Fall 2019-20, 2nd 7.5 weeks

October 17, 2019 - December 19, 2019

Meeting time Hybrid meetings held: Mondays from 6-8:30pm in AWSLT rm 66, SV B153, PE L-146, Chand 203 and Zoom (Arizona local time; link in LMS)
People Instructor: Dr. Ryan M. Straight &emdash; Preceptor: Jonathan Chapman
Email -
Office Hours Virtual open-door policy
Slack @ryanstraight - @jdchapman
Twitter ryanstraight
PGP https://keybase.io/ryanstraight

Course Description

This course is a beginning level exploration of human-computer design, interaction and interfaces. The students will be introduced to the theory of human-computer interaction (HCI) as well as to the principles of effective visual design using user experiences.

Course Overview

On completing this course, students will have participated in each step of the interaction design process. They will be familiar with the vocabulary, tools, and methodologies of an interaction designer and know the role of each member of an interaction design team. Students will understand how human-computer interaction fits in the larger topic of interaction design.

This course utilizes a variety of educational activities to deliver and assess understanding of the course content. Students will work in collaborative groups to complete weekly questions from the reading assignments, participate in activities during the weekly course meetings, complete a series of five independent projects, and engage in other activities as assigned.

We will cover many topics in this class, we will find ourselves in many places and times, and we will be both historians and futurists. Any study of the intersection of technology and education requires a foray into myriad topics, including psychology, sociology, media studies, gender studies, geo-politics, security, futurism and more. Be prepared to become both consumers and creators. Bring your passion to this collaborative experience and we will all benefit greatly.

This course has been updated for inclusion in the Cyber Security program. With this inclusion, the notions of security/usability balance, appropriate timing of security considerations, and the place of security at various points in the design, development, and testing of user interfaces is addressed. Through this, students will understand user interface issues that will affect the implementation and perception of security mechanisms and the behavioral impacts of various security ‘policies.’

Course Objectives

Based upon Association for Educational Communications and Technology’s AECT Standards for Professional Education Programs (2012 version):

This course is broken down into modules that last between 1 and 2 weeks.

Module 1

  1. Explain the difference between good and poor interaction design.
  2. Explain what is good and bad about an interactive product in terms of the goals and core principles of interaction design.
  3. Explain what is meant by problem space.
  4. Describe what a conceptual model is and how to begin to formulate one.
  5. Outline the core interaction types for informing the development of a conceptual model.
  6. Explain what cognition is and why it is important for interaction design.
  7. Explain what mental models are.
  8. Practice generating and eliciting mental models from others.
  9. Identify and explain implicit and explicit security policies in systems.
  10. Analyze the role of social engineering and its continued use as a primary attack vector.
  11. Discuss and describe the role of and best practices in authentication passwords.

Module 2

  1. Describe the social mechanisms that are used by people when communicating and collaborating.
  2. Discuss how social media have changed the ways in which we keep in touch, make contact, and manage our social and work lives.
  3. Describe some of the new forms of social behavior that have emerged as a result of using new social media and communication technologies.
  4. Describe how emotions relate to the user experience
  5. Identify examples of interfaces that are both pleasurable and usable.
  6. Present well-known models and frameworks of emotion and pleasure.
  7. Critique the persuasive impact of an online agent on customers.
  8. Cite examples of different kinds of interfaces
  9. Discuss the difference between graphical and natural user interfaces (GUIs vs NUIs).
  10. Compare and select interfaces appropriate to given applications or activities.

Module 3

  1. Discuss how to plan and run a successful data gathering program.
  2. List steps for planning and running a data gathering interview.
  3. Cite important practices for questionnaire design
  4. Describe frameworks for focusing an observation in the field
  5. Discuss the difference between qualitative and quantitative data and analysis.
  6. Analyze and report data gathered from a questionnaire.
  7. Explain strategies for analyzing data from an interview or observation.
  8. Evaluate and design authentication interfaces.

