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California State University Stanislaus

CS 3500: Human-Centered Design

Fall 2016

Tu Th 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm, DBH 101

Instructor: Dr. Megan Thomas


[Syllabus]       [Announcements]       [Schedule/Reflection Deadlines]       [Homeworks]       [Resources]       [News]

Welcome to CS3500, an introduction to human-centered design. Human-Centered Design is both an old and a new area of study. When called "human factors engineering", the study of making tools and devices fit human beings has been around for decades. Recent developments in technology, making more and more powerful tools more and more integrated with our lives, have given new urgency to the need for easy to use tools.

We will study the principles of usability and human centered design. We will study what makes a tool easily usable, by humans, and a design philosophy that can help create usable tools. Bad design can cause user irritation, errors, misunderstanding, and occasionally outright chaos. But preventing poor designs is not as easy as it may seem... what is good for one user may not suit another. Designs that work for adults may not work for children, or the elderly.

In this class we will explore topics from computer science, sociology, biology, psychology, cognitive science, anthropology, communications studies, graphic design, industrial design and other fields.

Topics include

This is a General Education F1 course.

Announcements and Upcoming Events:

5/19/2016 The third quiz is now available in Blackboard. The quiz is a 35 minute quiz. Once started, the quiz cannot be stopped and restarted.

For each question, select the single best answer.

Make certain you have a stable connection to the internet. I recommend using a computer in one of the OIT labs -- all have stable internet connections. Safari, Chrome or Firefox should be fine.

The quiz will go off-line on Wednesday, 12/21, at 10:00 pm. Make certain to take it before then. Once gone, the quiz is gone. This deadline is *firm*.

Blackboard will not kick you out after 35 minutes, but you will lose points for every minute over the time limit you use.

12/8/2016 Demonstrations will be given in DBH 288, the Computer Science department lab. 2nd floor, go up the outside stairs in the corner of the DBH courtyard.
  • Thu., December 15 demonstration schedule (in DBH 288)
  • 2:00 p.m. Lindsey, Brett, Alex
  • 2:30 p.m. Tiffany, Macie, James
  • 3:00 p.m. Karissa, Mario, Francee
  • 3:30 p.m. LaBelle, Ivan, Cody
  • 4:00 p.m. Louis, Jasmine, Evaristo
  • Mon., December 19 demonstration schedule (in DBH 288)
  • 2:00 p.m. Chris, Josh, Valerie
  • 2:30 p.m. Malachi, Isaac, Cody
  • 3:00 p.m. Tim, Jacqueline, Sergio
  • 3:30 p.m. Baltazar, Ernesto, Amanda
  • 4:00 p.m. Alexandrya, Chris, Crystal
Final project group report (one per group) due Tue, May 20 at midnight.

11/28/2016 After you have completed your final project and sent in your group report, please fill out this survey. The survey will allow you to provide feedback about what each partner contributed to the group work.
11/13/2016 In class last Thursday, a question came up about how humans measure time. By coincidence, I ran across "The Measurement of Time", an 'In Our Time' podcast from the BBC, dated March 28, 2012.
11/6/2016 The second quiz will be available in Blackboard at 10:00 am Thursday. The quiz is a 35 minute quiz. Once started, the quiz cannot be stopped and restarted.

For each question, select the single best answer.

The quiz will go off-line on Saturday, 11/12, at 5:00 pm. (Saturday afternoon.) Make certain to take it before then. Once gone, the quiz is gone. This deadline is *firm*.

Make certain you have a stable connection to the internet. I recommend using a computer in one of the OIT labs -- all have stable internet connections. Safari, Chrome or Firefox should be fine. (Do NOT use MS Internet Explorer; you will not be able to submit your test answers.)

Blackboard will not kick you out after 35 minutes, but you will lose points for every minute over the time limit you use.

10/15/2016 "All cell phone comparison" spreadsheet is in this document (Updated Tuesday, 10/18 with more data)
Remember, since each phone in the collection was analyzed by a different person, the results need to be taken with a grain of salt. Some of the difference between phones is due to the difference between the people performing the analysis, not the phones themselves. But, using this, you can see how your cell phone compares to other cell phones used on our campus.

As we discussed in class, any task analysis that involves no M operators at all is flawed. How does anyone perform a task without using their brain? Our brains are involved in every action we choose to take, so every choice is one more M. (The first M is to to pick the correct button to push. Only changing the volume might be, sometimes, a one button, one choice only task.) Every choice in a task (including picking "Bob" instead of "Xiu Ying" to say hello to), is one more M operation.

Every photograph taken should involve at least on "macro attention shift", to look from the phone to whatever real world object the user is photographing.

As we also discussed in class, modern smart phones have such swift CPUs inside them that response times (forcing the user to wait while the machine "thinks") are almost always zero. I opened a bunch of apps on my old Apple tool and the slowest "splash screen" at the start only forced me to wait for approximately 3 seconds before it went away.

Use this to inform and enrich your cell phone analysis in Essay 5.

10/11/2016 Here is the list of tasks we chose to analyze, with tips to help you complete the assignment. Here is a spreadsheet with all the tasks we chose filled in in column C for you. The full descriptions of the tasks, which we wrote in class, have been copied off to the right of the "Sanity Check" column.
10/2/2016 The chapter on quantitative testing (plus a supplemental chapter on science vs. engineering testing) is now available on our Blackboard site. It should be under Assignments, in a "New Book" folder, and called ``Quantitative Testing Chapter.''

This is part of the draft of a book, not the final product, so please do not publicize or share.

Please do contact me as soon as possible if you are unable to view the chapter.

Reading reflection due Wednesday night.

9/29/2016 "United Taps Criminology Students to Uncover Patterns in Accident Data" (WSJ.com, 29 Sept 2016) -- evidence that airlines really do track unsafe acts and accidents, in order to make their business (and travellers) safer.
9/28/2016 The first quiz will be available in Blackboard at 11:00 am Thursday. The quiz is a 35 minute quiz. Once started, the quiz cannot be stopped and restarted.

For each question, select the single best answer.

Make certain you have a stable connection to the internet. I recommend using a computer in one of the OIT labs -- all have stable internet connections. Firefox, Safari, or Chrome should be fine.

Students have reported serious problems with Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Blackboard, in past semesters. Do not use IE.

The quiz will go off-line on Saturday, 10/1, at 5:00 pm. Make certain to take it before then. Once gone, the quiz is gone. This deadline is *firm*.

Blackboard will not kick you out after 35 minutes, but you will lose points for every minute over the time limit you use.

9/20/2016 For student who are interested:
Psychological Counseling Services Workshops - workshops on coping with stress, and other issues that come up in college years.
Also, Fall 2016 Counseling Groups offered by our Psychological Counseling Services.
8/25/2016 The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program is looking to recruit students and Research Interns this Fall! (https://www.csustan.edu/AMP) Here are a couple of videos explaining more about LSAMP:
8/25/2016 Welcome to CS 3500, Human-Centered Design!

News and Videos: