MSc / MRes AISD course

Alan Dix





may change during the week! ...
but see the planned timetable in HTML or PDF (33K)
assignment (PDF, 81K)
N.B. those of you who have downloaded this already ... it has changed very slightly, not in substance but in fine detail ... main difference is that added personae as explicit point and made points (a), (b) and (c) web-based so that we can have a 'class gallery'.
  • first part (group report) due Monday week 7
  • second part (individual critique) due Friday week 10
In all cases electronic copy plus paper copy to Trish in CS (for MSc) or Claire is Psych (for MRes). Please Cc: electronic copies to me.


general resources
try the search engine for my HCI book ... sorry only second edition available yet :-(
there are also chapter-by-chapter links (not as extensive as I would like)
and you can look at previous year's courses for 2000/2001, 2001/2002 and 2002/2003
mini case studies...
if I talk through an example in class and it doesn't appear here, please tell me and I'll get it written up!
the Excel mode error an analysis highlighting hidden modes and closure
the HCI book search a case study of designing user value
birds eye view of HCI
the course covers only selected aspects fo the area, for a broader feel look at the table of contents of Handbook for Human-Computer Interaction this gives a third-party view of the field (not just mine!) but it does seem to miss out nearly everything of the actual implementation stage
the Dix, Finlay et al. HCI book structures the field a little differently (including some parts on system modelling and implementation)

day 1

download introductory slides (PDF, 243K)
see Introduction in HCI book and also see my short tutorial article for Assembly Automation
the term "form (ever) follows function" was coined by Louis Sullivan and was one of the drivers behind the work of his student Frank Lloyd Wright
the Electrolux Screenfridge an example of an internet appliance
design and scenarios
chapter 5, sections 5.2 to 5.5
download chapter 5 slides (PDF, 611K)
see power plant scenario (high level) and phone scenario (low level)
aQtive technical documentation for onCue - uses rich scenario for describing architecture
navigation & layout
chapter 5, sections 5.6 and 5.7
see chapter 5 slides above
widgets and little things
download slides on little things (PDF, 164K) and widget choice (PDF, 327K)
for more on the evolution of the scroll bar ... see the articles:
I skipped the bit about widget choice. This relates loosely to chapter 3.
Hands Across the Screen - why scrollbars are on the right and other stories.
and Sinister Scrollbar in the Xerox Star Xplained

day 2

UI architectures
see chapter 8, section 8.3, 8.4, 8.5
download extract of chapter 8 slides (PDF, 299K) for Seeheim, MVC etc.
web architectures
see chapter 21, section 21.6
download slides on web architecture (PDF, 189K)
server-side programming in PHP - introductory tutorial
web form - testing and experimenting with web forms
examples (use view source to see code) ...
dancing histograms - Java applet using data embedded into the page
(also described in a paper 'starting simple' given at AVI'98)
coin race - client-side JavaScript
Professor Alan's square - JavaScript for puzzle
JS also to enable 'syndicated content' (use view source on my home page)
make your own pages use server-side CGI scripts written in PHP
Query-by-Browsing - uses PHP generated pages accessing a MySQL database
the 'heavy' computation is written in C and called form the PHP
slides about colour (PDF, 142K)
lots about colour theory at
3D vision
little bit about this in HCI chapter 1, but previously I've found the slides are fairly self-explanatory
slides on seeing in 3D in (PDF, 413K)

is vision merely common sense?

day 3

task analysis
focused on Hierarchical Task Analysis (HTA)
see chapter 15, section 15.3
download extract of chapter 15 slides (PDF, 201K)
also of course Diaper and Stanton task analysis collection.
rich work ecologies
see chapter 18, section 18.3
download extract of chapter 18 slides on work ecologies (PDF, 248K)
whole chapter on triggers in Diaper and Stanton
various points in HCI book, but no single treatment
my chapter in the Jacko and Seers HCI handbook hits on some of these issues
download slides on timing matters (PDF, 201K)
see also my topic page on time

