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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 within a group of four or five students in this project-based course. The project topic will be proposed by your group, and your implementation will be tailored to your users’ needs based on interviews with them.

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 will focus on mobile applications. Mobile applications present unique opportunities (e.g., location sensing) and challenges (e.g., input). Your team will be developing applications using Google's Android SDK. You can use your own phone, but we will also have a number of Archos 5 Tablets that you can borrow for the semester. We will also use Wii remotes to explore several other forms of input.



Project Groups

Discussion sections


Aug 30: Introduction [ pdf slides ]

Assignment due by 5pm on Weds Sept 1: Create a Wiki Account
Assignment due by 5pm on Weds Sept 1: Course Petition
Assignment due by 5pm on Sept 8: Individual Project Proposal
Assignment due by 5pm on Sept 13: Individual Programming Assignment 1

Sept 1: The Design Cycle and Brainstorming [ Readings | submit response | slides ]

Due: Create a Wiki Account
Due: Course Petition

Sept 6 No class, labor day

Sept 8: Sketching, Storyboarding, and Critique [ Readings | submit response]

Due: Individual Project Proposal

Sept 13: In Class Group Brainstorming (CAL Design Lab) [ Readings | submit response ]

Due: Individual Programming Assignment 1
Assignment due by 5pm on Sept 20: Individual Programming Assignment 2
Assignment due by 5pm on Sept 20: Group Brainstorm

Sept 15: Task Analysis and Contextual Inquiry [ Readings | Submit Response | pdf slides ]

Sept 20: Conceptual Models I [ Readings | Submit Response | pdf slides ]

Due: Individual Programming Assignment 2
Due: Group Brainstorm
Assignment due by 5pm on Oct 1: Individual Programming Assignment 3
Assignment due by 5pm on Sept 29: Individual Competitive Analysis
Assignment due by 5pm on Oct 4: Contextual Inquiry and Task Analysis

Sept 22: Input Devices, Multi-touch, Mobile vs. Desktop Applications [ Readings | Submit Response | pdf slides ]

Sept 27: Model-View-Controller, Event-driven UIs [ Readings | Submit Response | pdf slides ]

Sept 29: Multi-threaded Programming [ Readings | pdf slides ]

Due: Individual Competitive Analysis
Assignment due by 5pm on Oct 13: Individual Programming Assignment 4

Oct 1: Due: Individual Programming Assignment 3

Oct 4: Multi-threaded Programming II [ Readings | pdf slides ]

Due: Contextual Inquiry and Task Analysis

Oct 6: Lo-Fidelity Prototyping [ Readings | Submit Response | pdf slides ]

Assignment due by 5pm on Oct 25: Low-Fidelity Prototype

Oct 11: Human Information Processing (Perception) [ Readings | Submit Response | pdf slides ]

Oct 13: Qualitative Evaluation [ Readings | Submit Response ]

Due: Individual Programming Assignment 4

Oct 18: Quantitative Evaluation [ Readings | Submit Response | Slides ]

Assignment due by 5pm on Oct 25: Heuristic Evaluation

Oct 20: Statistics without Tears [ Readings | Slides ]

Oct 25: Midterm Review [ No Readings | Slides ]

Due: Heuristic Evaluation
Due: Low-Fidelity Prototype

Oct 27: Midterm Exam

Assignment due before class on Nov 8: Interactive Prototype

Nov 1: Graphic Design and Gestalt Principles [ Readings | slides ]

Nov 3: Graphic Design Continued pdf Slides

Nov 8: Interactive Prototype Presentations I

Due: Interactive Prototype
Assignment due before class on Nov 24: Pilot Usability Study

Nov 10: Interactive Prototype Presentations II

Nov 15: UI Design Patterns [ Readings | Submit Response | Slides ]

Assignment due before class on Nov 24: Team Assessment I

Nov 17: Collaboration and Social Software [ Readings | Submit Response | Slides ]

Nov 22: Persuasive Technology [ Readings ]

Nov 24: Research Directions in HCI I

Due: Pilot Usability Study
Due: Team Assessment I
Assignment due on Dec 3 6pm: Final Presentation
Assignment due on Dec 3 6pm: Final Report

Nov 29: Visualization [ Readings ]

Dec 1: Tangible Interaction [ Readings | pdf Slides ]

Assignment due on Dec 3: Final Team Assessment

Dec 3: no class, but assignments due

Due: Final Presentation
Due: Final Report
Due: Final Team Assessment

Dec 6: Final Presentations & Posters: Wozniak Lounge, 4th floor Soda, 2-5pm.




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

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


  • Lectures: 306 Soda Hall MW 1:00-2:30pm
  • Discussion Sections: Fridays 10-11, 11-12, 405 Soda Hall

Office Hours:

  • John: 637 Soda Hall, Time Weds 2:30-3:30 and by appointment
  • Anuj: Thursday 3-4pm (354/360 Hearst Mining Building)

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, complete a number of small programming assignments, 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. More on the class participation component can be found here.
  • There will be two types of assignments: programming assignments and project assignments. Programming assignments will be individual exercises; their main goal is to teach you the skills needed to successfully execute on your project.Project assignments will be done in groups.
  • 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 project assignments will be due before the start of the lecture during which they are due. Design assignments will be due at the beginning of the week.
  • Project assignments may not be turned in late. Programming assignments will lose 33% 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 the GSI. You can come to the professor if the issue cannot be resolved with the GSI's help.
  • Cheating will not be tolerated, and will get you an F in the class.


  • Class participation (10%)
  • Individual programming assignments (20%)
  • Project assignments (50%)
  • Midterm (20%)

Late Policy: Group project assignments may not be turned in late. Individual project and design assignments will lose 33% per 24 hours they are late. If you turn in an assignment late on the wiki, please send an e-mail to the class e-mail address (cs160(at) so that we know to grade it.

Regrading Policy: If you want an assignment regraded, you must provide your assignment and a written description of why you believe the grade was unsatisfactory within two weeks of reception of the grade. We will then regrade the entire assignment; this means that your grade may potentially drop.

Section Attendance: Section attendance is mandatory and is considered in the class participation grade. However, you are allowed to miss up to two sections; this is to accommodate both planned and unplanned absences.

Note: This is largely a design class. Unlike most other CS classes there is not always a single "correct" design solution. 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).

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, Bjorn Hartmann, 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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