Paper Outline for 158.359 Human-Computer Interaction


Paper Number and Title: 158.359: Human-Computer Interaction


Credits Value: 15                                                                     Semester: S1    

Campus: Albany                                                                      Mode: Internal

Paper Coordinator: Brian Whitworth  SEAT Building 106, Room 20F
Office Hours: Quad A quadrangle or quad A office, Wed 1-3pm (before class) or by email appointment. Email:

Other Contributing Staff: Tong Liu, SEAT Building 106, Room 20B

Aim: To introduce students to the importance of Human-Computer Interaction in IT system evaluation, design and development. By linking human factors to IT factors, the course develops human-centred design principles to create user-friendly information and communication systems. It is a seminal paper for any graduates who want to develop systems that people enjoy using. It provides guidelines to system development based on what we know about how people work.


Calendar Prescription: Analysis, design and evaluation of interfaces to allow efficient and effective use of interactive systems, focusing on the user-centred design approach as a key part of the software development lifecycle. Practical examples will be taken from areas such as multimedia, the web and novel interface applications.


Learning Outcomes:

A student who successfully completes this paper will be able to:

a. Define and describe the basic principles of human information processing (including sensation, perception cognition and interaction) (HCI Lecture Series, Tests, Exam)

b. Be able to illustrate them with examples from a Web environment (Assignment 1)

c. Apply the principles of HCI to evaluate a web site or IT design (Assignment 1, Assignment 2)

d. Make design recommendations based on HCI for a web site or IT system (Assignment 2)

This course is not only about factual information, but also aims to help students form healthy social attitudes and skills, to be a productive member of society. Hence the following objectives are also pursued:

a. To be helpful to other people (students should help each other).

b. To fulfill obligations to the group (students will work in groups on some assignments).

c. To be effectual and professional (students are expected to plan and prepare their work on time).

d. To be honest and fair (students will not cheat or plagiarize the work of others).

e. To be open-minded and creative (students are encouraged to explore new things, and staff do not consider they know all the answers).

Prerequisite(s): 157.2xx or 158.2xx or 159.2xx


Corequisite(s): none


Restrictions: 159.353, 157.356, 157.359, 159.318


Assessment: Course assessment (subject to modification) is broken down as follows:




Assignment 1. Illustrate HCI Principles


Assignment 2. HCI Evaluation


Mid-term Test Lessons 1-4


Final Exam Lessons 1-8





Written material:

a. Loose material is not acceptable. Do not submit assignments with expensive bindings, as you may have to come to get them back. Your work is not judged by its cover. A single staple in the top left corner is satisfactory for most printed work. Your name must be on all work submitted.

b. ALL WRITTEN WORK MUST BE SPELL CHECKED. Bad spelling indicates carelessness or ignorance, and spell checking is easy to do. For any assignment, any spelling error found that could have been detected by a spell checker will result in an automatic deduction of 5% out of 100% from the final grade.


All assignments submitted for this course originate in computer form. Students must retain a copy on their own computer of all material submitted, as backup in case something happens to their submitted work. By submitting any material to this course for assessment, the student authorizes instructors to retain a copy of that material for grading and teaching. Instructors may reference a part of that material, or parts of it, given the student involved is anonymous, for the purpose of instructing other students, and for their learning benefit.


Deadlines and Penalties: Assignments must be done professionally and submitted on time. Being on time is part of being professional. Plan to complete assignments with this in mind. If you leave things until the last moment, you are predictably vulnerable to the unexpected. All assignments due in class (see Timetable) are due at the beginning of the stated class period. For assessments that involve specific events, like project progress presentations and the final presentation, no “late” or “redo” is possible, as part of the desired learning experience is that event. For the final project, the time deadline for submission is very tight, so each working day late will reduce the points graded out of by 10, and projects submitted more than two days late will not be accepted, except under exceptional circumstances. Other assignments lose 10% for each working day late, and will not be accepted at all after five days (over one working week late).


Requirements to Pass the Paper: All of the course assessments must be attempted. Also note that failure to complete any of these requirements will lead to a DNC unless covered by the Aegrotat Regulations.


