Human-Computer Interaction

CS220, Fall 2021


The course meets in the HCI Lab (Science Center L Wing room 120).


Mondays and Thursdays 2:20pm-3:35pm

Instructor: Orit Shaer
Office hours: Click here to schedule. 

Office hours:
Click here to schedule

Office hours:
Click here to schedule.

Learning goals:

  • Demonstrate empathy for users and advocate for their needs through software design
  • Demonstrate competency in Human-Computer Interaction styles and principles
  • Apply methods from the User-Centered Design process to create novel technologies
  • Practice design skills for software interfaces
  • Develop and evaluate prototypes for novel interfaces
  • Communicate design rationales and operate in a team-based setting to solve problems collaboratively



Course Requirements

Class attendance is essential for meeting the objectives of this course. Students are required to attend class meetings. Active participation in this course, through many forms such as class discussions, small group break-outs, teamwork, is highly encouraged.

This is a project-based course that requires students to work in teams to design, implement and evaluate a mobile user interface through an iterative process. As part of your team project, you will be expected to do the following:

  • Identify a problem that could be addressed through the development and deployment of a web app.
  • Develop a conceptual design for a novel user interface.
  • Implement the user interface you have designed using low and high fidelity prototyping tools.
  • Document your user interface with pictures, video, diagrams, and text in a web page that will remain a part of the Human-Computer Interaction course online gallery.
  • Present the interface you have built in class.

In addition, students are required to complete individual homework assignments as well as four quizzes about topics discussed in lecture and readings.

Reading Material

There is no required textbook for this course. The reading materials will be available on the class schedule linked to the relevant resource. If you would like to dive into the material and purchase a textbook to follow along, you can obtain one of the following books:

Recommended reading materials and textbooks:
Don Norman's Design of Everyday Things (DOET)
B. Shneiderman, C. Plaisant, M.Cohen, S. Jacobs, N. Elmqvist, N.Diakopoulos, Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (6th Edition)
A. Dix, J. Finlay, G.Abowd, R. Beale, Human-Computer Interaction (3rd Edition)



Grades for the course will be determined by the following:
Project - %35     
Homework assignments - %25
Participation (submission of all hands on activities) - %5
Quizzes (4 total but will drop lowest quiz score) - %35

Grading Policy: There is no arbitrary limit on the number of A's, B's, C's etc. for the class, and every student will be assigned the grade they earn and deserve according to the rubric for each assessment.

The mapping from numerical score to letter grades looks like this:

  •  >= 95.00 is an A 

  • >= 90.00 is an A- 

  • >= 86.67 is a B+

  •  >= 83.33 is a B 

  • >= 80.00 is a B- 

  • >= 76.67 is a C+ 

  • >= 73.33 is a C 

  • >= 70.00 is a C- 

  • >= 60.00 is a D 

  • < 60.00 is an F 

Late Assignment Policy:

You are encouraged to submit assignments on the requested deadline but you may submit it up to 48h after the deadline (weekends and holidays counting in total as one 24h period). If you need extra time beyond this grace period, it is required that you contact the instructor and discuss a plan for completing the assignment. We will work together to make sure that plan is a reasonable and effective so that it supports both your learning and your health.

Collaboration Policy

The Wellesley College honor code applies to CS220. This course emphasizes collaboration, as working effectively within teams is an important part of the innovation culture. Working with a team provides you with opportunities to develop and improve interpersonal, communication, leadership, and follower-ship skills. Group assignments and team project are also important for learning integrative skills through the development of a complex system.

I strongly encourage you to get to know all of your classmates and to collaborate extensively with them. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of this course, you may be strong in some areas but weak in others. Please share your strengths, and feel free to ask others for help.

Here is a summary of the collaboration policy:
In-class activities and discussion: This class requires your active contribution during our time together. Please come to class prepared and ready to contribute to our learning community. During class you will work in group using different online collaboration tools.
Assignments: No collaboration.
Project: Teams of 2-3 students work together to complete and submit project milestones. You will be assigned to a team.
Quizzes: Absolutely no collaboration.


If you have a disability or condition, either long-term or temporary, and need reasonable academic adjustments in this course, please contact Disability Services to get a letter outlining your accommodation needs, and submit that letter to me. You should request accommodations as early as possible in the semester, or before the semester begins, since some situations can require significant time for review and accommodation design. If you need immediate accommodations, during the semester, please arrange to meet with me as soon as possible. If you are unsure but suspect you may have an undocumented need for accommodations, you are encouraged to contact Disability Services. They can provide assistance including screening and referral for assessments.

Disability Services can be reached at, at 781-283-2434, by scheduling an appointment online at their website