Last revised 10/9/06 -- significant changes made in syllabus for this date forward.


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Aug 29 & 31

Intro:&: concepts and methods needs assessment usability assessment methods overview

Aug 30: Guest Speaker, Patrick Riley: World Cup RFID Tickets Usability Disaster

Ben Shneiderman and Catherine Plaisant, Designing the User Interface : Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction, New York; Addison-Wesley, 2004
Sections 1.1-1.4

Kuniavsky Ch. 3

Usability basics from

Pls fill out and email me this student info sheet

Sept 5 & 7

User-centered design, iterative development, and planning; Ethics of working with users; Methods overview

Kuniavsky, Chs. 4 & 5

Courage & Baxter Chapter 3

Shneiderman and Plaisant, Sections 3.1-3.4

IBM ease of use process navigator process map and planning guide methods table

Added resources

Assn 1: Naive usability assessment due Tues 9/5

Sept 12 & 14

Changed 9/4 Learning about users; user and task analysis; competitor analysis overview learning about users

Kuniavsky Ch. 6 & 7

Oudshoorn, Nelly, and Pinch, Trevor. "How Users and Non-Users Matter," p. 1-16. In: Oudshoorn and Pinch, eds. How Useers Matter: the Co-Construction of Users and Technology. MIT Press, 2003.

Recommended: Grint, K. & Woolgar, S. (1997a). Configuring the user: inventing new technologies. In Grint & Woolgar, The machine at work: technology, work, and organization (pp. 65-94). Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Hackos and Redish, Ch 2, Thinking about Users, Ch 3, Thinking about Tasks, Ch 4, Thinking about the Users' Environment

Goto and Cotler, Chapter 10:  Analyzing Your Competition

Competitor analysis from


Sept 19 Changed 9/4

Sampling basics

Any thorough text on sampling and survey sampling will do; here's an online source: Statistics: Power from Data from Statistics Canada. Read the entire chapter on Sampling Methods that starts here. These concepts underlie much of data collection for a variety of purposes.


Sept 21 Changed 9/4

Preliminary project review and discussion

  Preliminary project plan due - final project description.

Sept 26

Ethnographic methods in needs and usability assessment

Blomberg, J., Burrell, M., Guest, G. An ethnographic approach to design. In Jacko J. A., Sears A. (eds.). The Human-Computer Interaction Handbook: Fundamentals, Evolving Technologies and Emerging Applications. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.: Mahwah, New Jersey, 2003.

David R. Millen. Rapid ethnography: time deepening strategies for HCI field research. Conference proceedings on Designing interactive systems : processes, practices, methods, and techniques. ACM, 2000.

Hugh Beyer and Karen Holtzblatt, Contextual Design, San Francisco; Morgan-Kaufman, 1998
Chapter 1 - Introduction

Highly recommended:

  • Paul Dourish, "Implications for Design," CHI 2006
    Diana Forsythe (2001). "It's just a matter of common sense": Ethnography as invisible work. In Studying those who study us: An anthropologist in the world of artificial intelligence (pp. 146-162). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Originally pub'd in CSCW 1998 v20 no. 1 p 6-11
Diary study this week.

Sept. 28

Conducting Interviews

Robert S. Weiss, Learning from Strangers - The Art and Method of Qualitative Interview Studies, New York: The Free Press, 1994
Chapter 3 - Preparation for Interviewing
Chapter 4 - Interviewing - Part 1
Chapter 4 - Interviewing - Part 2 - Examples of Interviewing
Chapter 5 - Issues in Interviewing

Oct 3
Conducting Interviews, cont.

  This week: meetings re projects

Oct 5
Project reports and discussion




Oct 10 & 12


Kuniavsky, ch 11

Schneiderman, Section 4.4

Dillman,Don A. (2000) Mail and Internet Surveys: the Tailored Design Method, 2nd ed. Wiley. chs. 2-3; 5. The rest of the book is recommended.

Web-based surveys: Dillman, Don, and Dennis K. Bokwer. The web questionnaire challenge to survey methodologists.

Please looks through each of the links found on this page for example surveys:
Survey resources from

Added useful resources -- sources for questions: Added Oct 12 Stopped in 1998 but source of pre-tested questions, e.g. demographics They often reproduce their questionnaires -- again a source of pre-tested questions. UCLA Digital Futures Project -- more recent report not available online. One of many online survey services. Many allow some free use that may be enough for your projects.

