Informatics 232: Research in Human Centered Computing

With the emergence of the “personal computing” paradigm in the 1970s, computers moved out of the machine room and became devices with which end-users would interact directly. The field of HCI grew up in response to the engineering and cognitive challenges of building systems that fit with user needs. The field of HCI has broadened considerably since then, reflecting the influence of new disciplines (e.g. sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, communication, design) and the emergence of new areas of interest (e.g. physical and tangible computing, mobile and ubiquitous systems).

In previous years, we taught a single graduate HCI class. We found, though, that there are two broad constituencies for this class — those who wish to understand design fundamentals and methods that they can apply in their own work (at UCI or beyond), and those who intend to conduct doctoral research in HCI. Accordingly, we split the class into 231, for people with a practical interest in building and evaluating user interfaces, and 232, for people coming to the topic as an area where they plan to undertake research.

In this class, we will examine current research issues in Human-Computer Interaction. A familiarity with the basic topics and techniques of HCI will be assumed; instead, the goal is to bring you into contemporary debates and familiarize you with topics of significant research activity. INF 232 tends to take on something of the character of the instructor’s own research program, unsurprisingly; since most of my work focuses on topics in social and cultural aspects of interaction design, that’s much of what we’ll talk about.

Grades will be based on participation in online and in-class discussion, and on a quarter long project to be conducted in pairs (or groups of three in the event of an uneven number of students in the class).

Basic Info

Class is Mondays and Wednesdays 330 to 450. I will be jetting out of there right after (and I am afraid I tend to run class to the very end most days). So, if you need to talk to me, make an appointment. I will try to get to class a touch early as well.

Class is in MSTB. This is the building between parking lot 12B and E Peltason. The link to room 110 is broken, so I guess we will all figure things out when we get there.

Your final is scheduled for March 14 4 to 6PM. This is unlikely to be time used for a final. We will discuss more in class, but block it for now.


Gillian R. Hayes

  • Office: Donald Bren Hall, 5084 (I have recently moved)
  • Phone: 949-824-1483
  • Email: gillianrh [at] ics [dot] uci [dot] edu
  • Office Hours: TBD or by appointment


Readings are posted in the EEE dropbox as two zip files or available online through the UCI library.

Books should either be purchased or read online through the UCI library subscription. They include Yvonne Rogers book on HCI Theory and Ways of Knowing in HCI, edited by Olson and Kellogg. This second book was already used by many of you in 201. So, you should be good to go there.


Most of the quarter is structured around in-class discussions of readings (see schedule below). For each class, two students will lead the discussion. Everyone else should post a response to the readings online, due 24 hours before the class starts (in order to give the discussion leaders time to use them to prepare for the discussion.) Your participation in discussions, online and in class, will be one component of your grade for the class.

Discussion responses should be posted through EEE.

Week One:

1/4       Introduction and course overview
Sign up for discussion sessions. There are 15 sessions and right now 16 students (though I anticipate at least one drop). So, you should each sign up for 3 classes, with 3 people signed up for each class. You can sign up here:

1/6       Seminal ideas and starting points

  • Bush, 1945 As We May Think, The Atlantic Monthly
  • Hutchins et al. 1985. Direct Manipulation Interfaces, Human-Computer Interaction
  • Card & Moran. 1986. User Technology: From Pointing to Pondering, ACM Conf. History of Personal Workstations
  • Winograd, T. (1995). From Programming Environments to Environments for Designing. Communications of the ACM, Vol. 38, No. 6, pp. 65-74.

Week Two:

1/11     Theoretical Foundations

  • Hollan, J., Hutchins, E., and Kirsh, D. 2000. Distributed Cognition, ACM Trans. Computer-Human Interaction;
  • Bertelsen, O. and Bodker, S. 2003. Activity Theory, HCI Models, Theories, and Frameworks: Toward a Multidisciplinary Science.
  • Nardi, B. (1996) Studying context: a comparison of activity theory, situated action models, and distributed cognition. In: B. Nardi (ed.) Context and Consciousness: Activity Theory and Human-Computer Interaction. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Excerpt from Card, S.K., Moran, T.P., & Newell, A. (1983). The Psychology of HumanComputer Interaction. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
  • Excerpt from Pyschology of Everyday Things
  • Kirsch’s Intelligent Use of Space
  • Hutchins’ How a Cockpit Remembers its Speed.

1/13     Theory

  • Rogers, Y. HCI Theory: Classical, Modern, and Contemporary. Download through the UCI library.

Week Three:

1/18 MLK Day

1/20 Methods and Evaluation

  • McGrath, J. 1994. Methodology Matters: Doing Research in the Behavioral Social Sciences, Readings in Human-Computer Interaction;
  • Carter, S., Mankoff, J., Klemmer, S., and Matthews, T. 2008. Exiting the Cleanroom, Human-Computer Interaction
  • Neale, D., Carroll, J., and Rosson, M. 2004. Evaluating Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Proc ACM. Conf. Computer-Supported Cooperative Work.
  • Nielsen, J. (1994). Guerilla HCI: Using Discount Usability Engineering to Penetrate the Intimidation Barrier.
  • Dahlback,N, A. Jonsson, and L. Ahrenberg. (1993). Wizard of Oz Studies – Why and How. In Proceedings of the ACM International Workshop on Intelligent User Interfaces.
  • Revisit from Ways of Knowing in HCI:
    • Siek et al. Field Deployments
    • Gergle & Tan Experimental Research
    • Muller et al Survey Research chapters.

Week Four

1/25     Fieldwork and ethnography

  • Blomberg, J., Burrell, M., and Guest, G. 2003. An Ethnographic Approach to Design, Human-Computer Interaction Handbook
  • Dourish, P. 2006. Implications for Design, Proc. ACM Conf. Human Factors in Computing Systems
  • Holtzblatt, K. 2003. Contextual Inquiry, Human-Computer Interaction Handbook
  • Gaver, W., Dunne, T., and Pacenti, E. 1999. Cultural Probes, interactions.
  • Boehner, K., Vertesi, J., Sengers, P., Dourish, P. How HCI Interprets the Probes. CHI 2007.
  • Revisit from Ways of Knowing in HCI
    • Dourish Reading and Interpreting Ethnography
    • Muller Grounded Theory

1/27     Prototyping and design                   

  • House, S. and Hill, C. 1997. What Do Prototypes Prototype?, Handbook of Human-Computer Interaction
  • Tohidi, M., Buxton, W., Baecker, R., and Sellen, A. 2006. Getting the Design Right and Getting the Right Design, Proc. ACM Conf. Human Factors in Computing Systems.
  • Sellen, K. M., Massimi, M. A., Lottridge, D. M., Truong, K. N., and Bittle, S. A. 2009. The people-prototype problem: understanding the interaction between prototype format and user group. CHI 2009.
  • Truong, K. N., Hayes, G. R., and Abowd, G. D. 2006. Storyboarding: an empirical determination of best practices and effective guidelines. DIS 2006
  • Muller and Kuhn. Participatory Design. CACM 1993.
  • Muller and Druin. Participatory Design: The Third Space in HCI.
  • Revisit Zimmerman and Forlizi chapter on Research Through Design from Ways of Knowing in HCI.

Week Five

2/1       Information Seeking                      

  • Pirolli, P. and Card, S. 1999. Information Foraging, Psychological Review
  • Yee, K., Swearingen, K., Li, K., and Hearst, M. 2003. Faceted Metadata for Image Search and Browsing, Proc. ACM Conf. Human Factors in Computing Systems
  • Amershi, S. and Morris, M. 2008. CoSearch: A System for Co-located Collaborative Web Search, Proc ACM Conf. Human Factors in Computing Systems.

2/3       Social Computing   

  • Ames, M. and Naaman, M. 2007. Why We Tag, Proc. ACM Conf. Human Factors in Computing Systems
  • Donath, J. 2004. Sociable Media. Encyclopaedia of Human-Computer Interaction
  • Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook “friends:” Social capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 12(4), 1143-1168.
  • Erickson, T., Smith, D., Kellogg, W., Laff, M., Richards, J., and Bradner, E. 1999. Socially-Translucent Systems: Social Proxies, Persistent Conversation, and the Design of “Babble”. Proc. ACM Conf. Human Factors in Computing Systems.
  • Wyche, S. P., Lampe, C., Rangaswamy, N., Peters, A., Monroy-Hernández, A., & Antin, J. (2014, February). Facebook in the developing world: The myths and realities underlying a socially networked world. In Proceedings of the companion publication of the 17th ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work & social computing (pp. 121-124). ACM.

Week Six

2/8       Ubicomp        

  • Weiser, W. 1991. The Computer for the 21st Century, Scientific American
  • Abowd, G. and Mynatt, B. 2000. Charting Past, Present, and Future Research in Ubiquitous Computing, ACM Trans. Computer-Human Interaction
  • Dourish, P. and Mainwaring, S. 2012. Ubicomp’s Colonial Impulse.
  • Tolmie, P., Pyckock, J., Diggins, T., MacLean, A., and Karsenty, A. 2002. Unremarkable Computing, Proc. ACM Conf. Human Factors in Computing Systems.
  • Abowd, G. 2012. What next, Ubicomp? Celebrating an intellectual disappearing act

2/10     Project Presentations

Week Seven

2/15     President’s Day        

2/17     InfoViz                      

  • Card, S., Mackinlay, J., and Schneiderman, B. 1999. Information Visualization (ch1)
  • Fekete et al. The Value of Information Visualization.
  • Heer, J., Viegas, F., and Wattenberg, M. 2007. Voyagers and Voyeurs: Supporting Asynchronous Collaborative Information Visualization, Proc. ACM Conf. Human Factors in Computing Systems
  • Stasko, J., Miller T., Pousma, Z. Personalized Information Awareness through Information Art. Ubicomp 2004.
  • Jarke van Wijk, “Views on Visualization”, IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, Vol. 12, No. 4, Jul-Aug 2006, pp. 421-433.

Week Eight

2/22     Tools and toolkits    

  • Myers, B., Hudson, S., and Pausch, R. 2000. Past, Present, and Future of User Interface Software Tools, ACM Trans. Computer-Human Interaction
  • Li, Y., Hong, J., and Landay, J. 2004. Topiary: A Tool for Prototyping Location-Enhanced Applications, Proc. ACM Symp. User Interface Software and Tools.
  • Dey, AK and Abowd, GD.   A Conceptual Framework and a Toolkit for Supporting the Rapid Prototyping of Context-Aware Applications. HCI 2001.
  • Li, Y., & Landay, J. A. (2008, April). Activity-based prototyping of ubicomp applications for long-lived, everyday human activities. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1303-1312). ACM.
  • Revisit Hudson and Mankoff chapter on Technical HCI research from Ways of Knowing in HCI book.

2/24     Critical design                     

  • Dunne, T. and Raby, F. 2006. Hertzian Tales (excerpt)
  • Dunne and Raby. Towards a Critical Design (
  • Disalvo, C. (2015) Adversversarial Design chapters 1 and 5 (excerpt uploaded separate from the two readings Zips in dropbox.)
  • Sengers, P., Boehner, K., David, S., and Kaye, J. 2005. Reflective Design, Proc. Conf. on Critical Computing
  • Gaver, W., Sengers, P., Kerridge, T., Kaye, J., and Bowers, J. 2007. Enhancing Ubiquitous Computing with User Interpretation: Field testing the Home Health Horoscope, Proc. ACM Conf. Human Factors in Computing Systems.
  • Videos: Drift Table ( and The Plane Tracker (
  • Revisit Gaver chapter on Science, Deisgn, and Accountability from Ways of Knowing in HCI book.

Week Nine

2/29     Accessibility and Universal Design

  • Gabriele Meiselwitz, Brian Wentz and Jonathan Lazar (2010), “Universal Usability: Past, Present, and Future”, Foundations and Trends® in Human–Computer Interaction: Vol. 3: No. 4, pp 213-333 Universal Usability: Past, Present, and Future:
  • Erin Brady and Jeffrey P. Bigham (2015), “Crowdsourcing Accessibility: Human-Powered Access Technologies”, Foundations and Trends® Human–Computer Interaction: Vol. 8: No. 4, pp 273-372.
  • Dawe, M. (2006). Desperately seeking simplicity. Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – CHI ’06.

3/2       Children and Families

  • Juan Pablo Hourcade (2008), “Interaction Design and Children”, Foundations and Trends® in Human–Computer Interaction: Vol. 1: No. 4, pp 277-392.
  • Jerry Alan Fails, Mona Leigh Guha and Allison Druin (2013), “Methods and Techniques for Involving Children in the Design of New Technology for Children”, Foundations and Trends® in Human–Computer Interaction: Vol. 6: No. 2, pp 85-166.
  • Voida, A. and Greenberg, S. Wii All Play: The Console Game as a Computational Meeting Place
  • Raffle, H., et al. (2011). Hello, is Grandma There? Let’s Read! StoryVisit: Family Video Chat and Connected e-Books. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1195-1204). New York: ACM.

Week Ten

3/7       Health

  • Wang, T. D., Plaisant, C., Quinn, A. J., Stanchak, R., Murphy, S., and Shneiderman, B. 2008. Aligning temporal data by sentinel events: discovering patterns in electronic health records. CHI08
  • Bardram, J. E. 2004. Applications of context-aware computing in hospital work: examples and design principles. In Proceedings of the 2004 ACM Symposium on Applied Computing
  • Reddy, M. and Dourish, P. 2002. A finger on the pulse: temporal rhythms and information seeking in medical work
  • Tentori, M, Hayes, G.R., and Reddy, M. 2012. Pervasive Computing for Hospital, Chronic, and Preventive Care.
  • Sunny Consolvo, Predrag Klasnja, David W. McDonald and James A. Landay (2014), “Designing for Healthy Lifestyles: Design Considerations for Mobile Technologies to Encourage Consumer Health and Wellness”, Foundations and Trends® in Human–Computer Interaction: Vol. 6: No. 3–4, pp 167-315.

3/9       Gillian Away – no class, work on your final reports.


Your final is scheduled for Monday March 14 from 4 to 6PM. This means, I expect your final papers to be uploaded by 6PM on Monday March 14.

Your final paper should be around 5k to 10k words. Don’t write just for the sake of writing. If you can write it in 5K, please do.


General course information and policies

Probably the most dependable way to contact the professor is by e-mail at gillianrh AT ics… etc. Whenever you send e-mail, please make sure you include your full name in the message body and Informatics 232 in the subject line, because it is sometimes difficult to decipher student mail addresses or to find your message in the daily deluge that is my inbox. If you don’t hear back in a couple of days, try again. I don’t view this as bugging me, it helps find things that sometimes get lost in the milieux.

The class syllabus is posted on the class Web page and will be continually updated throughout the quarter. You should make it a regular habit to consult the syllabus. (Note: Because the syllabus is constantly updated, make sure you explicitly reload the page to ensure that you are looking at the latest version of the page. )

The final grades will be calculated based on the following weighting scheme. It is possible that this weighting scheme will be adjusted as the quarter progresses. Any such changes will be announced to the class.

Leading class discussion: 20%
In-Class participation: 25%
Online participation: 20%
Research project: 35%

You may not take this class pass/fail

Class participation, attendance, and good citizenship:

A good portion of the learning in this class will come from in class discussion and activities. If you do not attend class, you cannot participate, and your grade will reflect that. I expect that each student will make an effort to attend all classes and contribute to the discussion and exercises. That said, I recognize that life happens. You sometimes need to go to a doctor or a conference or a funeral or whatever. I don’t want or need to know about it. If it happens once or twice, I get that. If it happens a lot, no amount of excuses, however valid, will make up for your lack of participation. So, don’t feel compelled to share every detail of your lives.

In terms of online participation, I expect you to READ (and write) THE COMMENTS. This means that when you write comments, they should be civil, constructive, and thoughtful. In other words, the opposite of normal Internet comments.


There will be a final project. PhD students will do this work as individuals, and MS students may work in pairs.You will write a final paper on this project.

You should plan to undertake a piece of research in an area of HCI. The important focus here is that it is a research project, rather than a development effort. That is, you should (1) have a specific research question that you are asking, (2) be grounded in research literature, and (3) substantiate an answer with data.

Obviously, in a ten week quarter, it’s impossible to formulate, conduct, and write up a substantial research project; but nonetheless, although the projects will be necessarily modest in scope, they can still maintain a research focus.

Other Important Class Policies:

Late Assignments
No late work will be accepted.

If you are a student with a disability (e.g., physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing, etc.) and think that you might need special assistance or a special accommodation in this class or any other class, please check out the Disability Center online or visit them in person)

Counseling Center:
If you find that personal problems, career indecision, study and time management difficulties, etc. are adversely impacting your successful progress at UCI, please check out the Counseling Center online or in person at 203 student services 1.

Technology Requirements:
You need access to a personal computer (Mac or Windows) for major amounts of time for this course. You need Internet access for this course. You must be able to save word processing files in a .doc or .docx (Microsoft Word) or .pdf format for sharing and submitting files to the instructor. You are expected to have working knowledge and capability with your computer before entering this class.
 Please submit all papers and materials (unless otherwise noted in the course schedule) through EEE/ online or in person as noted in class. NO ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED BY EMAIL. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Class information and announcements will be communicated through EEE and through your UCI email address. To access EEE, you will need your UCI Net ID and password. If you do not know these, please contact OIT.

Plagiarism & Cheating:
Please read and heed the following information regarding academic dishonesty. The instructor cannot and will not tolerate academic dishonesty. For more information, refer to the UCI Student Handbook. The UCI campus policy on plagiarism can also be found on the Registrar’s website, under “Academic Honesty Policy”.

In assignments that involve a partner, you will BOTH be held EQUALLY responsible for any plagiarism, regardless of who actually wrote what in the paper. So do not come to me claiming that your partner was the one who actually plagiarized. You are responsible for content with your name on it.
Everything you turn in WILL BE CHECKED FOR PLAGIARISM. The penalty for plagiarism and cheating is at a minimum to receive a 0 on the assignment and have the case reported to the Associate Dean’s office. Particularly flagrant cases may receive more severe punishment (notably failing the course).

I can not emphasize to you enough how strongly I feel about plagiarism and cheating. It will NOT be tolerated.
 If you have any questions, please come to me and ask. It is much better to ask before than to be caught after.

What is cheating?

❑ Supplying or using work or answers not your own.
❑ Providing or accepting assistance with completing assignments or examinations.
❑ Faking data or results. (particularly important as researchers!)
❑ Interfering in any way with someone else’s work.
❑ Stealing an examination or solution from the teacher.

What is plagiarism?
❑ Copying a paper from a source text without proper acknowledgment.
❑ Buying a paper from a research service or term paper mill.
❑ Turning in another student’s work with or without that student’s knowledge.
❑ Copying a paper from a source text without proper acknowledgment.
❑ Copying materials from a source text, supplying proper documentation, but leaving out quotation marks.
❑ Paraphrasing materials from a source text without appropriate documentation.
❑ Turning in a paper from a term paper website.
You should be EVER WATCHFUL about plagiarism. It can creep up in the strangest and most unexpected places, and I will be on guard at all times in search of it. In academia, the only thing we have is our ideas. If you do not respect other people’s ideas, you can not be a successful, moral, and ethical academic.

Generally, when you use ideas and/or words gathered from some other source, you will either quote that source directly or you will paraphrase or summarize that work. You MUST let the reader know which you are doing.
1. If you quote the source directly, you must
a. put quotation marks before and after that person’s words;
b. let the reader know the source by (1) putting a footnote or endnote number at the end of the quotation, or (2) putting at least the source’s name in parentheses after the quotation marks (such as when being taken from fieldwork).
2. If you paraphrase (a paraphrase is about the same length as the original, but in different words) or if you summarize (a summary is a severely shortened version of the original), you must
a. introduce the source in some manner at the beginning of the passage being paraphrased (or summarized) so that the reader can tell where your idea stops and the other person’s begins;
b. state the ideas taken from the source in your own words and your own arrangement. It is possible to plagiarize sentence patterns as well as exact words.
****A useful rule to check every time you paraphrase or summarize: if, when you are summarizing, you use more than three words in in a row from the source materials, you should think about using quotations around those words. This is not a bad thing. You want to use the quotes!
c. provide the exact source citation/reference for the ideas that you are summarizing. In formal writing, you can do this with a footnote, endnote, or other formal reference. In less formal writing, you can mark it inline or as a note at the end of your writing. Either way, make sure the reader knows where to find the source and gives proper credit to the original author.
3. You must also provide a footnote, endnote, or reference for ANY chart, graph, figure, table, summary, or other data taken directly from another source as well as anything that you state in text that comes from such a visual reference. You should also be sure to check copyright to determine whether you are even allowed to use this figure in the first place. Google and Flickr both have advanced search engines that allow you to only find images that are allowed to be used (typically with attribution through Creative Commons or another similar body).

For example, the text here on plagiarism has been generously borrowed and slightly modified from the UTC Center for Advisement and Student Success. Likewise, the course materials have been replicated over the years from previous courses I have taught as well as those of Yunan Chen, David Redmiles, and Paul Dourish.