Foundations of Human-Centered Design
Course Composition and Objectives
- The Need For and Role of Usability: Describe the need for usability in interfaces and systems, and the role of usability in system design.
- Explain when and why studying and designing for humans in a context of use is necessary and be able to note the payoffs.
- Be able to describe examples where supporting the user lead to success and lack of support lead to failure.
- Describe and contrast career options and fields that study humans and information technology.
- Characteristics of Individual Users: Describe a coherent theory of the mental, physical, and perceptual processes that users use to interact with interfaces and systems, and also learn how to learn more about these processes through further readings and studying their use of systems.
- Describe how users interact with interfaces using hands, eyes, and ears.
- Describe how attention, memory, and learning interact when using an interface.
- Describe how mental representations, problem solving and decision making influence interaction.
- Understand these characteristics of users through small empirical studies.
- Characteristics of Groups of Users: Describe issues related to how groups of users interact with a system, and how to learn more through further readings and studying groups of users interacting with systems.
- Describe frameworks for organizing and understanding issues related to how users are influenced by social interaction.
- Describe the practices of effective teamwork and how to support effective teamwork through design.
- Gather and interpret empirical data about technology-mediated teamwork.
- The Design Process of Systems and Systems of Systems: Describe the design process including the role of usability in the design process.
- Describe the stages and iterative nature of the design process, including requirements gathering techniques.
- Describe how low fidelity prototypes can be utilized as part of the design process.
- Understand the implications and trade-offs of usability considerations such as ease of learning, effectiveness, and efficiency in all stages of the design process.
- Apply user-centered design to an artifact.
- Task Analysis and User Studies: Describe and perform a task analysis. They will also describe a user study and understand its role in interface testing.
- Analyze and specify the tasks to support with an interface.
- Use different techniques to elicit task information from users not like themselves
- Identify the characteristics of the tasks that will impact the usability of the user interface.
- Design and conduct a usability study.
- Instructors Choice: Instructors may choose topics and learning objectives that meet the spirit of the course as defined here. Instructors may choose to devote more time to the learning objectives listed above or to add additional, complementary objectives. Supplementary material and objectives should not overlap with the defined content of other courses in the curriculum.
This course provides a focused introduction to one of the most complicated parts of information systems design: users and the contexts in which they live, work, and play. This course provides a balance between theory and practice, which are tightly intertwined in this area. Students will learn how to use social science theories about human capabilities and group behavior to predict whether an information system will be usable and useful. Students will also gain skills in designing and evaluating information systems that meet the needs of a target audience. The format of the class may include lectures, readings, in-class or online discussions, projects, or case studies. Assessment of student performance may include short assignments, quizzes, exams, or in-depth projects.