CSE 440 - Introduction to HCI

Autumn 2014

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to human-computer interaction and the design process. It is overwhelmingly organized around a group project, in which students:

Project Theme

Projects are exploring challenges and opportunities in Personal Informatics:

Personal informatics systems are systems that help people collect personally relevant information for the purpose of self-reflection and gaining self-knowledge.

Li et al., 2010.

People have long sought to better understand themselves, but recently technology advances are enabling fundamentally new approaches. Students will explore the problems people encounter and how new technology can help people reaching their goals.

Project Structure

Projects are organized around four assignments, each consistent of several milestones:

Example project from prior offerings include:

Note the project structure has changed since these prior offerings, so their reports do not map to the current project. However, these represent examples of strong work in this course.

Basic Information

Contact: Email all instructors at cse440-instr [at] cs.washington.edu

Class times & locations: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10:30-11:50am MOR 234

Section times & locations: Fridays, 10:30-11:30am MUE 154 or 3:30-4:30pm MGH 254

Office Hours:

Scheduled hours are held most weeks, but check the calendar:

Other meetings by appointment.

Course Staff:

James Fogarty Daniel Epstein Brad Jacobson King Xia
James Fogarty (course instructor) Daniel Epstein (head teaching assistant) Brad Jacobson (teaching assistant) King Xia (teaching assistant)


The overall course grade will be computed as follows:

Each assignment will also provide a point breakdown intended to convey how it will be graded. Design is an inherently subjective practice, and so grading in this course is necessarily subjective. Wow us with your work.

Because the course is designed around feedback on project milestones, grades given to those milestones indicate that you have invested sufficient effort and insight at the time of the milestone. You will get feedback and are expected to continue acting upon that feedback in your design process. The bulk of project grades is therefore attached to the final deliverables, which are evaluated on their quality.


Many assignments are due “the night before class”. Catalyst implements this as 4:00am.

In order to be prepared to give you feedback, the course staff must have your submission in the morning. Submitting the day of class, just before class, or in class is therefore unacceptable, risking zero credit.

Submissions should be in PDF format (i.e., not plain text, not Word). The PDF should be ‘printable’, containing everything we need to review and grade the assignment (e.g., your name). The course staff has a large number of submissions to manage, so format and completeness issues are problematic.

Quarter Projects

The projects for this quarter are available below.






IEP Connect



Running With Friends



This course website is a github repository! You can submit pull requests to update the webpage.

We have provided instructions on how to set up your computer to contribute.