Module 4

  1. Explain the main principles of a user-centered approach to Interaction Design
  2. Describe a simple lifecycle model of interaction design.
  3. Perform each step of the interaction design lifecycle on a project with a given scope
  4. Describe different kinds of requirements.
  5. Identify different kinds of requirements from a simple description.
  6. Match data gathering techniques to requirements gathering activities
  7. Perform hierarchical task analysis on a simple description.
  8. Describe prototyping and different types of prototyping activities.
  9. Produce simple prototypes from the models developed during the requirements activity.
  10. Create a conceptual model for a product and justify your choices.
  11. Explain the use of scenarios and prototypes in design.
  12. Analyze policies that users control and hidden policies controlled by a system.

Module 5

  1. Define key concepts and terms used in evaluation.
  2. Describe a range of different types of evaluation methods.
  3. Discuss some of the practical challenges that evaluators have to consider when doing evaluation.
  4. Match different evaluation methods to their appropriate stages of the design process.
  5. Define the components of the DECIDE framework described in the book.
  6. Describe the components required to conduct a usability test and the kind of information that can be gathered
  7. Conduct a simple usability test of an existing website or interactive product.
  8. List and define the 10 heuristics identified by Nielsen, et al.
  9. Conduct a heuristic evaluation of an existing website or interactive product.
  10. Define and demonstrate how implementing security impacts the user experience.


In each module students may turn in an optional User Experience Analysis (UXA). You are highly encouraged to complete these bonus assignments! They add up pretty quickly.

Required Readings

Preece, J., Sharp, H., & Rogers, Y. (2019). Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction. 5th ed. Chinchester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley. ISBN: 978-1119020752. http://www.id-book.com.

Browsing the book’s website is highly encouraged.

Security-related readings are also required and can be found in the LMS, including the OWASP Secure Coding and Testing guidelines: https://www.owasp.org/

Additional readings will be provided on a module-by-module basis.


Following is a basic list of assignments and their point values. Note that this may change throughout the semester depending on class needs. Items in italics are bonus and are not included in the total calculation.

Assignment Point value
Weekly reading responses 100 (10pts x 10 chapters)
Annotated Bibliography 25
Project 1: The Conceptual Model 30
Project 2: Personas 30
Project 3: Lo-Fidelity Prototypes 36
Project 4: Heuristic Evaluation 30
Project 5: Usability & Security Testing 50
‘Connections’ Reflection Paper 15
User Experience Analyses 25 (5pts x 5)
Final Reflection 5
Total: 316

Weekly Assignments

You will have weekly questions to answer in a solo fashion though working together is highly encouraged; it’s just not group work.

  • 90 points spread out through 9 chapter response sets

Annotated Bibliography

Students will produce an annotated bibliography with an introduction, a conclusion, and in proper APA 6th edition style. See the LMS for many resources on both writing an annotated bibliography and correctly using 6th edition APA. The topic of the bibliography is chosen by the student, so long as it fits within the realm of HCI.

  • 25 points, evaluation and point distribution in assignment rubric.


Each module culminates in a project wherein students are provided with a real-world problem to solve. Projects are individual in nature but may require students to perform interview or testing simulations with third parties outside the class. Each project has an associated (entirely optional and bonus) User Experience Analysis that allows students to apply what they’ve accomplished in the project to a more personal, creative, familiar experience.

Project 1: The Conceptual Model

This project is intended to allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the conceptual model, how it fits into the larger realm of interaction design, and to flex your creative muscles. There is no required format for how the material should be presented beyond using a table where specified. Students will also reflect on the importance of and need to include security considerations at the conceptual stage.

  • 30 points, evaluation and point distribution in assignment rubric.
  • 5 bonus points for optional UXA

Project 2: Personas

This project aims at introducing students to the concept of personas and their usefulness and place in the interaction design process. Personas should be in narrative form and should include a photo, name, and personal details that bring the persona to life. Each persona must include likes, dislikes, and goals for visiting the site and be referenced to the analytics data when possible. Students are also introduced to Creative Commons and public domain materials.

  • 30 points, evaluation and point distribution in assignment rubric.
  • 5 bonus points for optional UXA

Project 3: Lo-Fi Prototypes

Students are given a scenario in which they provide a low fidelity prototype to a client for testing. Students will provide an appropriate interface metaphor, interaction type, the paper prototype itself, a step-by-step documentation of the interactions within the prototype (as per the scenario), and a reflection of their process and the experience of having someone else ‘test’ the prototype. Students’ artistic skills are not evaluated. Inclusion a of standards-based authentication module is required.

