INF231: User Interface Design and Evaluation

Instructor: Alfred Kobsa
(email: <last name> @


Disclaimer: These are guidelines are intended to help students plan their work in this class. However, the instructor does reserve the right to make changes if needed, including students' signups.

General Educational Aims: This course provides an introduction to the field of human-computer interaction (HCI), with an emphasis on user interface design and evaluation. Students will learn methods for user needs and task analysis as well as interface testing, and guidelines for good user interface design.

Requirements: Graduate level. Students should have used computers and different software for at least one year.

Format: Lecture by instructor, quarter-long term project with internal and external clients, project presentations.

This class vs. INF232: This class will focus on practical HCI skills and training. It will cater to the needs of master students and of those PhD students who are mostly interested in the practical aspects of HCI.
The INF 232 class will instead cater to Ph.D. students who intend to focus on HCI as a research topic (MS students who are particularly qualified and theoretically inclined can also be admitted). It will focus on influential HCI literature, HCI theory, and current research questions. A familiarity with basic HCI topics and methods will be assumed.

Time and Location:  

    Lecture: MW 2:00-3:20pm, MSTB 110. Starts on Oct. 2

The discussions are mostly for project meetings, sometimes with the customer. Register for one discussion/project only. The instructor reserves the right though to reassign students to ensure suitable head counts and skill sets.

    Discussion 1 (code 37341): M 9-10:50am MSTB 110 and F 9-10:50am DBH 1431. Starts on Oct. 6

Project 1: Facilitating job search with social support and gamification (Naomi Sugie, UCI, nsugie at
This project aims for the design of a user interface for an application that assists released convicts in finding jobs. Special attention should be paid to the inclusion of real-time job information, peer-based social support, a GPS-based "check-in" function when at potential employers, and the integration of gamification elements to sustain user engagement over time.  Students should develop early designs for the different system components, solicit feedback from the target audience, and consider this feedback during the development of an interactive mockup. Students should decide whether a standalone Android app or a browser extension for Facebook is the better approach. 

    Discussion 2 (code 37342): Tu 2-3:50pm MSTB 110 and Th 2-3:50pm SSL152. Starts on Oct. 3

Project 2: Usability design for chatbot in a group collaboration scenario (Dakuo Wang, IBM Research, dakuow1 at
The aim of the project is to look into the usefulness of an intelligent agent (chatbox) in a textual group collaboration, with the aim of improving the collaboration. The topic can be approached from different perspectives, and it is up to the student team to decide whether it is practical to achieve any or all of these goals:

Required readings:

Further readings at your leisure:

Grading:    50% for project (partially peer evaluation)        
                   45% for final exam on Monday Dec 11 at 10:30-12:30pm

                   5% for homework
                   up to 10% bonus for active in-class participation
                   up to 10% penalty for
for missing customer/group presentations and customer meetings

Academic honesty:  see here
Efficient reading: see here
Students with Disabilities
: see here
Medical, emergency: send email with documentation
Professional: send email with documentation beforehand

Adding/Dropping:  Since the projects start right away, the class can only be added/dropped until 12 noon on Wednesday, Oct. 4.
                                (drop it on WebReg, or send email to instructor)

EEE Classmates: Please release your photo and email address to your classmates
                                (this is useful for collaboration and peer evaluation).

Course Evaluation: Midterm feedback form and final course evaluation

Course Notes:  see here

Office hours: After class, or Mondays 3:30-4:30pm in 6091 Bren Hall (contact me in class or send email beforehand)

Announcements: You should check your UCI email account regularly. If you prefer to read your email on another account, you should set your UCInetID account to forward your Email to your preferred account.


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(*) Codes for readings:
        BCC ... Baxter, Courage and Caine
        F&F... Farkas & Farkas
        R&C... Rubin & Chisnell