Nowadays, computing devices are ubiquitously present and integrated in our daily life. Sensors and actuators are, indeed, embedded in home appliances, lights, or cars; wearable devices like smart watches provide information at glance and act as always-on and personal digital extensions; smartphones and tablets are widely spread. Moreover, most of such devices are Internet-connected and people communicate with them by using various interaction paradigms, ranging from “click”, to “touch”, to gestures, speech, or tangible manipulation. As the technology improves, however, we are challenged of how to design suitable interfaces and interactions, so that people can use such technologies with “joy” rather than “frustration”.
This course would provide a strong foundation to address this challenge. In addition, the course will give students hands-on practice to master this complexity and to develop innovative solutions by adopting a modern human-centered design process while building a web application to serve a set of target users. In the end, students will learn how to design and build technologies usable, useful, and used.
- Concepts of Usability, User Experience
- User Centered Design (UCD) processes and their application
- Novel Interaction Technologies
- Developing a working prototype according to the UCD process
- Mastering some novel interaction technologies
- Experience joint development of a project in a group of engineers
- Programming skills
- Knowledge on web and related technologies/languages (e.g., HTML, JS, client-server architectures, …)
- Attitude towards working in teams
Course topics will cover three areas:
- Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction: history, the human, the computer, vision of the future (0.5 credit).
- Building interactive applications with a human-centered process. The main tasks and methods to design, develop, and evaluate an interactive application: needfindings strategies, low- and high-fidelity prototypes, mental models and visual design, heuristic evaluation, and basic concepts and methods for controlled experiments (3 credits of lectures and exercises).
This part will focus, in general, on the design process. In parallel, the concepts will be applied to a specific application domain and a specific interaction technology and carried on during the lab hours in the course projects developed by student groups (1.5 credits).
- “Beyond WIMP” paradigms: e.g., tangible interaction, wearables, voice user interfaces, gestures, eye tracking, and interaction with IoT systems. Each paradigm will be discussed from different perspectives, ranging from rationale and vision, to contemporary examples and development tools (1 credit). Thematic seminars on emerging topics will also be included, as well as the illustration of specific “case studies”.
Most of the topics will have a theoretical (in-class) foundation plus hands-on (in-lab) experiences by using web technologies. Students’ projects will follow the proposed human-centered design process and will submit deliverables corresponding to the completion of the process steps. Projects will consist of a modern web application, in which one of the “beyond WIMP” technologies is exploited for user interaction.
During the course, communication within teams and with teachers as well as project development will adopt contemporary solutions and tools (e.g., Git and GitHub, Slack, …).
The learning method is both project-based (i.e., students learn by doing a project) and problem-based (i.e., the project work starts from real users’ needs), with teams of students working together towards a common goal.
Project-related activities will start since the beginning of the course and teachers will provide support and guidance for the entire semester. The project will be accompanied by deliverables to be prepared before given deadlines.
The course may include live seminars by people from industry or other organizations.
* Course slides and related materials (e.g., links, readings, …)
* Selected chapters of:
- Alan Dix, Janet Finlay, Gregory Abowd, Russell Beale: Human Computer Interaction, 3rd Edition, Prentice Hall, 2004, ISBN 0-13-046109-1
- Shneiderman, Plaisant, Cohen, Jacobs, Elmqvist & Diakopoulos: Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction, 6th Edition, Pearson, 2016, 013438038X / 9780134380384
Modalità di esame: prova scritta; prova orale obbligatoria; progetto di gruppo;
Exam: written test; compulsory oral exam; group project;
The exam consists in a written test (in class) and in the evaluation of the projects (required deliverable plus source code).
The written exam will be close-note and on the topics covered during the lectures (i.e., no code or project-related questions). It will account for 40% of the score, with a minimum threshold.
The evaluation criteria for the project include: effort invested in the project activity; originality, complexity, and richness of the solution; methodological and technical correctness; completeness and communication quality of the deliverables; presentation and oral discussion. It will account for 60% of the score.