CS 6540 | Human-Computer Interaction | Fall 2017

INSTRUCTOR: Miriah Meyer
TIME: M/W 3:00-4:20pm
OFFICE HRS: Th 11-12pm, WEB 4887

TA: Jimmy Moore
OFFICE HRS: W 3-5pm, WEB 3760

This course provides an introduction to several major areas of research in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). It is based in a combination of readings and discussion that span HCI research contributions, methods, and focus areas. The course readings will require preparing reports on a combination of historic framing papers and more current results. This will help you examine what the HCI community considers a meaningful contribution across a variety of problems, thus helping prepare you to understand and make meaningful contributions in these and other areas of HCI. Coursework will include short written discussion of the readings, a final project, a take-home exam, and a short stats exercise The course project will require hands-on experience with HCI, while remaining open to different possibilities. You might choose to design and implement a new piece of HCI technology, or you might choose to design and execute an appropriately compelling study with HCI research implications. We will emphasize open discussion and feedback in all aspects of the course.


week date topic date topic
1 8/21 Syllabus hand-out (enjoy the eclipse!) 8/23 Course overview + history
2 8/28 Visions of HCI 8/30 Contributions in HCI
3 9/4 no class (Labor Day) 9/6 What to evaluate?
4 9/11 Experimental design and analysis 9/13 Experimental design and analysis
5 9/18 Field studies 9/20 Qualitative methods
6 9/25 Thematic analysis 9/27 Proposal presentations
7 10/1 no class (Miriah at VIS) 10/3 no class (Miriah at VIS)
8 10/9 no class (fall break) 10/11 no class (fall break)
9 10/16 Mixed methods 10/18 Grounded theory
10 10/23 Research topic: Games 10/25 Research topic: Cognition
11 10/30 Research topic: Security & Privacy 11/1 Research topic: Design Research
12 11/6 Progress presentations 11/8 Progress presentations
13 11/13 Research topic: New Media Art 11/15 Research topic: Personal Informatics
14 11/20 Research topic: Visualization 11/22 no class
15 11/27 Research topic: Education 11/29 Research topic: Smart Homes
16 12/4 Final presentations 12/6 Final presentations



There are no prerequisites for this class. The final project does not necessarily have to involve programming, but will require competency in working with and designing for digital artifacts. If you are unsure about your background please come talk with me. Grad students from other departments with the appropriate background are welcome!


There are no required textbooks. All readings will be posted on the class Canvas site.


Grades in this course will be determined by:

  • 20% Reading discussions
  • 45% Group project
  • 10% Statistics lab
  • 15% Exam
  • 10% Participation

Much of the grading in this course is necessarily subjective. We will attempt to communicate expectations and feedback throughout the course, but it is your responsibility to communicate with us if you would like guidance in this regard.

cheating policy School of Computing Policy Statement on Academic Misconduct

This course is based off James Fogart's excellent course at UW: Advanced Topics in HCI.



Assigned readings will focus on research topics, generally consisting of:

  • A historic framing paper: presenting a theory, language, or understanding that can help in understanding and contextualizing the contributions of additional research.
  • Two papers that provide more recent or specific contributions: presenting the type of contribution you might initially be expected to attempt in your research.

You are expected to read: (1) the historical framing paper, and (2) either of the more current papers (in other words, whichever seems more compelling or interesting to you). You obviously may choose to read all three. The lectures will link to the assigned readings on Canvas and provide any day-specific revisions to this reading structure.

You are expected to have read and considered the assigned readings prior to class, as the in-class discussions are a critical component of this course.

Written Discussions
To help prepare for an engaging and meaningful discussion, we require short, written discussions of the readings. These discussions are expected to be 200-350 words (2-4 paragraphs) depending on the length and complexity of the readings. This is only a guideline, it is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition.

Your discussion should not be a summary of the reading. Instead, you should focus on the following four points, with a section header for each point:

  • Most important point as related to HCI: What is the single most salient point made in the readings as they relate to the broader field of HCI? Justify your answer by explaining why you think the point you describe is significant and the criteria you are using for significance. Your answer should reflect your own analysis of the topic, rather than just restating the authors' claims of significance.
  • Other key points: What are the other key points of the readings? Why are they significant? Which of these points were most surprising to you? Emphasize key points rather than just summarizing the readings as it appears in the text. This information should be written in your own words and express your own understanding of the material. It should not be a paraphrase of the readings and should not include exact text from the readings or from other sources without appropriate citations. Limit your answer to no more than five other key points.
  • Particularly compelling points: What aspects of this work were particularly well done or effective?
  • Unanswered or confusing: What questions were left unanswered by the readings? What parts of the readings were hopelessly confusing?

The discussions are due no later than 9:00am on the date in which a reading is to be discussed. Discussions turned in after the deadline will not be graded, except for compelling reasons. You will turn in your discussion in PDF format using Canvas -- a link will be posted in the lectures along with the readings.

We will coursely grade your discussions on a scale from 0 to 3.
  • 0: If you do not participate.
  • 1: If your participation seems weak and does not convince us you read, understood, and considered the readings.
  • 2: If your participation shows you read and understood the readings and had something interesting to say. This will be the most common grade.
  • 3: Reserved for especially insightful participation.

A course project will be a major component of your work. This will require hands-on experience with HCI, while remaining open to different possibilities.

Because you are still new to HCI research, we do not necessarily expect you to produce publishable work. Instead, the expectation is that you will do something interesting. It is then up to you to define interesting according to what you want to accomplish in this project, seeking appropriate feedback from the teaching staff. For example, you might choose to:

  • Design and implement a new piece of HCI technology.
  • Design and execute an appropriately compelling study with HCI research implications.
  • Perform a feasibility analysis or pilot study to inform future research plans.
  • Replicate an existing study or technology.
  • Execute a sufficiently interesting design problem (i.e., focusing on design without regard to research novelty).

We expect most students will do projects in groups of two. We will very strongly discourage individuals. Working in groups is a necessary part of doing research, and also important for the logistics of this course.

Early Feedback

Course staff will be available to meet and provide early feedback on Tuesday Sept 5th and Thursday Sept 7th. Meeting is optional. Sign up for the reserved meeting times.

Project Deliverables

Project deliverables are defined in terms of a proposal, a pair of self-defined milestones, and a final report. These are due:

  • Proposal: Tuesday, Sept 26, 2017
  • Milestone: Sunday, Nov 5, 2017
  • Milestone: Sunday, Dec 3, 2017
  • Final Report: Monday, Dec 11, 2017

Your proposal will define your initial plan for this project. You can and should update this plan based on feedback, progress, and findings. But the proposal needs to demonstrate a robust initial plan for your project.

You are welcome and even encouraged to align your project with your research goals outside this course. However, it is critical to define what you will specifically accomplish in the course project. The course project must stand on its own.

Proposals consist of a short document and a short in-class presentation.

Document: Prepare a 1-page document addressing the following points:

  • What makes the project interesting? What is the problem or research question? What is the pain-point you want to solve, the new capability you want to enable, or the research you want to explore?
  • What existing understanding of the problem has been developed? For a research proposal, this will briefly cover the most important related work in the space you are exploring. For a design proposal, this will introduce existing solutions, why they fall short, and the potential opportunity.
  • What milestones will the group plan to accomplish? There are two milestone reports in the semester, one early and one late. These are opportunities for feedback and guidance from staff and classmates. Explain what your group will plan to accomplish by each of these milestones. You will be asked to revisit these plans during those milestone reports.
  • What might the group explicitly decide to omit? Progress requires compromise, as you cannot accomplish everything. Explain what aspects of the project you might choose to ignore or defer in this course. This is your opportunity to scope the project appropriately for this course.

Presentation: Prepare a 5-minute presentation consisting of 3 to 4 slides.

Each group will give a short in-class presentation of their proposal. This is an opportunity for feedback from staff and classmates. Your presentation should cover the same information as the document.

This is an opportunity for feedback, not a formal presentation. Please be appropriately candid, thoughtful, and engaged.

Submission: Uploaded your proposal document by midnight on Tuesday, Sept 26, 2017. Presentations are in class on Wednesday, Sept 27, 2017. Only one person on the project team needs to submit the document and slide deck.

Submit your proposal document in PDF format.

Submit your proposal presentation in PDF, KEY, PPT, or PPTX format.

Milestone Reports

Two milestone reports serve as a check on the trajectory of your project and an opportunity for feedback and guidance from staff and classmates. Convey the state of your project and your plans for the remainder of the semester. Milestone reports consist of a short document and a short in-class presentation.

Document: Prepare a 1-page document addressing the following points:

  • What you have done for this milestone, discussing current progress relative to previously stated plans.
  • What you will do before your next milestone, including any adaptations based on your status or findings.
  • Any areas where you could use advice or are blocked.

Presentation: Prepare a 10-min presentation consisting of 5 to 6 slides.

Each group will give a short in-class presentation of their proposal. This is an opportunity for feedback from staff and classmates. Your presentation should cover the same information as the document.

This is an opportunity for feedback, not a formal presentation. Please be appropriately candid, thoughtful, and engaged.

Submission: Upload you milestone documents on Sunday, Nov 5, 2017 and Sunday, Dec 3, 2017. The milestone presentations will take place on: Monday, Nov 6 and Wednesday, Nov 8; and Monday, Dec 5 and Wednesday, Dec 7.

Submit your milestone documents in PDF format:
Milestone 1
Milestone 2

Submit your mileston presentation in PDF, KEY, PPT, or PPTX format:
Milestone 1
Milestone 2

Final Report

Prepare a final report that is 4 to 10 pages in length, excluding references.

Your final report should be presented in the same general structure as the papers you read this semester:

  • Introduction and Motivation
  • Statement of Contributions
  • Related Work
  • Description / Methods / Results
  • Discussion / Future Work / Conclusion

Write according to the content you have. Be appropriately thorough and precise in your presentation, but do not needlessly pad your text. Format your report according to the SIGCHI Document Format.

Additional guidance regarding effective paper writing can be found in:
Jacob O. Wobbrock. Catchy Titles are Good: But Avoid Being Cute. Writing Advice, White Paper, 2015.

Submission: Uploaded you document by Monday, Dec 11, 2017.

Submit your final report document in PDF format on Canvas.

statistics lab

To aid in developing necessary skills, you will complete a statistics lab in R or JMP. The lab will walk you through analyzing an example data set, and you will then analyze two datasets from published research papers. You may work through the lab with a partner, but you must complete the write-up on your own. If you do work with a parnter please include their name in the write-up.

You will gain basic familiarity with analyzing experiments using mixed‑model analyses of variance. Consistent with lecture, this assignment is not intended to provide complete knowledge of how to design or analyze experiments, which is far beyond the scope of two lectures or an assignment. This assignment is instead focused on a pragmatic introduction to analyzing experiments based in designs you might later find useful. Please consider this assignment in the context of the material covered in lecture, as not all of it is repeated here.

In addition to the lecture material and the contents of this assignment, you might benefit from working through the first four sections of Jacob Wobbrock’s independent study in Practical Statistics for Human-Computer Interaction.

We will hold a discussion session about the independent study and how to conduct it in JMP and R. This independent study provides the background necessary for the lab if you do not already have a strong stats background. The discussion session will take place on Monday, Sept 25th from 4:30-6:00pm in the Evans Conference Room, which is the large room on the south end of WEB on the 3rd floor.

Additionally, Sam will hold office hours on Monday, Oct 16th to answer questions about the lab. The office hours will be 4:30-6:30pm in the Meldrum conference room (2nd floor of WEB).

The assignment is available for download.

Your assignment will be due on Friday, Oct. 27th. Submit a ZIP archive including your document in PDF format and any additional files to Canvas.


A take home exam will give you an opportunity to demonstrate and apply your understanding of course material in a more substantial format. It requires you to connect concepts across papers, serving as an evaluation of your understanding and critical thinking about course concepts. If you have kept pace with the readings, you will find this exam much easier to approach. You may reference any of the articles, slides, notes, or other material readily available on the web. You may consult the course staff with any questions, but you must fully complete the exam on your own.

The exam is available for download on Monday Dec 11th at 8am.

Upload your exam by Wednesday, Dec 13th at 11:59pm. Submit your document in PDF format.



required none
recommended - Jonathan Grudin. A Moving Target - The Evolution of Human-Computer Interaction. Book Chapter.
discussion none
slides introduction.pdf



These “vision” papers challenge a dominant pattern, propose going beyond mimicking prior technologies, or cast a vision of future technologies. This is certainly not an exhaustive set of such papers, just a set chosen to be interesting and appropriate.

- Vannevar Bush. As We May Think. The Atlantic, 1945.
- Paul M. Fitts. The Information Capacity of the Human Motor System in Controlling the Amplitude of Movement. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1954.
- Mark Weiser. The Computer for the 21st Century. Scientific American, 1991.
- Roy Want, Andy Hopper, Veronica Falcão, and Jonathan Gibbons. The Active Badge Location System. TOIS, 1992.
- James D. Hollan, Scott Stornetta. Beyond Being There. CHI 1992.
- Pierre Wellner. Interacting with Paper on the DigitalDesk. CACM, 1993. Be sure to note the video.
- Benjamin B. Bederson, James D. Hollan. Pad++: A Zooming Graphical Interface for Exploring Alternate Interface Physics. UIST 1994.
- Hiroshi Ishii, Brygg Ullmer. Tangible Bits: Towards Seamless Interfaces between People, Bits and Atoms. CHI 1997.
- Claudio S. Pinhanez. The Everywhere Displays Projector: A Device to Create Ubiquitous Graphical Interfaces. UbiComp 2001.
- Roy Want, Trevor Pering, Gunner Danneels, Muthu Kumar, Murali Sundar, and John Light. The Personal Server: Changing the Way We Think about Ubiquitous Computing. UbiComp 2002.
- Brett Victor. Magic Ink: Information Software and the Graphical Interface. Blog Post, 2006.

