This course describes the characteristics of user interfaces to computing systems. Emphasizing 2D graphical user interfaces, we will study methods and techniques for designing and evaluating UIs. We will survey research studies and current design practices, explore interaction and presentation techniques and review demonstrations of technology embodying these techniques, to understand the foundations of high-quality user interfaces.

Teaching Staff

Lauren Wilcox, PhD Assistant Professor Office Hours: Fri 2:30PM-3:30PM 345 TSRB
Matthew Hong Teaching Assistant Office Hours: Mon 3pm-4pm  345A TSRB
Arash Shirazi Teaching Assistant Office Hours: Weds 2:15-2:45pm + by appt 345B TSRB
Yunnuo Cheng Teaching Assistant By Appointment
Karan Pratap “KP” Singh Teaching Assistant By Appointment


No required texts. You will receive copies or links to materials (e.g., papers and individual book chapters) to read.

These books are optional:
  • Elizabeth Goodman, Mike Kuniavsky, Andrea Moed. Observing the User Experience, A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research
    2nd Ed., ISBN: 978-0123848697.
  • Don Norman. The Design of Everyday Things 2nd Ed., ISBN: 978-0465050659.
  • Jeff Johnson. Designing with the Mind in Mind 2nd Ed., ISBN: 978-0124079144
  • Jonathan Lazar, Jinjuan Heidi Feng, Harry Hochheiser. Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction ISBN:978-0470723371

Readings provided by the instructor will be assigned during the semester. These readings will be posted as web addresses or PDFs on the class web site and/or on T-Square. It is the responsibility of the students to obtain and read the material. The material in those extra readings may be included on tests and other evaluations in the class.


The class will mix lectures with class discussion and participation, in-class activities, and “report-backs” from homework assignments and project work. Readings should be finished well before class so that we can discuss them intelligently.

No previous academic experience with either user interface design or graphics is assumed. However, you are expected to be comfortable with computers and, if you plan to program for your project, you should be comfortable with object-oriented programming.

Rules of the Game

You are responsible for all material covered in class. You are also responsible for all the assigned reading (including changes or additions announced in class). If you miss a class, please talk to someone who attended. (Copies of each class’s slides will be linked to the schedule.) Course material will be found on the web through T-Square, and the assignments will be linked through

Submission Policy

All work should be submitted electronically through T-Square using the Assignments feature (by the time the assignment is due on T-Square, usually 5pm). If you don’t submit an assignment on time, the following lateness policy applies.

Lateness Policy

Work done as part of in-class activities cannot be late (they happen during a scheduled class). For in-class homework, “make-ups” will not be possible. However, for other homework and project deliverables, your grade for late work will be docked by 10% for each day that it is late. After three days, late work will not be accepted.

Exceptions to the policy can be made in the event of documented personal illness and family emergencies. Such exceptions will require that the teaching staff be consulted well before the deadline.

Academic Honesty

Please make sure that you’ve read the Georgia Tech Honor Code. Collaboration on any assignment (except as an approved part of group projects) is strictly prohibited. Cases of suspected inappropriate collaboration or cheating will be immediately reported to the Dean of Student Affairs, and will be pursued to resolution.

Courtesy to Fellow Students and Teaching Staff

You can do some simple things to help the class run smoothly. Please turn cellphones and other mobile devices off before coming to class. Do not leave early unless we discuss this first. Finally, please do not hold private conversations during class. I also prefer that you take written notes and leave laptops closed during lectures and class discussions.


The final grade is calculated based on a 1000-point maximum. The tables below describe how these points (and corresponding percentages) are allocated. Three scenarios are included to illustrate concretely how grading works. In “borderline cases” (e.g., your grade is within a percentage point of the minimum needed for the next highest letter grade) I will round up. If needed (e.g., an assignment was not effective) extra credit may be offered. Points associated with EC would add to your earned points while keeping the 1000-point maximum for calculating final grades.

Midterm Exam 20% 200 Points
Homework 25% 250 Points
Project 55% 550 Points (See table below)

No final exam.

Project Grading

Part One: Background and proposal 10% 100 Points
Part Two: Design Alternatives 10% 100 Points
Part Three: Prototyping 25% 250 Points
Part Four: Evaluation and Presentation 10% 100 Points


Calculating Final Grades

90-100% (900-1000 points) A
80-89% (800-1000 points) B
70-79% (700-800 points) C
60-69% (600-700 points) D
<60% (Fewer than 600 points) Not passing


Scenario 1: You got 90% on each of the four parts of the project (for 495 total project points), 90% of the points on each homework (for 225 total homework points) and 88% on your midterm (for 176 exam points).  Out of 1000 total course points, you’ve earned 896. From 89.6%, I round up to 90%, which means that you have earned a course grade of ‘A’.

Scenario 2: You got a full 100% on each of the four parts of the project (for 550 total points), 90% of the points on each homework (for 225 total points). However, you did not take the exam. Out of 1000, you’ve earned 775 (77.5%) for a course grade of ‘C’.

Scenario 3: You have earned an average of 82% on the project (for 451 total points), 80% on the homeworks (for 200 total points). Your midterm 85% (for 170 points). Out of 1000, you’ve earned 821 points (82.1%) for a course grade of ’B’.

Scenario 3 with EC: You have a total of 821 points from required coursework. However, you have also completed an extra credit assignment worth 50 points. This EC raises your total points to 871 (87.1%) and your course grade remains a ‘B’.