CSE 171 Homepage
User Interface Design: Social and Technical
The final exam was Friday, 13 June, from 7 to 10
pm, in Petersen 104; unfortunately, it was not possible to change the
A glossary of terms
used in classical and algebraic semiotics is available to help you
review; also, Section 10 of the class notes has been
much revised, again to help you review.
There was a review session at 11 am on Friday, 13 June, Petersen 104.
There is a gradesource account
for this class; it supports anonymous reporting of grades, and also gives a
variety of statistics. Dana Dahlstrom can give you your "secret number."
We have had several cases where answers to homework problems have had
strongly overlapping content. In the future, a grade of zero will be
assigned for such answers, and there will be more drastic consequences for
repeat offenders. You are allowed to talk with other students about how to
approach homework problems, but you are not allowed to work together on
solutions. See the Integrity of
Scholarship Agreement (from Scott Baden) and UCSD's official policies
on Plagariasm; see also the
most recent amended policy (sorry, it's in MS Word). You are
expected to abide by these rules; failure to do so can have serious
Please use the discussion board, at
http://discus4.ucsd.edu/messages/2284/2284.html, for all questions
that are not strictly personal, so that all students may benefit equally
from the answers. The TA will post answers for everyone to read, consulting
with the professor as needed.
The midterm was on Wednesday, 7 May;
you may also wish to look at exams from previous
versions of this class, though of course these will differ from
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 updates.
The class notes do not cover everything you need to know for this course,
and their emphasis may not reflect the importance of material. Also, the
notes DO 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.
But this does NOT mean that you can ignore what is in the text; you
are responsible for all assigned readings. In short, all of lectures,
notes, text, and other readings are absolutely necessary.
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 social issues, semiotics, and new media
interfaces. See the course outline for more
We may 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 (at least) 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
built at UCSD CSE to support distributed cooperative software engineering
over the web, which 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;
- discourse analysis - the study of discourse;
- actor-network theory - a network approach to the sociology of technology
and science; and
- cognitive linguistics.
CSE 20, 21, 100 or equivalent, and the ability to comprehend texts in
sociology, cognitive science, and linguistics.
The class TA is Dana Dahlstrom,
with office hours 10:00 to 11:00 Tuesday and 11:00 to 12:00 Thursday, in APM
- Monday, Wednesday, 5:00 to 6:20 pm, in Petersen 104
- Section ID 465858, Section A00
- The discussion section is Wednesday, 11:00 - 11:50, in Solis 111
- My office hours begin at 6:20 on 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 at the UCSD bookstore; it seems to be the best
current text for this course, but it has some limitations, so we will
supplement it in many ways.
All of these (except the first, which is still unpublished) should be
on reserve at the Science and Engineering Library. The second is a colorful
overview of the important and rapidly developing new field of cognitive
linguistics. The third takes a "classical" approach to interface design
grounded in experimental psychology, which the fourth tries to update. The
last two address more specialized domains.
Website Development, by Daniel McCracken and Rosalee Wolfe,
Prentice-Hall, 2003. ISBN 0-13-041161-2.
- The Way We Think, by Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner, Basic
Books, 2002. ISBN 0-465-8785-X.
- 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.
- Information Visualization, by Robert Spence, Addison Wesley,
2001. ISBN 0-201-59626-1.
- Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud, Harper Collins, 1993.
- Introduction to Barthes, Mireille Ribiere (Hodder & Stoughton,
2002). ISBN 0-340-84499-X.
Some 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 homework assignments, a midterm, and a final. Homework will
count for 30% of your grade, the midterm for 20%, and the final for 50%.
Here are links to the midterm, to the quizes and exams for previous versions of this class, and
to last year's homepage.
- Reading assignments.
- Class notes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, A.
- Homework assignments.
- Miscellaneous. These items were assembled by the
teacher for your interest and/or amusement.
- The ACM
TechNews newsletter usually contains two or three articles that relate
closely to user interface design issues; this link is for the current issue,
but back issues are also available.
- 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.
- 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 some complex and subtle concepts, and applying them to real
XML, etc., nor a 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. There is
an emphasis on social aspects of design. Grading will be strongly influenced
by how well you can employ the concepts developed in this particular class.
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Last modified: Fri Jun 13 22:30:39 PDT 2003