  • 36 points, evaluation and point distribution in assignment rubric.
  • 5 bonus points for optional UXA

Project 4: The Heuristic Evaluation & Security Audit

Students will be introduced to methods for testing the usability of websites and perform tests on real-world interfaces and best-practices for site security as per OWASP. They will define different methods for heuristically evaluating a website and choose the appropriate test given example sites at different stages of development. Students will propose methods for resolving issues given a site with a predefined set of issues. Students will also provide a detailed evaluation and tear-down of site security and provide industry-standard suggestions for improvement.

  • 30 points, evaluation and point distribution in assignment rubric.
  • 5 bonus points for optional UXA

Project 5: User & Security Experience Testing

Given a specific scenario, students will develop a usability testing plan for a website that addresses a particular client request. Students’ testing plans will cover the scope, purpose, testing sessions, participant descriptions, scenarios, quantitative and qualitative metrics, the roles performed by those in the testing group, and an analysis of user experience regarding current security measures in place on that website. Tests performed by the student will ultimately comply with standards presented by Usability.gov and in part the OWASP Testing Guide.

  • 50 points, evaluation and point distribution in assignment rubric.
  • 5 bonus points for optional UXA


Connections: Single Point of Failure

Students will reflect on the strength as well as the fragility of large-scale systems based on human-computer interaction. Introduced to the concept of the ‘single point of failure,’ students will critically examine HCI from both technical and societal standpoints, as well as their own assumptions and preconceptions about that complex intersection.

  • 15 points, evaluation and point distribution in assignment rubric.

Final Reflection

Students will subjectively reflect on the class as a whole (both in content and delivery), addressing their expectations of the experience, what they perceived (specifically regarding the online environment), and what and how students felt were their biggest accomplishments and hurdles throughout the semester. This is not intended to be a replacement for TCEs.

  • 5 bonus points


Assessment in this class relies heavily on you. Read below to find out how.


Please be aware that with the exception of extremely extraneous circumstances (death in the immediate family, hospitalization, etc.), I do not give out Incomplete grades. You should be keeping an eye on your grade throughout the semester and, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me. http://catalog.arizona.edu/policy/grades-and-grading-system

Example Score Breakdown

I use a simple point scale calculated to a percentage automatically by our LMS. I do not round, so an effort to attain all points possible is highly encouraged. Below is an initial grading breakdown for this class. Note: this may change as the semester moves along and point values shift or assignments are added or removed. Point values labeled with italics are bonus and are not calculated into the final grade total.

Grade Percentage Points: Low High
A 90% 284.4 316
B 80% 252.8 284.3
C 70% 221.2 251.7
D 60% We need to talk. Now.


You’ll notice this course does something a bit different with project grades: it is your responsibility to explain how you achieve the targets listed, not to simply state that you did. As such, you need to include in each submission a Grading Declaration. On the last page of every assignment (even if there is a Works Cited page, it should go at the very end), simply copy the different criteria (Task 1: Objects, Task 2: Attributes, etc) and state clearly, concisely, and specifically how you addressed them in your project. A couple examples from Project 1 could be (you should have a line for each of the items in the rubric or for each requirement, not just what I have here):

Task 2: Detail: I created four conceptual model tables that are complete and each addresses one the four required sub-systems listed in the assignment document.

Mechanics: Both I and a classmate proofread my submission, looking for grammatical and spelling errors. I also double-checked my citations with the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) criteria for APA formatting.

Each project has a rubric like the one below included in the assignment. Use it as your guide to create your Declaration. See this Google document as an example (requires UA login).

Please note: While the majority of projects use targets, there are a few projects that you will receive points for simply by completing them. If a project does not have a rubric, I will note that in the assessment section of each project. You should still include a Grading Declaration that explains how you fulfilled the assignment requirements.

Gateway Requirements

Also be aware that there are gateway requirements prior to reaching the assessment rubric. For example, if a project requires you to submit an 8-10 page paper and your submission is only 6 pages (ie, does not meet the gateway requirements) I will simply not grade it. These gateway requirements are made clear in each assignment document. Your grading declaration is a gateway requirement. If it is missing or incomplete, again, the assignment will not be evaluated!

Course Schedule

The general course schedule is maintained in detail in the LMS. Recorded class sessions are available through Slack. Attending class sessions (or watching the recorded session if you missed class) and submitting your notes to the appropriate weekly dropbox is absolutely necessary and vital to your success in this class. (It’s also required for credit.)

For the purposes of this class, weeks begin on MONDAY.


I am nearly always available through electronic means. My policy is that I will respond usually immediately, mostly within 24 hours, and at the latest to questions within 48 hours (or by Monday morning if sent during the weekend, during which I do not work). If I do not respond in this windows do not hesitate to bug me. All questions that are class-related and not personal in nature should be posted in Slack to the class channel so everyone can benefit from the response (or chime in). Personal issues may be sent via direct message (DM). All emails sent to me should have subjects beginning with INFV ### or ETCV ###. All emails I send (that are not automatically created by the LMS) will have the same. This makes finding things considerably easier. Still, I reiterate: Slack is the better way to contact me.

Also note that I do not respond to communications about making up missed work or improving grades during the end of the semester. It is your responsibility to keep an eye on your grade throughout the semester and contact me with your concerns before the course is nearly ended. If you missed some points in week 2 you should not be petitioning me in week 7 to make them up.

Course Technology

This is a technology-driven course. As such, you are required to have ready access to a relatively modern computer and an account that allows you to install software on that computer. You should also be excited to try and use new technologies. We do a lot of that.

The course website can be found on D2L at https://d2l.arizona.edu/. Log in with your NetID. Note that course content lives primarily within D2L but usually as Google Documents that require you to use your UA account to access. Keep this in mind if you use multiple Gmail accounts.

We will have a full-class chatroom/discussion board/forum on Slack. You will be able to log into Slack via your Google Apps for Education account (it will use WebAuth). Having the Slack application installed on your phone is required (if possible).

Updating your profiles in both D2L and Slack is required. We’re spending a lot of time together, so no excuse to just be a NetID for 8 weeks. Picture, likes and dislikes, job title, degree, home campus, the works.

You may be asked to use software that requires more processing power than your computer has. Contact the instructor if you feel this will prevent you from participating.

Class meetings are hosted via Zoom. It is REQUIRED that you have a microphone and headphones for the class meetings. (A cheap set of earbuds will work if your laptop has a mic and you will be from a relatively quiet place.) You will be expected to use them. Should we have a class activity that requires a microphone and you do not have one you will not receive credit for that assignment. Having working headphones and a microphone is not negotiable.

You will need to install the latest edition of the Chrome browser for this class. Tech support is vastly simpler if everyone uses the same browser.

Document submissions are required to be in PDF format unless otherwise noted. Assignments should also be in APA 6th ed. formatting, which is best achieved using Microsoft Word (free for students) or Google Documents (free for all).

Class Policies

These policies run across all of my classes. Take the time to read them if this is your first class with me (go ahead and read them again, even if it’s not). The following are in addition to or in concert with all policies found in the University Catalog: http://catalog.arizona.edu/policies

The 7.5 Week Semester

The material covered and assignments required in a shortened 7.5 week semester are equal to those in a full 16 week semester with half the time allotted. Time management and “working ahead” are practical necessities in an accelerated semester. Do not fall behind. “I didn’t have time” is not an acceptable excuse for missing assignments or readings.

Use of Student Work

Assignments completed for this course may be used as examples of student work in an instructor portfolio. Names and other identifying elements will be removed before inclusion. Students who do not wish their work to be used must inform the instructor in writing before the start of the second week of classes.

Student Workload

According to UA policy, at least 15 contact hours of recitation, lecture, discussion, seminar, or colloquium, as well as a minimum of 30 hours of student homework are required for each unit of student credit. A contact hour is the equivalent of 50 minutes of class time or 60 minutes of independent-study work. For an online course this equates to 45 hours of work per credit; 135 hours total for the semester in a 3-credit class (9 hours per week). The hour requirements specified above represent minimums for average students, and considerable deviation (more or less) of these requirements may occur. In shortened, accelerated 7.5 week classes this workload is doubled. You should expect to spend 18 hours per week on this class. Budget your time wisely and always look ahead.



UA South provides free tutoring for writing and math, and various other related subjects, at multiple locations and fully online. Students can access free tutoring in- person at our Cochise and Yuma County locations, at the UA Think Tank in Tucson, as well as fully online from the UA Think Tank.

To find tutoring hours and availability near you, please select your location below to find the tutoring available at your learning center.

Academic Dishonesty

Cheating and plagiarism are unethical. Students are expected to do their own work. Plagiarism includes copying or cutting and pasting from online sources, taking information from a book or article, copying someone else’s paper, or having someone else do your work for you. Research sources must be properly documented. Students found cheating or intentionally plagiarizing will receive a zero for the assignment and may be dismissed from the class with a failing grade, required to attend workshops, have a permanent note included on his or her transcript, or any combination thereof to the instructor’s discretion.

I take this very seriously and, as professional academics in this field, I expect you to, as well. When in doubt, cite! See our program website for a primer on APA style, citation, and avoiding plagiarism and cheating.

In a development course like this it is likely you will come across much in the way of inspiration, be it in class or through your own research. Keep a constant log of all assets you either use in your work (free vectors or audio clips, for example) or note down what the inspiration was for a particular development choice. Being inspired by something you love is perfectly fine; simply using it is not.

Plagiarism and Cheating

Integrity and ethical behavior are expected of every student in all academic work. This Academic Integrity principle stands for honesty in all class work, and ethical conduct in all labs and clinical assignments. This principle is furthered by the student Code of Conduct and disciplinary procedures established by ABOR Policies 5-308 through 5-404, all provisions of which apply to all University of Arizona students. This Code of Academic Integrity is intended to fulfill the requirement imposed by ABOR Policy 5-403.A.4 and otherwise to supplement the Student Code of Conduct as permitted by ABOR Policy 5-308.C.1.

As a blanket policy I have automated plagiarism checking enabled for all assignments in all my classes. This is not meant to suggest I expect anyone to plagiarize but to demonstrate how seriously I take this.

Threatening Behavior

The University seeks to promote a safe environment where students and employees may participate in the educational process without compromising their health, safety or welfare. The Arizona Board of Regents’ Student Code of Conduct, ABOR Policy 5-308, prohibits threats of physical harm to any member of the University community, including to one’s self. Threatening behavior can harm and disrupt the University, its community and its families.

There will always be times when electronic communication will be necessary between students and between instructor and students. Please treat each other kindly and professionally!

Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy

The University is committed to creating and maintaining an environment free of discrimination. Our classroom is a place where everyone is encouraged to express well-formed opinions and their reasons for those opinions. We also want to create a tolerant and open environment where such opinions can be expressed without resorting to bullying or discrimination of others.


You’re an adult – be responsible for your attendance. If you miss a class you are required to watch the recording and still submit either your in-class notes or the in-class activity. There are also a number of things that you are expected to complete within the first week of class (these are listed clearly in the LMS). Failure to do these can result in being administratively dropped from the class. Likewise, no/poor attendance throughout the beginning of the class can result in being administratively dropped from the class. Note: instructors are not obligated to administratively drop students for failure to participate. If a student is administratively dropped between weeks five through eight a “W” will be administered if he/she has maintained a passing grade (60% or higher). An “E” will be administered for anything lower unless extenuating circumstances dictate otherwise as deemed appropriate by the instructor. See the class attendance policy in the General Catalog: http://catalog.arizona.edu/policy/class-attendance-participation-and-administrative-drop

Paper/Assignment Submission

All assignments, papers, projects should be submitted in the specified method based on the system time in the class website. Due to the frantic nature of game development projects, no late work will be accepted for partial points. Keep in mind, however, that much work is iterative and you are still expected to complete it as later assignments/work are predicated on earlier assignments/work. Be aware that instructors are not obligated to accept late work at all. Students are responsible for ensuring proper delivery of their assignments/papers/projects. If an agreement has been made with the instructor to accept work after the due date or in a unique format it is the student’s responsibility to let the instructor know when this is done. Submissions of this nature may not necessarily be graded and returned along the same schedule as others. This policy may change for individual assignments. Do not wait until the last minute to submit. Your router going down or your computer’s clock being different from that of the LMS are not valid reasons for being late. It is also highly suggested you keep your ‘working’ folder in Google Drive or some other cloud-copy backup location like Box.net. Your University of Arizona Google Apps for Education account comes with free, unlimited storage. Use it.

All written assignments submitted should be properly formatted and stylized. I require that the American Psychological Association, 6th ed, revised manual be followed. Period. You may omit the cover page for small assignments.

Grading Turn-Around Time

Please note that I generally do not begin to grade an assignment until on or after the due date since it is my preference to grade all students’ submissions at one time, as well as return grades and feedback simultaneously. I will do my best to provide grades and useful feedback expediently.

However, some submissions require me to spend a significant time working through the materials. This may cause me to be delayed in grading that project. Additionally, if I am traveling I may be delayed in grading your submission. If this happens I will let everyone know.

NOTE: You are expected to retain an electronic copy of all work submitted. If transmission of the work fails, you are expected to “resend” the document or message (in the case of online discussions). This is entirely your responsibility.

Social Media Policy

Should this course require participation in social media you have the option of using “burner” accounts should you feel uncomfortable with using a personal account for academic work. You may even choose to use a unique, unrelated email account to sign up for various platforms. You are in no way required to follow, friend, etc., your instructor, only to provide information about the account you decided to use.

The reason for this policy is as follows: if you are active on social media already and want to combine your personal and professional/academic activities, you may; if you are active on social media and do not want to mingle your personal and professional/academic activities, you have that option (this method is preferred for students); if you are not active on social media and have no intention of maintaining a presence after this course, simply abandon or delete your burner account. It is your instructor’s wish to reap the benefits of developing personal learning networks and getting global perspectives while maintaining a safe, secure environment for you.

That said, I will, at times, share interesting and related content via Twitter using a class hashtag, such as #infv401. You are not required to pay attention to this though it is encouraged.

Office Hours and Scheduling Meetings

I have a virtual open-door policy. That is to say, feel free to send me a DM and see if I’m available to chat any time. I like to think of it as dropping by the department’s building and peeking your head in my door. Just as it is in person, I’m not always available right that second, so you’re welcome to ‘wait in the hall’ (until I’ve finished doing whatever I was doing) or schedule an appointment with me. I’m happy to do a video conference via Slack (preferably), Zoom meet in person on Main Campus or in my office on the Pima East campus, as I live in Tucson.

Accessibility and Accommodations

If you have special needs as addressed by the Americans with Disabilities Act and need course materials in alternative formats or need any special accommodations, please notify your course instructor(s) and contact the Disability Resource Center immediately at 520-621-3268 or get information from DRC web site http://drc.arizona.edu.

Basic Securities

Any student who has difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or who lacks a safe and stable place to live, and believes this may affect their performance in the course, is urged to contact the Dean of Students for support. Furthermore, please notify the professor if you are comfortable in doing so. This will enable them to provide any resources that they may possess. (Adapted from Sara Goldrick-Rab.)

What to Expect

Given the nature of our field, it is entirely possible that materials considered adult, controversial, or objectionable in nature will crop up from time to time. We will be spending the majority of our time on the Internet and we should not only understand but respect the fact that it is a free and open place. As responsible adults, I encourage and expect everyone to be safe, smart, and secure when engaged online. Should you have any questions or concerns about content, please email me to discuss an alternative assignment.

Non-Endorsement Policy

In the course of accessing the online resources available in this course you will encounter a number of advertisements. We can not remove them from the material so it is your choice if you explore any of the advertising you encounter. However, the University does not endorse any of these advertisements.

A Personal Note

We live in a digital age. We communicate through digital means. While I fully expect your submitted assignments to employ proper spelling, grammar, construction, and styling, I not only allow but expect and encourage you to express yourself using whatever communicative means you like. I will use emoticons; I will type in the text chat without using proper capitalization and punctuation; I will use ‘reaction gifs’ and make references to memes in casual situations; I will share entertaining but relevant media. If I can do it, so can you. Just remember: a place and time for everything, just as the way you speak with friends on a Friday night out is not the same as when you’re giving a conference presentation. Context is everything.

The contents of this syllabus are subject to on-going change over the course of the semester as needed to accommodate students’ progress. Always link to this document instead of downloading a local copy.

Syllabus dated: October 12, 2019.

Copyright © 2019 Ryan Straight. All rights reserved.