Computer Science

Human Computer Interaction: COMPSCI 345 & SOFTENG 350

Semester 1, City Campus

Note: Main information for enrolled students in on Canvas

Welcome to Human Computer Interaction (HCI). For computer users the interface 'is' the system and for the 'average' system over half the code is entirely about managing the user interaction. This makes HCI an important area of study and research within Computer Science. As you will find during the course, HCI encompasses everything from designing a simple web page like this to developing Virtual Reality environments! We often combine knowledge from psychology, design and computer science.

The course emphasizes two complementary competencies of HCI: the ability to evaluate usability of a user interface, and the ability to design a usable interface. There are three assignments that match key practical competencies for evaluation and design: (1) a usability analysis assignment; (2) a high-level design assignment (including paper prototyping); and (3) a detailed design assignment (including HTML prototyping). In addition, the course includes various theory elements to add depth to your evaluation and design capabilities: e.g. regarding use of colour and sound in interaction, specific topics like gamification and accessibility, and emerging interaction technologies. We have a few guest lecturers each semester to offer broader perspectives.

2018 Class Times

Lectures: There are 3 lectures a week for this class (check them on Student Services Online). Note: we do expect you to attend all lectures! It's always a risk to make a redundant copy of information, but for convenience (as of 19 January, 2018) the 2018 lecture schedule is Wed, Thu, Fri at 4-5pm in LibB28/109-B28.

Tutorials: From week 2 there will be a one hour lab/tutorial sessions each week. Each session is run by one of the course tutors, a PhD student doing work related to HCI. These sessions convey material to support your learning, and particularly your assignment work, as well as providing face-to-face question time in a smaller format than the lecture. You are expected to enrol into one of the lab sessions and attend the session each week.

  • Assignments: 3 at 8%, 10% and 12% of course marks, respectively
  • Term test: 20%
  • Exam (closed book, 2 hour): 50%

Note that you have to pass both the theory (weighted average of test and exam) and practical (average of assignments) components to pass the course.


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Class Representatives


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SOFTENG 3rd year:

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There is no required textbook. We will draw material from a number of sources including previous years' text books (below), both of which are available from the library on short loan. The lectures page will have links to appropriate material.

The Resonant Interface: HCI Foundations for Interaction Design by Steven Heim, 2008
Human-Computer Interaction by Dix, Finlay, Abowd & Beale

601 & 602 Students

Please email Jim Warren to say you are in the class. Please include '345' and '601' or '602' in your subject line. See the topic list and select a topic for your report.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What programming language will we be using?
A: Our implementation project for 2018 will be browser based. You will use HTML5 and CSS with Javascript to create your prototype. No specific prior familiarity with a specific programming language or development environment is assumed. Tutorials and lectures will support you in doing the one assignment that involves this sort of development. We've also collected some useful resources for HTML prototyping for your self-paced learning.

Q: Are the lectures recorded?
A: Yes, all lectures will be recorded and the recordings will be made available on Canvas.


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