day 4

about state
see chapter 17, discusses the specification of system state
download slides on state (PDF, 75K)
see also my pages on formal methods in HCI
dialogue notations
focused on State Transition Networks (STN)
see chapter 16, sections 16.1-16.3.3 and section 16.6
download extract of chapter 16 slides (PDF, 320K)
the flow charts are also in chapter 16, but there is a longer account in my chapter "upside down As and algorithms" in Carroll's theory book
Norman's seven stages of interaction
see chapter 3, section 3.2.2
download extract of chapter 3 slides on the Norman cycle (PDF, 116K)
low-intention and sensor-based interactions
see chapter 18, section 18.4
download extract of chapter 18 slides on sensor-based interaction (PDF, 207K)
physical design
see chapter 3, section 3.9.3
download extract of chapter 3 slides on physical design (PDF, 321K)

day 5

alternative media
see bits about this in chapters 2, 10 and 20 from HCI book
slides on media (PDF, 58K)
for more on network media issues such as jitter and buffering see my chapter in the Jacko and Sears HCI Handbook
you can read the online abstract including live references and draft chapter (PDF, 375K)
designing value
see chapter 3, sections 3.9.1 and 3.9.4, also for organisational issues chapter 13, section 13.2
download extract of chapter 3 slides on value (PDF, 170K)
designing for value, the timetableing example, please chase me to put this online
the HCI book search case study includes a link to the "lattice of value" about designing complimentary products to encourage market growth
related to this is an article I wrote for "interfaces" magazine artefact + marketing = product
deconstructing experience and virtual crackers
short version in chapter 3, section 3.9.2
download slides on deconstructing experience (PDF, 972K)
the story of the design of the virtual crackers experience is told in two places:
a short account in "absolutely crackers" at computers and fun 2001
a longer chapter "deconstructing experience - pulling crackers apart" in the Funology book
the "absolutely crackers" page also has some links to related topics
and of course don't foget to send a virtual cracker from


Human-Computer Interaction third edition. A. Dix, J. Finlay, G. Abowd and R. Beale. Prentice Hall, 2004.
Main course text. Referred to simply as 'HCI' above. Book website at includes some web links and also a full on-line search facility for the book.
not to be confused with ...
Human-Computer Interaction. J. Preece, Y. Rogers, H. Sharp, D. Benyon, S. Holland and T. Carey. Addison Wesley, 1994. Prentice Hall, 1998.
Used to be our arch rival ... but very good despite that - darn! Interviews are really fun. Harder to find things than in our book, but with more in-depth discursive treatment of some topics. Lots more piccies than we have as well.
Interaction Design, J. Preece, Y. Rogers and H. Sharp. Wiley, 2002
The successor to the original Preece et al. The OU had the copyright to the original Preece, but by the time a second edition was due, Jenny and Co. had left the OU. The author team weren't allowed to compete, so they produced a slightly different kind of book!
Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction, Third Edition. Ben Shneiderman. Asison Wesley, 1997.
Less broad then either Dix et al. or the original Preece, but especially strong in more 'how to do it' infprmation and also visualisation - Ben's main research area.

edited collections

Human-Computer Interaction Handbook, J. Jacko and A. Sears. Lawrence Erlbaum, 2003.
Enormous tome. Chapters by experts in all sorts fo areas of HCI but laregly missing out more implementation focused areas.
<@ book web site>
Perspectives on HCI, A. Monk and N.Gilbert, Academic Press, 1995
Chapters by indivual experts, writing aimed at a mixed audience. Includes chapters on formal methods (me!), task analysis, cognitive modelling etc.
HCI Models, Theories, and Frameworks: Toward an Interdisciplinary Science. J. Carroll. Morgan Kaufmann.
Chapters by experts in different theoretical areas contributing to HCI
Funology: From Usability to Enjoyment. M. Blythe, A. Monk and P. Wright. Kluwer, 2003.
Making interfaces that not only do work but make you feel good!
The Handbook of Task Analysis for Human-Computer Interaction. D. Diaper & N. Stanton (eds.). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003.
Long awaited! Dan's previous collection has been ou of pront for ages and theree has been no good reference about different task analysis techniques. This book covers a wiide range of topics and methods in task analysis and is also comparatively cheap.