Each student has two responsibilities.

First, organize into groups of 2 to 3 to briefly present one of the above vision papers. Sign-up in groups of 2 to 3 for a paper. If you need to find a partner(s) you can use the discussion thread about this on Canvas.

It is critical to remember most people will not have read the paper you are presenting. It is therefore your responsibility to explain the vision. One useful way of breaking down and explaining the vision might be to discuss these four points:

  • What was the status quo at the time the authors wrote this?
  • What was the author’s vision of future technologies?
  • How has this vision played out since this publication?
  • How might this vision continue to play out in the future?

Submit your presentation as 3 to 4 slides in PDF, PPT, PPTX, or KEY format on Canvas by 9am. Only one partner should submit.

Second, individually read at least one more of the above vision papers.

discussion none



Read the following framing papers:

- Jacob O. Wobbrock, Julie A. Kientz. Research Contributions in Human-Computer Interaction. Interactions, 2016.
- James Fogarty. Code and Contribution in Interactive Systems Research. CHI 2017 Workshop on #HCI.Tools: Strategies and Best Practices for Designing, Evaluating, and Sharing Technical HCI Toolkits.

Below are examples of papers from CHI 2017 that correspond to Wobbrock’s types of research contribution in HCI.

Select two to review, focusing on papers that are most likely to correspond to the contribution style(s) relevant in your project. You should not focus on the details of these papers, but rather their organization of the research and how it is presented. We surface them to provide concrete examples of the contributions, but our in-class discussion will focus on the framing papers.

Empirical Papers
- Yomna Abdelrahman, Mohamed Khamis, Stefan Schneegass, Florian Alt. Stay Cool! Understanding Thermal Attacks on Mobile-based User Authentication. CHI 2017.
- Min Fan, Alissa N. Antle, Maureen Hoskyn, Carman Neustaedter, Emily S. Cramer. Why Tangibility Matters: A Design Case Study of At-Risk Children Learning to Read and Spell. CHI 2017.

Artifact Papers
- Daniel Buschek, Florian Alt. ProbUI: Generalising Touch Target Representations to Enable Declarative Gesture Definition for Probabilistic GUIs. CHI 2017.
- Mary Beth Kery, Amber Horvath, Brad Myers. Variolite: Supporting Exploratory Programming by Data Scientists. CHI 2017.

Methodological Papers
- Christopher Elsden, David Chatting, Abigail Durrant, Andrew Garbett, Bettina Nissen, John Vines, David Kirt. On Speculative Enactments. CHI 2017.
- Annu Sible Prabhakar, Lucia Guerra-Reyes, Vanessa M. Kleinschmidt, Ben Jelen, Haley MacLeod, Kay Connelly, Katie A. Siek. Investigating the Suitability of the Asynchronous, Remote, Community-based Method for Pregnant and New Mothers. CHI 2017

Theoretical Papers
- Ali Alkhatib, Michael S. Bernstein, Margaret Levi. Examining Crowd Work and Gig Work Through The Historical Lens of Piecework. CHI 2017.
- Kasper Hornbaek, Antti Oulasvirta. What Is Interaction?. CHI 2017.

Benchmark/Dataset Papers
- Kodlee Yin, Cecilia Aragon, Sarah Evans, Katie Davis. Where No One Has Gone Before: A Meta-Dataset of the World’s Largest Fanfiction Repository. CHI 2017.
- Biplab Deka, Zifeng Huang, Ranjitha Kumar. ERICA: Interaction Mining Mobile Apps. UIST 2016.

Survey Papers
- Ari Schlesinger, W. Keith Edwards, Rebecca E. Grinter. Intersectional HCI: Engaging Identity through Gender, Race, and Class. CHI 2017.
- Raphael Velt, Steve Benford, Stuart Reeves. A Survey of the Trajectories Conceptual Framework: Investigating Theory Use in HCI. CHI 2017.

