Information and Computer ScienceUC IrvineDavid G. KayInformatics 131


HCI Notebook: As we discussed the first day of class, we expect every student this quarter to carry at (nearly) all times small notebook (as simple as two quarter-folded sheets of paper or as complex as a hand-held PDA or smartphone). Whenever you observe a particularly bad example of interaction design (or a particularly good one), jot down the details in your notebook. Often these instances are fleeting and subtle; you may think you'll remember and write it down later, but chances are you won't, which is why we want you to carry the notebook and record the details when they occur.

(a) Complete the Informatics 131 Questionnaire and do the other items on the syllabus under "What to do to get started…", including signing yourself up at

(b) Pick two different instances of bad design from your HCI notebook. These may involve computer systems or any human-created object. For this part of the assignment, you may pick relatively small, simple instances (like the signage in Donald Bren Hall, but don't pick ones we discussed in class). For each,

Your description of each instance should be shorter than one single-spaced page of text (though with illustrations it may actually span more than one page). You may prepare any standard type of document (Word, plain text, Open Office); please put your name, student ID number, and UCInet ID at the top.

(c) Pick a web site somewhere at that you use frequently. Analyze it as described above, describing its HCI flaws in terms of Nielsen's guidelines, but in somewhat more detail involving more than one feature or function. As an upper limit, don't spend more than an hour exploring the site and making notes, and don't write more than two single-spaced pages of analysis (which again may span more pages than that as you include illustrations). Add this text to the same document you started in part (b).

Your analysis should address who the intended users of the site are, what the users want to achieve by using the site, how the site failed to serve these users and their goals (including, if applicable, characteristics of the users and their backgrounds that the site designers didn't understand or accommodate well), and what makes your suggested improvements better.

Your analysis should focus on usability issues rather than pure functionality; while the line is sometimes hard to draw (adding a search feature, for example, is increased functionality that also affects the usability of a site), don't try to solve the problems by making the system into something that it wasn't intended to be.

Submitting your work: Please make sure your name, student ID, and UCInet ID are at the top of your document. Submit your work via Checkmate ( If you're new to Checkmate, here are the instructions: Log in to with your UCInet ID, choose "Course Listing" for Summer Session 2 2015, click "Go" next to Informatics 131, and then click "List me for this course."

Written by David G. Kay, Winter 2004, based on assignments by Alfred Kobsa and Nayla Nassif. Modified Summer 2007, Summer 2008, Summer 2010, Summer 2011, Summer 2012, and Summer 2013 by David G. Kay.

David G. Kay,