and the electronic part (if any) must be submitted by the time of the beginning of class. Late assignments will be strictly penalized. Exceptional circumstances will be considered only if discussed with me in advance. Students claiming an excused absence must apply in writing and furnish documentary support (such as from a health care professional who treated the student) for any assertion that the absence qualifies as an excused absence. The support should explicitly indicate the dates or times the student was incapacitated due to illness. Self-documentation of illness is not itself sufficient support to excuse the absence. Instructors are not under obligation to offer a substitute assignment or to give a student a make-up assessment unless the failure to perform was due to an excused absence. An excused absence for an individual typically does not translate into an extension for team deliverables on a project. All late assignments will have points deducted as follows:

  • -20%: Up to 24 hours late
  • -50%: Up to 48 hours late
  • -100%: More than 48 hours late


  • Exams: (15 + 15)%
  • Homework, HOF/S, and class participation: 30%
  • Term Project: 40%

Feedback: The department and I welcome feedback about the course. Feel free to communicate directly with me at any time. But please fill out the course evaluation at the end of the semester (between Dec 1 and Dec 13) at

Consult the User's Guide for information on using this wiki.