CSE 171 Homepage
User Interface Design: Social and Technical
The final exam was given Tuesday, 7 June, from 11:30 to 2:30 in Center
216 (our usual class room). Here are links to the this year's final
and the final exam from the 2003 of
The TA, Rares Saftoiu, and I will hold a review session on Monday, 6
June, from noon to 13:50 in CSB (Cognitive Science Bldg) 004. Rares will
also have extra office hours on that day, from 14:00 to 15:30 in APM 4402,
and I will be in my office most of the day, but definitely from 16:00 to
17:00, and will also drop into Rares office hours. In addition, i will be
available from 14:00 to 15:00 on Friday, 3 June.
There is a wiki for this class (and also CSE 271) to use, at
http://cse-gsa.ucsd.edu/wiki/UserInterfaceDesign; it includes material
from CSE 271, Spring 2003 that is now out of date.
The midterm of Thursday 12 May is
online; the median was 78, the mean 77, standard deviation 11.5, high 97, low
Homework and readings are posted on their
respective webpages, not given in class. All webpages are subject to
frequent and/or unannounced updates. You should check this page frequently
for notices. Also, be sure to reload pages frequently, because sometimes
they are updated frequently!
In cases where two (or more) students' answers to homework problemsare
strongly overlapping, a grade of zero will be assigned, and there will be
more drastic consequences for repeat offenders. You can 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
The class notes do not cover everything you need to know for this course,
and their emphasis often does 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,
which is somewhat below the level of the class as a whole, although its
content is very important for practical applications. In addition, there
will be handouts, diagrams on the board, and possibly guest appearances at
lectures. In short, all of assigned readings, lectures, notes, and text are
absolutely necessary; moreover, some topics are only introduced in the
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, such as
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
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.
We will consider some case studies, one of which is a system built at UCSD
CSE to support distributed cooperative software engineering over the web,
which can be seen at
/groups/tatami/kumo/exs/. 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. We will also consider (briefly) other case
studies, including websites built as projects for the graduate version of
this course, CSE 271.
- 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. You will need to be able to
understand and use discrete mathematics. Some experience in industry may be
The class TA is Rares Saftoiu, with office
hours 14:00 to 15:00 Wednesday, in EBU-1 6307B.
- Tuesday, Thursday, 12:30 to 13:45 pm, in Center 216
- Section ID 527935, Section A00
- The discussion section is Wednesday, 16:00 - 16:50, in Center 119
- My office hours begin at 17:00 on Wednesdays.
The only required book is McCracken and Wolfe; 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. The book's
website has some useful material, especially for the XML appendix.
All of these should be on reserve at the Science and Engineering
Library. The first is a fairly comprehensive review of HCI, and some
readings will be taken from it. 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 three
address more specialized domains.
- Designing the User Interface, by Ben Shneiderman and Catherine
Plaisant, Addison Wesley, 2004 (fourth edition). ISBN 0-321-19786-0.
- 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, if at all, 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%. In
special cases, it may be possible to substitute a project for part of the
- 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 previous version of this course has links to
its midterm, and to quizes and exams for previous versions of this class.
- A tutorial by Dana Dahlstrom and Vinu
Somayaji is also available (warning: it may not always agree with this
version of the course).
- 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 Gilles
Fauconnier at UCSD; many interesting readings and links on mental spaces,
blending, cognitive linguistics, and cognitive semantics.
- Homepage of Seana Coulson
at UCSD; many interesting publications on blending and cognitive linguistics.
- 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 may
be a little 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: Sun Jun 12 09:54:39 PDT 2005