Welcome to the Fall 2012 offering of ENGR3220, Human Factors and Interface Design, the Olin Design Depth Course.
This course meets Mondays and Thursdays 3:20-6:00PM in AC109.
email: amon.millner [at] olin [dot] edu
Office hours: By appointment, or just drop by and see if I'm free.
email: shannon.bator [at] olin.edu
ENGR 3220 Human Factors and Interface Design
Instructor(s): Amon Millner, Shannon Bator
Prerequisites: ENGR 2250 User Oriented Collaborative Design (required); ENGR 2510 Software Design or other software development experience (recommended)
Fulfills Design Depth requirement
A hands-on exploration of the design and development of user interfaces, taking into account the realities of human perception and behavior, the needs of users, and the pragmatics of computational infrastructure and application. Focuses on understanding and applying the lessons of human interaction to the design of usable computer applications; will also look at lessons to be learned from less usable systems. This course will mix studio (open project working time) and seminar (readings and discussion) formats.
Students completing this course should be able to:
- Identify target users for a design; elicit and model their goals.
- Define a conceptual model that supports user tasks to accomplish defined goals.
- Produce an interface/interaction design for a system that embodies a particular conceptual model.
- Construct low and high fidelity prototypes of an interface/interaction design.
- Evaluate prototypes and implemented systems through techniques including
- heuristic evaluation
- user interviews
- (small scale) field studies.
- Refine prototypes based on feedback and evaluation.
- Articulate and apply an understanding of cognitive ergonomics, including the cognitive and perceptual constraints that affect user interface design.
- Understand and apply professional ethics, standards, and obligations, including the conducting of user interactions in an ethical and professional manner.
This course relies on and assesses several specific Olin competencies:
- Qualitative Analysis
Quantitative Analysis and Life-Long Learning also play roles in specific assignments during the semester.
Your course grade will consist of a combination of your grades on:
The course project (approximately 50%). This consists of a series of stages with deadlines on a weekly to bi-weekly basis (as indicated on the CourseCalendar). Grades will generally be assigned per team, not per individual. Intermediate stages will receive feedback, but the final grade on the project will reflect an overall assessment of the written and presentation components of various stages as well as the final product, rather than a weighted sum of intermediate products. Of the 50% of the final grade based on the course project, 30% (i.e., 15% of the final course grade) will be assigned after the completion of the Low-Fidelity Prototype phase.
Individual assignments (approximately 20%). This includes all non-course-project homework assignments during the semester as well as the individual portion of the Assignments/HeuristicEvaluation and the self-assessment reflection.
- The "midterm" (approximately 20%). The name notwithstanding, this will be a self-administered take-home 2 hour exam during early November. A class session has traditionally been provided during which you may take the exam.
- Professionalism (approximately 10% except in extreme cases). This includes class participation, teamwork, adherence to deadlines, collaboration acknowledgements, etc.
Although these percentages are provided as guidance, the grade assigned a student may deviate from these proportions to take into account individual circumstances and factors (including professional conduct) and is determined at the sole discretion of the instructors.
Collaborate liberally. Acknowledge any collaboration. On each assignment, indicate which members on your team played what roles, with whom you spoke (users, classmates, etc.), and any other help (including online research, etc.) you may have received. Also indicate that no help was received beyond that which is documented. Exception: Do not collaborate on the individual assignment or midterm!
- Come to class on time, prepared. Be respectful of others during discussion.
- Class participation matters. Quality, not quantity, is the measure. You may pass when called upon, but frequent passing is strongly discouraged and will be noted.
- Don't use your laptop excessively during discussion periods (researching a point that you're about to make is allowed).
- You are expected to be present at the beginning of each class unless specifically told otherwise. During working sessions, you may leave the classroom but should indicate where you can be found or how we can reach you by leaving a note in a visible place. Instructors will use studio time to check in on group progress, so it is important that you do not simply disappear.
It is your responsibility to let us know (well) in advance if you will need to miss class for any reason. (Reasons that cannot reasonably be known in advance should be communicated as soon as possible after the fact and should be significant.) You are responsible for any missed material.
- Turn in assignments on time. The assignments are tightly sequenced and falling behind in one phase puts the next at risk and places unreasonable burdens on the instructor and your classmates.
We're taking the baton from Lynn Stein - who has taught HFID since it was a baby at Olin. Enormous thanks to Prof. Marti Hearst of UC Berkeley SIMS, who generously allowed Lynn to pilfer her efforts of the last few years. Prof. Scott Klemmer of Stanford gave Lynn permission to reuse some of his assignments, for which we are grateful. Also to the students from past semesters, at Olin and at Harvard, who helped to debug the kinks added to the course...