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Welcome to CS 160 Fall 2008: User Interface Design, Prototyping and Evaluation

Course Control Number: 26488

4 Credits. Three hours of lecture per week. Prerequisites: upper division standing.



CS 160 is an introduction to Human Computer Interaction (HCI). You will learn to prototype, evaluate, and design a user interface. You will be expected to work with a group of other students in this project-based course. Your team's semester-long project will be proposed by your group. Project design follows a human-centered process, and the design will be carefully tailored to the needs of your intended users.

In contrast to most of the other CS classes at Berkeley, CS160 does not focus on particular algorithmic techniques or computer technologies. Instead, you will make use of technology to develop your applications, and you will acquire some expertise in the development environment you choose. The focus of the course is on developing a broad set of skills needed for user-centered design. These skills include ideation, needs assessment, communication, rapid prototyping, algorithmic implementation and evaluation.

Project Theme: This semester projects should be targeted towards serious games. Serious games have a purpose other than entertainment, and include educational games, health and fitness, training, therapy and many others.


  • The poster session is scheduled between 11:00AM - 1:00PM on 12/12/2008, location to be announced.
  • Jingtao will have an extended office hour from 12:00PM to 5:00PM on 10/24/2008. Please drop by his office at 417 Soda if you have coding/implementation related questions for your interactive prototype.
  • The deadline for the Low-Fidelity Prototype assignment is changed to 10/15/2008
  • The Project Groups have been posted. Please update the page with your team name (if you choose one) and create the team page following the model. 9/10/2008
  • New account registration on this wiki is closed today. Please contact the TA if you need to create a new account from now on. 9/5/2008
  • Please visit the Discussion Sessions page for materials related with discussion sessions. 9/5/2008
  • There is no discussion on 8/29/2008, we will start the first discussion session on 9/5/2008.
  • The class web site is up on 8/21/2008


Get readings and post your comments to the discussion page for lecture. (follow link from lecture title)

8/27/2008: Introduction [Slides ]

Assignments (due September 3): Create a Wiki Account, Course Petition

9/3/2008: The Design Cycle and Brainstorming [Slides ] [ Readings ]

Due: Create a Wiki Account, Course Petition
Assignment (due before class on Sept 8): Individual Project Proposal

9/8/2008: Game Structure [Slides] [ Readings ]

Due (before class): Individual Project Proposal

9/10/2008: Task Analysis and Contextual Inquiry [Slides][ Readings ]

Assignment (due before class on 9/22/2008): Group Brainstorm

9/15/2008: Tangible Interfaces [ Readings ]

9/17/2008: In Class Group Brainstorming [ Video ][No Slides]

Assignment (due before class on 10/1/2008): Contextual Inquiry and Task Analysis

9/22/2008: Conceptual Models [Slides] [ Readings ]

Due (before class): Group Brainstorm

9/24/2008: Heuristic Evaluation [Slides] [ Readings ]

9/29/2008: Low-Fidelity Prototyping[Slides] [ Readings ]

10/1/2008: Learning and Games [Slides] [ Readings ]

Due (before class): Contextual Inquiry and Task Analysis
Assignment (due before class on 10/15/2008): Low-Fidelity Prototype

10/6/2008: Human Information Processing [Slides] [ Readings ]

10/8/2008: Persuasion and Games [Slides] [ Readings ]

10/13/2008: Model View Controller and Event Driven UI [Slides] [ Readings ]

10/15/2008: Qualitative Evaluation [Slides] [ Readings ]

Due (before class): Low-Fidelity Prototype
Assignment (due on 10/27/2008): Interactive Prototype

10/20/2008: Quantitative Evaluation [Slides ] [ Readings ]

10/22/2008: Designing Help [Slides ] [ Readings ]

Assignment (due on 10/31/2008): Heuristic Evaluation of Prototypes

10/27/2008: Interactive Prototype Presentations

Due (before class): Interactive Prototype

10/29/2008: Interactive Prototype Presentations

Assignment (due before class on 11/17/2008): Pilot Usability Study

10/31/2008: Heuristic Evaluation of Prototypes Due

11/3/2008: Midterm Exam

11/5/2008: Graphic and Experience Design [Slides ] [ Readings ]

11/10/2008: Design Patterns: UIs, Games, Learning [Slides ][ Readings ]

11/12/2008: Social Psychology, CSCW, and MMOs [Slides ] [ Readings ]

11/17/2008: Design of Learning Games [Slides ] [ Readings ]

Due (before class): Pilot Usability Study
Assignment (due before class on 12/08/08): Final Presentation and Report

11/19/2008: Historical Perspective [Slides ] [ Readings ]

11/24/2008: Visualization - guest lecture by Maneesh Agrawala [ Readings ]

11/26/2008: Design Studio

12/1/2008: Current Directions in HCI [Slides ]

12/3/2008: Course Summary [Slides ]

12/8/2008: Final Presentations

Due (before 3:30pm): Final Presentation and Report
Assignment: Final Team Assessment
Example posters from previous versions of the course are [here]

12/10/2008: Final Presentations

Due (before class): Final Team Assessment
Due (end of day) Poster if you would like us to print it. Otherwise print yourself and bring to the poster session on Friday.

