CSE 271 Homepage
User Interface Design: Social and Technical
The final exam was given Wednesday, 11 June,
from 7 to 8:30 pm, in Center 217A.
The class wiki is at
http://disco.ucsd.edu/csewiki/UserInterfaceDesign, thanks to Dana
Dahlstrom. You will find some interesting, and sometimes perhaps surprising,
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. 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 additional readings are absolutely necessary.
You are allowed to talk with other students about how to approach
homework problems, but you are not allowed to work together on solutions.
Please read the Integrity of
Scholarship Agreement site and the offical UCSD 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 consequences.
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:
This 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.
We 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. Algebraic semiotics will
be developed as a fundamental tool for addressing such issues.
- 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.
- Tuesday, Thursday, 5:00 to 6:20 pm (approximately), in Center 217A
- Section ID 465984, Section A00
- There is no TA for this class, and hence no discussion section
- My office hours begin at 6:20 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
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 Jennifer Preece, Prentice-Hall,
1998. ISBN 0-13-239864-8.
- 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.
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 your project.
- 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.
Your grade will depend primarily on the quality of your project, plus a
shortened final exam, possibly tempered by an assessment of your class
participation; your project should reflect your familiarity with the
readings, lectures and class notes, especially the material that is unique
to this class; see the projects information page.
There are homework assignments; they should be handed in, but will not be
graded; see me after class if you want feedback. I will try to arrange a
session for voluntary presentations of projects if there is sufficient
- Reading assignments.
- Class notes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, A.
- Homework assignments.
- Information on projects.
- The CSE 171 homepage has links to quizzes and
exams from various versions of that class. Also, here is a link to last year's version of this course.
- The ACM
TechNews newsletter usually contains two or three articles that relate
closely to user interface design issues; the above link is for the current
issue, but back issues are also available on the site.
- 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 neither a technical course in HTML,
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 a little programming, and some mathematics will
be needed. This course will be conducted as a seminar; we will discuss
related topics 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. This 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.
To my courses homepage
Maintained by Joseph Goguen
© 2000 - 2003 Joseph Goguen, all rights reserved.
Last modified: Sat Jan 10 15:27:28 PST 2004