Course Overview

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to human-computer interaction and the design process. Students will learn methods and skills for designing and prototyping interactive systems. The course covers a design process from the initial formulation of a design problem to creation of digital prototypes. The class structure is a mix of lectures, classroom activities, and design critiques by peers and course staff. The course is organized around a group project, in which students:

Learning Objectives

Basic Information

Contact: Email all instructors at cse440-staff [at]

Class Time & Location: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10:00-11:20 OUG 136

Section Times & Locations:

Office Hours:

Pre-scheduled meetings are held by Nigini, Wednesday 10:00 to 12:00, Allen Center 338. (Please, send an email at least 24hs in advance.)

Other meetings are possible by appointment. Please request them through the staff emailing list.

Course Staff:

Nigini Oliveira

Nigini Oliveira

Abhinav Yadav

Abhinav Yadav

Liang He

Liang He

Angel Vuong

Angel Vuong

Jeremy Viny

Jeremy Viny

Project Theme

This quarter’s project theme will be “Improve something out there”! This means you will have a unique chance to pick some interactive piece of tech that already exists and re-think it to make people happier about using it. Although you can start with something you know and love (or hate) you will also need to design for another group of people who is different from yourself. We will aim to make a really exciting design contribution to a product or service that will improve the user experience for different groups of people.

As part of your project, you will start from a design domain that you are really interested into, for example, traveling, gaming, health care, etc. Then, you will need to define what are the specific user needs your project will support and what activity you would like to design that will help address these needs. Think about how that activity is currently supported, what doesn’t work about current ways of supporting it, and how your solution will do this better. The specificity of addressing particular groups of people allows you to deeply think about what makes each group unique and how your solution will best support them. So, dive in and see what you can come up with!

More about projects HERE!


A small set of readings are assigned throughout the quarter, with additional resources also made available.


Strive to do good work because you care about your own opportunities to learn, including the opportunities this course provides in working with a group in an intensive project.

The overall course grade will be computed as follows (summing up to 100 points):

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. The stated project requirements are the minimum, leaving room for groups to 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.

We expect groups to take collective responsibility and to resolve any coordination issues. The course staff is always happy to make suggestions with regard to your effort and coordination. If an issue needs to be raised with the course staff, we expect it to be raised early enough to be addressed. If necessary, we reserve the ability to adjust an individual’s grade with regard to the group project.


You are responsible for tracking the deadline. Check out the Calendar!

Many assignments are due “the night before class”. We will implement this in Canvas as 11:59pm (but you can use the hours before dawn). 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 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.


This course website lives on GitHub:

You can submit pull requests to update the webpage, and you will publish project webpages via pull request.