E-learning Category: Web supported through the syllabus and other materials available at Stream


Conditions for Aegrotat Pass: As this paper does not have a compulsory assessment element that occurs at a fixed time and place aegrotat applications will not be considered. Contact the Paper Coordinator if you are unable to complete assessment elements because of illness, injury or a serious crisis.


Conditions for Impaired Performance: If you consider that your performance in, or preparation for, an examination, or another compulsory assessment element that occurs at a fixed time and place, has been seriously impaired by illness, injury or a serious crisis, you may apply for an impaired performance consideration.  You must apply on the form available from the Examinations Office, the Student Health Service or the Student Counselling Service.


Student Time Budget: Information Systems Project is a 15-credit paper. That equates to 12.5 hours of work per week for a 15-week semester, or the equivalent of over 4 weeks of full-time work (187 hours).


Textbook and Other Resources: Students will use the web links given in the course presentations.
Recommended book:
Gregory, R. L., 1998, The Oxford Companion to the Mind, Oxford University Press, New York



Wednesday 3-56pm in room AT6

For each lesson you should:

1. Print off the lesson print version and bring to class to make notes on.

2. Attend the class and the tutorial, as both are important.

3. Download the Powerpoint Show and run it. Click on the main links to understand the ideas. If you like a link, you can add it to your favorites under "HCI"
Note: In this class, as well as recommend HCI changes to a computer system, you must also give valid reasons in support.







26 Feb

HCIIntro Introduction
HCI1 Brain vs Computer (print version)
(shared control, storage by connections, overlaid processing)

Course outline
Assignment 1 issued.
Form groups, name and coordinator, confirmation email.


5 Mar

Brain vs Computer 2 ctd (parallel analysis, process driven, chaotic)

Groups: Prepare Asg 1a
Test Questions1



HCI2  Sensations and Attention (print version)
(Distraction, boredom, information overload, expectations, habituation)

Submit assignment 1a to Stream
Present assignment 1a

: Prepare assignment 1a Review Test Questions2



HCI3  Perception (print version)
(Color, brightness, saturation, object constancies, surface, textons)

Present assignment 1a (ctd)
Test Questions3



HCI4  Recognizing Things (print version)
(figure vs ground, framing, features, categorization, associations, chunking)

Groups: Prepare assignment 1b, Assignment 2 issued and discussed
Test Questions4


2 April

HCI5  Space & Movement (print version)
(contours, postural axes, anchoring, depth cues, movement cues, spatial models)

Present assignment 1b
Test Questions5



HCI6  (22Mb with sounds) Sound, Language, Thought and Sense Integration (print version).

Present assignment 1b (ctd)

Work on Assignment 2
Test Questions6



BREAK 14 – 25 April



30 Apr

Mid-Term Exam (one hour, open book)


Plan Assignment 2


7 May

HCI7a  Interactivity (print version)
(feedback loops, searches, navigations, use of controls, purpose)

Present assignment 1c
: work on Assignment 2
Test Questions7



HCI7b Interactivity (ctd) (print version)

Present assignment 1c (ctd)



HCI8  Learning (print version)
(play, trust, context, structuring, adaptation, relationships, groups)

Assignment 2 due
Test Questions8



HCI8 (ctd)

Exam Review


Study Week June 2-6

 Final Exam (HCI1-8) 2 Hours, closed book.

Plagiarism: Massey University, College of Sciences, has taken a firm stance on plagiarism and any form of cheating. Plagiarism is the copying or paraphrasing of another person’s work, whether published or unpublished, without clearly acknowledging it. It includes copying the work of other students. Plagiarism will be penalized; it is likely to lead to loss of marks for that item of assessment and may lead to an automatic failing grade for the paper and/or exclusion from enrolment at the University.


Grievance Procedures: A student who claims that he/she has sustained academic disadvantage as a result of the actions of a University staff member should use the University Grievance Procedures. Students, whenever practicable, should in the first instance approach the University staff member concerned. If the grievance is unresolved with the staff member concerned, the student should then contact the College of Sciences office on his/her campus for further information on the procedures, or read the procedures in the University Calendar.


Additional links:

·       The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction

·       Jakob Nielsen's Website UseIt

·       A collection Tessellations

·       Escher's amazing optical illusions that illustrate how perception works

·       How to reference electronic stuff you copied