Opinion Papers
- Amanda Lazar, Caroline Edasis, Anne Marie Piper. A Critical Lens on Dementia and Design in HCI. CHI 2017.
- Joe Marshall, Conor Linehan. Misrepresentation of Health Research in Exertion Games Literature. CHI 2017.
discussion none
slides contributions.pdf


required - Saul Greenberg, Bill Buxton. Usability Evaluation Considered Harmful (Some of the Time). CHI 2008.
recommended - Herbert A. Simon. The Science of Design: Creating the Artificial. Design Issues Vol 4, Numbers 1 & 2.
- Donald E. Stokes. Pasteur’s Quadrant: Basic Science and Technological Innovation. Book Chapter.
discussion submit on Canvas
slides evaluation.pdf


required - Darren Gergle, Desney Tan. Experimental Research in HCI. from Ways of Knowing in HCI. 2014.
discussion submit on Canvas
slides experimental-design-1.pdf


required - Moira Burke, Robert Kraut. The Relationship Between Facebook Use and Well-Being Depends on Communication Type and Tie Strength. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 2016.

You must also pick one of the following:

- Robert Kraut, Darren Gergle, Susan Fussell. The Use of Visual Information in Shared Visual Spaces: Informing the Development of Virtual Co-Presence. CSCW 2002.
- Michael Bernstein, Eytan Bakshy, Moria Burke, Brian Karrer. Quantifying the Invisible Audience in Social Networks. CHI 2013.
- Lace Padilla, P. Samuel Quinan, Miriah Meyer, Sarah Creem-Regehr. Evaluating the Impact of Binning 2D Scalar Fields. VIS 2016.
discussion submit on Canvas
slides experimental-design-2.pdf


required - Katie Siek, Gillian Hayes, Mark Newman, John Tang. Field Deployments: Knowing from Using in Context. from Ways of Knowing in HCI. 2014.
discussion submit on Canvas
slides interviews.pdf


required Choose two:
- Peter Tolmie, Andy Crabtree, Tom Rodden, James Colley, Ewa Luger. “This has to be the cats” - Personal Data Legibility in Networked Sensing Systems. CSCW 2016.
- Heidi Lam, Enrico Bertini, Petra Isenberg, Catherine Plaisant, Sheelagh Carpendale. Empirical Studies in Information Visualization: Seven Scenarios. TVCG 2012.
- Victoria Bellotti, Nicolas Ducheneaut, Mark Howard, Ian Smith. Taking Email to Task: The Design and Evaluation of a Task Management Centered Email Tool. CHI 2003.
discussion submit on Canvas


required - Virginia Braun, Victoria Clarke. Using thematic analysis in psycology. Qualitative Research in Psychology 2006.
discussion submit on Canvas
slides thematic-analysis.pdf


required - Min Fan, Alissa Antle, Maureen Hoskyn, Carman Neustaedter, Emily Cramer. Why Tangibility Matters: A Design Case Study of At-Risk Children Learning to Read and Spell. CHI 2017.
discussion none
slides mixed-methods.pdf


required - Michael Muller. Curiosity, Creativity, and Surprise as Analytic Tools: Grounded Theory Method. from Ways of Knowing in HCI. 2014.
recommended - Dominic Furniss, Ann Blandford, Paul Curzon. Confessions from a Grounded Theory PhD: Experiences and Lessons Learnt. CHI 2011.
discussion submit on Canvas


guest Prof. Rogelio Cardona-Rivera, School of Computing + EAE
required - Lennart Nacke, Anders Drachen, Stefan Göbel. Methods for Evaluating Gameplay Experience in a Serious Gaming Context. International Journal of Computer Science in Sport 2010.
Lennart Nacke. Games User Research and Gamification in Human-Computer Interaction. XRDS 2017.
discussion none
slides games.pdf


guest Prof. Sarah Creem-Regehr, Dept of Pyschology
required - Sarah Creem-Regehr, Jeanine Stefanucci, William Thompson. Perceiving Absolute Scale in Virtual Environments: How Theory and Application Have Mutually Informed the Role of Body-Based Perception. Psychology of Learning and Motivation 2015.
discussion submit on Canvas


guest Prof. Tammy Denning, School of Computing
required - Yasemin Acar, Michael Backes, Sascha Fahl, Doowon Kim, Michelle L. Mazurek, Christian Stransky. You Get Where You're Looking for: The Impact of Information Sources on Code Security. Security and Privacy 2016.
- Elissa M. Redmiles, Amelia R. Malone, Michelle L. Mazurek. I Think They’re Trying to Tell Me Something: Advice Sources and Selection for Digital Security. Security and Privacy 2016.
discussion none


guest Prof. Jim Agutter, Multi-disciplinary Design Program


guest Prof. Erik Brunvand, School of Computing
required Browse the projects posted on the website Art and Electronic Media, by Ed Shanken. Pick two projects that you find particularly compelling and write a short paragraph about each explaining what is interesting and why you like it. Submit these paragraphs for your discussion (you do not need to cover the regular discussion points).
discussion submit on Canvas