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California State University Stanislaus

CS 3500: Human-Centered Design

Summer 2017

Mon Wed Thu 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm, DBH 104

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:

7/10/2017 The third quiz will be available in Blackboard on Thursday, July 13 at 9 am. 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, 7/15, 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.

7/10/2017 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.
6/28/2017 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, 7/1, 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 may 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.

6/27/2017 "Most Developers Fail to Design Websites Accessible to People With Disabilities" theinstitute: the IEEE news source (21 June 2017)
6/27/2017 Also, as an unhappy reminder that our discussion of the causes of human error is always relevant: "Transit agency: Human error caused subway train derailment" (Sacramento Bee, June 27, 2017)
6/24/2017 "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 using their brain? Our brains are involved in every action we choose to take, so every choice is one more M. 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.

6/21/2017 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.
6/15/2017 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 Monday.

6/15/2017 The first 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. Firefox, Safari, or Chrome should be fine.

The quiz will go off-line on Saturday, 6/17, at 1:00 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.

6/5/2017 Welcome to CS 3500, Human-Centered Design!

News and Videos: