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California State University Stanislaus

CS 3500: Human-Centered Design

Spring 2016

M W F 3:00 pm - 3:50 pm, DBH 167

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:

5/20/2016 The third quiz will be available in Blackboard on Sunday, 5/22 at 5pm. 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 Tuesday, 5/24, 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.

5/18/2016 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.
  • Mon., May 23 demonstration schedule (in DBH 288)
  • 2:00 p.m. Anna, Michael, EV, Cody
  • 2:30 p.m. Leah, Alison, Josiah
  • 3:00 p.m. Jessica, Rafael, Sean
  • 3:30 p.m. Daniel, Jasmine D., Salvador
  • 4:00 p.m. Nathan, Javier, Jasmine K.
  • Tue., May 24 demonstration schedule (in DBH 288)
  • 10:30 a.m. Tania, Manjinder, Piyush
  • 2:00 p.m. Madison, Alex, Banipal, Ryan
  • 2:30 p.m. Stefan, Miguel, Samuel
Final project group report (one per group) due Tue, May 24 at midnight.

Schedule originally posted May 16. Revised on May 18.

5/11/2016 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.
4/10/2016 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.

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 Saturday, 4/16, 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.

4/3/2016 "All cell phone comparison" spreadsheet is in this document
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 thinking about it? 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 "Mom" 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 3 seconds before it went away.

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

3/18/2016 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.
3/9/2016 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, 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 Sunday night.

3/7/2016 "Teens React to Windows 95" (Fine Brothers Entertainment, Mar. 6, 2016) -- 2016-era teenagers interact with a 1995-era personal computer
2/28/2016 The first quiz will be available in Blackboard at 5:00 pm Monsday. 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.

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 Wednesday, 3/2, 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.

2/29/2016 "It's not you. Bad doors are everywhere" (Vox and Joe Posner, Feb. 26, 2016) -- someone gets frustrated enough about doors to go interview Don Norman. (Sent in by Edwin and by Javier)
2/24/2016 Related to the discussion we had in class about using biometrics instead of passwords: "Watch Out, Your Fingerprint Can Be Spoofed, Too" (blogs.wsj.com, Feb 24, 2016)
1/29/2016

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