Recommended: Dillman,Don A. and Leah Melani Christian, Survey Mode as a Source of Instability in Responses across Surveys, Field Methods, February 2005

Thurs., Oct 12 Interview assn due

Added Oct 3

8a Oct 17

Inspection Methods

Expert Inspection: Heuristics Evaluation & Cognitive Walk-thrus

Muller, Matheson, Page, and Gallup, Participatory Heuristic Evaluation, Interactions, Sep.-Oct., 1998

Mack & Nielsen, "Executive Summary," and Nielsen, Jakob, "Heuristic Evaluation," in Nielsen and Mack, Usability Inspection Methods, Wiley and Sons, 1994: chs 1 &r 2 AND pp. 105-118

Nielsen's 10 Usability Heuristics

Instone on Site Usability Evaluation and Site Usability Heuristics for the Web

First principles, AskTog

International standards for HCI and usability

Recommended Readings:

NEW Survey Assignment posted.

Oct 19

Focus groups; cultural probes

David L. Morgan, Focus Groups as Qualitative Research, Sage, 1988; pp. 53-71, Conducting and Analyzing Focus Groups.

Krueger, Richard A., Focus Groups, 2nd ed. Sage, 1994; "Asking questions in a focus group." pp. 53-69 Rosenbaum, et. al., Focus Groups in HCI: Wealth of Information or Waste of Resources, CHI 2002

Gaver, B., Dunne, T., and Pacenti, E. 1999. Design: Cultural probes. interactions 6, 1 (Jan. 1999), 21-29. DOI=

Recommended Readings:

Oct 24 & 26

Reporting and organizing findings: Scenarios, personas, use cases

Rashmi Sinha, Persona Development for Information-rich Domains, CHI 2003

Pruitt, John and Grudin, Jonathan. Personas: Practice and Theory. 2002.Kentaro Go and John M. Carroll, The Blind Men and the Elephant: Views of Scenario-Based System Design, Interactions, Nov.-Dec. 2004

Cooper, A. (1999). The inmates are running the asylum. Indianapolis: Sams. ch 11: Designing for people.

What is a scenario? from Information & Design.

Nokia Personas

Use cases from and from Wikipedia

Survey assn due Oct 26 NEW

Oct 31 Usability Testing


NVH gone Nov 2 - Guest speakers Peter Merholz and Todd Wilkens from Adaptive Path will talk about the need for user experience practitioners to push beyond the typical focus on methods, and to develop frameworks and utilize theories that help us better understand people as people, and all the messiness that implies. The presentation will be brief, in order to encourage discussion. Peter and Todd will also talk about practical matters of working in user experience, and answer pretty much any question asked of them

(Updated: Chapter 2,3,5,7,8 and 10 )
Rubin, Jeffrey, Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests. Wiley, 1994 (Rubin) Specific readings Chapter 2. Chapter 3, Chapter 5, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 10

Babbie, Earl R. (2001) The Practice of Social Research, 9th ed., Wadsworth. Chapter 5: Conceptualization, operationalization, and measurement (or equivalent chapter from another social research methods text).

Robert Opaluch, "Usability Metrics". In Ratner, Julie, ed. Human Factors and Web Development, 2nd ed. Lawrence Erlbaum, 2003. p. 101-144.

Kuniavsky, Ch. 10

Susan Dray and David Siegel, Remote Possibilities: International Usability Testing at a Distance, Interactions, Mar.-Apr. 2004

Remote Online Usability Testing: Why, How, and When to Use It by Dabney Gough and Holly Phillips

IBM, Experience remote usability testing, Part 1

Recommended Readings:

Nov 7 Usability testing cont.


11b Nov 9 Guest speaker Anne Aula

Methods for studying the usability of Web search engines

In this talk, I will present my experiences in studying the use and usability of Web search engines. The focus of the talk will be on methodological issues, such as the selection of the proper method for a specific research question, pros and cons of different methodologies in different circumstances, and the importance of triangulation. The talk will specifically address the limitations of typical think-aloud usability tests when studying user interfaces for Web search and provide alternative methods to overcome some of the limitations.

Nov 14 & 16


Kuniavsky, ch 17

AskTog, 2001: How to Deliver a Report Without Getting Lynched

Jarrrett, Caroline. Better Reports: How to Communicate the Results of Usability Testing

Common Industry Format report format (see about CIF).

Some examples: from Dialog Design

If you want me to review a draft, an outline, etc -- needs to be in by Nov. 16.

Nov 21

Universal usability

Nov 23 Thanksgiving

Aaron Marcus, Universal, ubiquitous, user-interface design for the disabled and elderly, Interactions, Mar.-Apr. 2003

Schneiderman, Ben. Universal Usability. CACM 43:5 200. p. 84- 91.

Browse the site and the W3C web accessibility initiative sites

W3C introduction to web acccessibility

W3C Quick tips

WAI guidelines and techniques

Jacob Neilsen, International Web Usability Testing; Offshore Usability

Section 508 standards

Recommended: Evers, Vanessa. Cross-cultural applicability of user evaluation methods: a case study amongst Japanese, North-American, English and Dutch users, CHI '02


Nov 28 & 30: Project presentations

15 Dec 5 & 7: Project presentations    
Final project write-ups due Moday, Dec. 11 -- early submissions welcome.