12/12/2008: Poster Session Wozniak Lounge, Soda Hall, 11am-1pm


Instructor: John Canny

Teaching Assistant: Jingtao Wang

Email (for all class related issues): cs160(at)

  • Please avoid emailing the TAs and the Instructor directly. You will receive a response much faster if you use the email address above.
  • You may also choose to email us anonymously.


  • Lectures: MW 10:30AM-12:00P, 306 SODA
  • Discussion Sections: Friday 10:00AM-11:00AM, 405 SODA; Friday 11:00AM-12:00PM, 405 SODA

Office Hours:

  • John: 637 Soda Hall, M 2-3, Tu 3-4pm
  • Jingtao: 417 Soda Hall, Friday 12:00PM-1:00PM

Textbook: There is no required textbook for this class. There will be readings assigned for each lecture. The readings will be available online through this wiki. If you are interested in reading further take a look at the recommended reading list.


CS160 is an upper division course, and one of few where you will work extensively on one significant programming project. To participate fully in this course, you are required to have taken CS61B. We will assume that you are familiar with either Java or C++ and are comfortable coding a large-scale project.

You will be expected to actively participate in lectures, complete readings ahead of time, and, most importantly, participate fully in your group project. The teaching staff will promptly return graded homework to you, and will be available to provide feedback and help with problems.

Note that the majority of the work in this course is conducted in the form of a semester-long group project. Unlike other courses, dropping the course before the end of the semester has negative consequences for your other group members. So once you have joined a group please make sure you are committed to staying in the course.

  • You are expected to read the assigned readings and post 1 substantive comment to the discussion on this wiki about the readings before class. Late comments on the wiki will NOT be accepted. There will be plenty of opportunities in class to apply that knowledge and in-class participation will be part of your grade.
  • You will be expected to turn in written documentation at each stage of your project. You will also turn in working code. Each group member will help to give an oral presentation about your project.
  • There will be a midterm exam.
  • Most assignments will be turned in through this class wiki. Most assignments will be due before the start of the lecture during which they are due.
  • Group assignments may not be turned in late. Individual assignments will lose 20% per day they are late.
  • Each group is responsible for making sure that all members are participating. As part of the project reports, you be required to describe the effort put in by each member, both on specific tasks and as a fraction of the group’s effort. Make sure you discuss this regularly, to make sure your group is in agreement about the work breakdown.
  • If a group member is not participating, the entire group must meet with the teaching staff. Effective group work (which entails some amount of conflict resolution) is a key skill for success in industry. We would like you to work through conflicts if at all possible, and we will devote some class time to this topic.
  • If you have a question about a grade, you should meet with one of the TAs. You can come to the professor if the issue cannot be resolved with the TA's help.
  • Cheating will not be tolerated, and will get you an F in the class.


Late Policy: Group assignments may not be turned in late. Individual assignments will lose 20% per 24 hours they are late.

Note: This is largely a design class. Unlike most other CS classes there is not always a single "correct" design soution. Usually there are many possible designs with different advantages and disadvantages. In this class you will learn to both design new interfaces and evaluate the pros and cons of the interfaces you design. As you complete the assignments for this class you should try to point out both the pros and the cons of the interfaces and applications you design.

Design is typically evaluated in a qualitative manner. As a result a significant portion of the grading in this class will be qualitative, including assessments of the end user experience of the system and the quality of your designs, evaluations, and prototypes.


The majority of the homework in this class will be oriented around the project. Many of these homework assignments will be done in with your project group, but some assignments (or parts of assignments) must be completed individually. We provide a rough schedule of the assignments here (the schedule may change over the course of the semester and we may choose to add or drop assignments).

Tips and Tricks

Are now available here

How to use and edit this wiki

New to wikis? Read the Wiki editing guide.

To contribute to this wiki, you'll need to first create an account. Please use your full name as your user name as in this example. Afterwards, please add some descriptive information about yourself on your personal page -- click your login name (next to the person icon) at the top of the page to access your personal page.

To facilitate discussion we have created the [add comment] button that appears at the bottom of each page. Clicking on the button will allow you to add a comments, ideas or question to the current page. The comments will include your user name and the date in the section heading. Try adding a comment to the discussion page for a lecture.


This lectures, format and syllabus of this class are based on HCI classes taught by Maneesh Agrawala, Ben Bederson, Francois Guimbretiere, Marti Hearst and James Landay. These authors have kindly provided access to their lecture slides and my own slides borrow from their earlier work.

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