About this course
In this course, you’ll take the first steps toward being a solid HCI practitioner and researcher. You’ll learn the fundamentals of how HCI relates to fields like user experience design, user interface design, human factors engineering, and psychology. You’ll also learn how human-computer interaction has influence across application domains like healthcare and education; technology development like virtual and augmented reality; and broader ideas like context-sensitive computing and information visualization.
You’ll then dive into the fundamentals of human-computer interaction. You’ll learn three views of the user’s role in interface design: the behaviorist ‘processor’ view, the cognitivist ‘predictor’ view, and the situationist ‘participant’ view. You’ll discover how these different views of the user’s role affect the scope we use to evaluate interaction. These perspectives will be crucial as you move forward in designing interfaces to ensure you’re considering what goes on inside the user’s head, as well as in the environment around them.
You’ll then learn the gulfs of execution and evaluation, which determine how easily the user can accomplish their goals in a system and how well they can understand the results of their actions. All of user interface design can be seen as taking steps to bridge these gulfs. You’ll also investigate the notion of direct manipulation, which shortens the distance between the user and the objects they are manipulating in the interface. With these tools, you’ll be well-equipped to start designing effective interfaces.
You’ll then take a deeper dive into what humans are even capable of accomplishing. You’ll learn the limitations of human sensing and memory and how we must be aware of the cognitive load we introduce on the user while using our interfaces. Cognitive load can have an enormous impact on a user’s satisfaction with an interface, and must be kept in mind as you begin your career as a designer.
You’ll finally conclude with an overview of the major design principles in human-computer interaction. Curated from the work of Don Norman, Jakob Nielsen, Ronald Mace, Larry Constantine, and Lucy Lockwood, these design principles cover revolutionary ideas in the design of interfaces: discoverability, affordances, perceptibility, constraints, error tolerance, and more. These principles are crucial whether you move forward as a designer, an evaluator, a front-end engineer, or any other role in technology design.
By the end of the course, you’ll have an understanding of where HCI sits in the broader field, a grasp of the goals of HCI, and a foundation in core principles that inform interface design.
What you'll learn
- The overall goals of human-computer interaction.
- The relationship between HCI, user experience design, human factors engineering, and psychology.
- The relevance of HCI to domains like healthcare, education, and cybersecurity.
- The trends in HCI technology including virtual reality, augmented reality, and robotics.
- The emerging ideas in HCI research, such as context-sensitive computing, gesture-based interaction, and social computing.
- The three main schools of thought in HCI: the processor, predictor, and participant views.
- The feedback cycle in user interaction, including gulfs of execution and evaluation.
- The notion of directness in interaction, and the role of direct manipulation.
- The strengths and limitations of the human user, including sensation and memory.
- The role of design principles and heuristics in user interface design.
- The most important principles for design, including discoverability, affordances, perceptibility, and error tolerance.
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Who can take this course?
Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. EdX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.