CSE 171 Homepage
User Interface Design: Social and Technical
Be sure to reload pages frequently, because sometimes
they are updated frequently! Also, you should check this page frequently for
notices. Homework and readings are posted on their respective webpages, not
given in class. All webpages are subject to frequent and/or unannounced
The class notes do not cover everything you need to know for this course,
and their emphasis may not reflect the importance of material. The notes
WILL NOT serve as a substitute for the lectures or the assigned
readings! Moreover, the lectures and readings go beyond the text, and are
at least as important as the text. In addition, there will be
handouts, diagrams on the board, and possibly guest appearances at lectures.
In short, all of lectures, notes, text, and other readings are absolutely
New technologies provide the means to build superb new systems, as well as
phenomenally ugly and awkward systems that still fully meet their performance
and functional requirements. This course will explore several approaches
towards a scientific understanding of basic issues of usability,
representation and coordination that arise in interface design and related
areas, such as how to best organize complex information in multimedia. There
will be some focus on distributed cooperative work and on semiotics. See the
course outline for more detail.
We distinguish the following levels of interface design issues:
The course will focus on the last two levels, especially the last, and in this
regard will consider the following:
- individual psychology; and
- social, cultural, and organizational issues.
This course will examine a number of case studies, one of which is a system
being built at UCSD CSE to support distributed cooperative software
engineering over the web. A prototype of this system can be seen at /groups/tatami/kumo/exs/. Some issues here
include: how to present proofs as webpages; how to make proofs easier to
follow, e.g., by linking formal material to background material; how to
motivate difficult proof steps; proof editors vs. proof browsers; and direct
manipulation vs. command line interfaces.
- semiotics - the study of signs and meaning, including metaphor;
- ethnomethodology - the sociology of ordinariness;
- narratology - the study of stories; and
- discourse analysis - the study of discourse.
The class TAs are Fox Harrell (office
hours 12:30 to 1:30 on Tuesdays, in APM 3449D), and Tony Lee (office hours 2:30 - 3:30 on Thursdays,
in APM 2331).
- Monday, Wednesday, 4:40 to 6:00 pm, Center Hall 113
- Section ID 434194, Section A00
- The discussion section is Friday, 3:35 - 4:25, in CSB 001
- My office hours are 6:00 to 6:20, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday
The only required book is Shneiderman; other required readings will made
available on the web or handed out in class.This is available through the Coop Bookstore (in the old student center -
they promise it will be cheaper) and the UCSD bookstore; it seems to be the
best text now available, but we will supplement it in many ways.
All of these should be on reserve at the Science and Engineering
Library. The first is a colorful overview of an important and rapidly
developing new field. The second takes a more "classical" approach grounded
in cognitive psychology. The third is new and I have not yet evaluated it.
- The Way We Think, by Giles Fauconnier and Mark Turner, Basic
Books, 2002. ISBN 0-465-8785-X.
- Information Visualization, by Robert Spence, Addison Wesley,
2001. ISBN 0-201-59626-1.
- Human-Computer Interaction, by Jenny Preece, Prentice-Hall, 1998.
- Interaction Design, by Jennifer Preece, Yovonne Rogers, and Helen
Sharp, Wiley, 2002. ISBN 0-471-49278-7.
- Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud, Harper Collins, 1993.
Other Relevant Books
The first book above is an amusing overview of some issues in design,
while the second is a fascinating case history of a large design project that
failed. The third book is temporarily out of print; it contains essays on
various social aspects of computing. The book by Linde goes into stories in
great depth, while the book by Turner discusses metaphor and blending in some
depth. The book by Nadin treats the relevance of semiotics to design, among
other things. The UCSD bookstore should have a few copies of the last book,
for those who want to go deeper into the algebraic aspect of algebraic
semiotics. We will use these books very little, but some of you may want them
for further enrichment.
- The Design of Everyday Things, by Donald A. Norman, Doubleday,
- Aramis, or the
Love of Technology, by Bruno Latour, Harvard University Press, 1996.
- Requirements Engineering: Social and Technical Issues, ed. by
Marina Jirotka and Joseph Goguen, Academic Press, 1994.
- The Humane Interface, by Jef Raskin, Addison Wesley, 2000.
- GUI Bloopers, by Jeff Johnson, Morgan Kaufmann, 2000.
- Life Stories: The Creation of Coherence, by Charlotte Linde,
- The Literary
Mind, by Mark Turner,
Civilization of Illiteracy, by Mihai Nadin, Dresden Univ Press, 1998.
Algebraic Semantics of Imperative Programs, by Joseph Goguen and
Grant Malcolm, MIT Press, 1996.
There will be a homework assignments, quizzes in class at random times, and
a final. Homwork will count for 40% of your grade, quizzes for 20% (taking
the best 2 out of 3), and the final for 40%.
The items in "Miscellaneous" were assembled by the teacher for your
interest and/or amusement.
- Reading assignments.
- Class notes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, A.
- Homework assignments.
Here are links to the quizes and exams for this and
previous versions of this class, and to last year's
- Homepage of the book Designing the
User Interface, by Ben
Shneiderman, Addison Wesley, 1998 (thrid edition).
- Homepage of
Interactions magazine, published by the ACM.
- The Yale Style
Manuual, perhaps the best general style manual available on the web.
- The Interface Hall of
Fame and Interface Hall of
- Homepage of Ben
- Essays of Don Norman.
- The UCSD Semiotic Zoo.
- Homepage of Jennifer
Preece; see in particular, the subsite on her new book, Online Communities.
- Towards a
Theory of Ethical Linking, by Jeff White, a rather extreme example of
the hypertext medium; lots of links, not much content; i.e., "hyperchaos".
- Homepage of Phil Agre at
UCLA; many interesting publications on "information studies", plus a good
bibliography, and many interesting links.
- Homepage of Geoff Bowker,
interesting material on sociology of science, including biodiversity
informatics, information infrastructure, classification systems, medical
records, and more.
- Homepage of Leigh
Star, interesting material on sociology of science, including boundary
objects, classification systems, information systems, and more.
Warning: This is not an easy course; it requires understanding
complex and subtle concepts, and applying them to real examples. It is also
touchy-feely course in web aesthetics; rather it explores various principled
approaches to user interface design. You are expected to already know (or be
able to quickly pick up) HTML, and to be able to read intermediate level
cognitive science, sociology, and philosophy. There will be some programming,
and some mathematics will be needed. The lectures will generally discuss
topics related to the readings under the assumption that you have already
understood the readings. It may be easy to deceive yourself into thinking
that you have understood when you haven't, so please take care. The course is
oriented towards concepts rather than programming, and many homework and exam
questions will have an essay character.
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Maintained by Joseph Goguen
© 2000, 2001, 2002 Joseph Goguen, all rights reserved.
Last modified: Mon Aug 5 17:58:49 PDT 2002