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 we assume you are 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, while seeking appropriate feedback from 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 design or implementation effort in the context of an established research project.

Due to the size of this course offering and constraints on course time and resources, we expect projects will generally be done in groups of four. We will consider groups of three as needed, but do not expect to allow groups of one or two projects. Working in groups is a necessary part of doing research, and it is also important for the logistics of this course.

Project Ideas

Some sample project ideas, gathered from faculty and researchers, will be made available here:

Project Deliverables

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

Proposal Due: 11:59pm Sunday, January 23.

Milestone 1 Due: 11:59pm Monday, February 7 for in-class presentations Tuesday, February 8 and Thursday, February 10.

Milestone 2 Due: 11:59pm Monday, February 28 for in-class presentations Tuesday, March 1 and Thursday, March 3.

Final Report Due: 11:59pm Thursday, March 17.


Your proposal will define your initial plan for this project. You can and should update this plan based on feedback, progress, and findings. The proposal therefore needs to demonstrate a robust initial plan for your project, but your project is expected to evolve as appropriate and necessary.

You are welcome and even encouraged to align your project with 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 even if drawn from a larger research context.

Proposals consist of a short document, prepared with feedback prior to the due date.

Proposal Document

Within the provided Google Doc, using the provided template, prepare a 2 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.

    For a proposal based within a larger project outside the context of this course, this will also provide key context regarding that outside project.

  • What milestones will the group plan to accomplish?

    There are two milestone reports in the quarter, 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.

Proposals are effectively a contract on what you aim to accomplish, but they are also an opportunity for feedback from staff and classmates. Please be appropriately candid and thoughtful so as to receive maximum benefit from feedback.

Proposal Samples

Sample project proposals from prior offerings have been made available here:

Note that prior proposals were based on different format guidance (i.e., a shorter page count) and were paired with an in-class proposal presentation. Be sure to engage with the new format in this offering.

Proposal Early Feedback

Prepare your proposal in this shared Google Doc:

The use of a shared Google Doc for proposal preparation is intended to support early feedback. Feel free to use Google Doc comment functionality to tag staff and classmates with questions. We will also encourage you to review and comment on each other's proposals.

We have also dedicated time for in-class proposal preparation and review on Thursday, January 20. We expect proposals will be nearly complete at this time, so as to receive maximum benefit from feedback.

Proposal Submission

Due: 11:59pm Sunday, January 23.

Submit your final proposal document in PDF 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 quarter.

Milestone reports consist of a short document and a short in-class presentation.

Milestone 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 revisions based on your status or findings.
  • Any areas where you could use advice or are blocked.

Milestone Presentation

Prepare a 3 to 4 slide in-class presentation to support a class conversation about the state of your project.

This is an opportunity for feedback from staff and classmates. Our primary goal is feedback, not a formal presentation. Please be appropriately candid, thoughtful, and engaged. You will gain maximum value from this presentation by considering how it can structure a conversation that is most useful to your project team. Your presentation should cover the same information as the document, as you can not assume classmates have read the document.

Be sure to consider Guidance on Making Your Presentation Accessible.

Milestone Submission

Milestone 1 Due: 11:59pm Monday, February 7 for in-class presentations Tuesday, February 8 and Thursday, February 10.

Milestone 2 Due: 11:59pm Monday, February 28 for in-class presentations Tuesday, March 1 and Thursday, March 3.

Submit your milestone document and milestone presentation in PDF format. Sign up for a presentation slot.

Final Report

Prepare a final report that is 10 to 20 pages in length, excluding references.

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

  • 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 current single-column CHI format:

Additional guidance regarding effective paper writing can be found in:

Jacob O. Wobbrock. Catchy Titles are Good: But Avoid Being Cute. 2015.

Final Report Submission

Due: 11:59pm Thursday, March 17.

Submit your final report document in PDF format: