Admin | Schedule | Sketching | Reading | Design

Instructors & TA

Instructor: Lynn Dombrowski
Office Hours: By appointment
Office: LUCI Lab, DBH 5069

TA: Kate Ringland
Office Hours: By appointment
Office: LUCI Lab, DBH 5069

Reader: Andy Echenique

Course Information

Lecture: Tues and Thurs 3:30pm – 4:50pm HH 178
Discussion Sections:
Section 1: Wednesday, 1:00-1:50pm SH 134
Section 2: Wednesday, 12:00-12:50pm SH 134

Attendance to discussion is mandatory. 

Course Description

This course will introduce you to the basic principles of human-computer interaction (HCI). This course will cover a brief history of HCI, and introduce you to some open questions and challenges in HCI. The class will expose you to a variety of user research and HCI design techniques through hands-on engagement with a creative interaction design process. Informatics 132, the follow-on course in HCI evaluation, focuses on the improvement of existing systems in the world.

Course Overview

  • Week 1: Course Overview & HCI History
  • Week 2: HCI Fundamentals
  • Week 3: Observations & Ethnography
  • Week 4: Interviews & Contextual Inquiry
  • Week 5: Cultural Probes & Collage
  • Week 6: Making Sense of Data
  • Week 7: Brainstorming & Ideation
  • Week 8: Storyboarding
  • Week 9: Prototyping & Evaluation
  • Week 10: Future Trends in HCI

For more details, please see the schedule


45% – Design Assignments
20% – Sketching Journal
25% – Reading Responses
10% – Attendance & Participation

There will be two opportunities for extra credit, with a maximum of 5 points extra credit total. See the Reading Responses page for more information.

Course Policies & Expectations

The instructor reserves the right to change this syllabus as necessary as the course progresses.


Course materials, including links to readings, will be available at:

You are responsible for checking this site regularly to ensure that you are up to date with any changes in the course. Pertinent changes will normally be announced to your UCINET email address.Readings will generally be available at least one week prior to the class session in which they will be discussed.

Class Mailing List

You may post to the class mailing list at:

Readings & Materials


There will be no required textbook to purchase for this course. Because this is an introductory course to a broad field, readings will be selected from several HCI textbooks, UX handbooks, and published articles. This strategy will expose you to the variety of resources available to you for future work in this area. Individual readings will be linked to in the schedule.


Sketching is a common practice used by designers that fosters the ability to think critically about existing objects and interactions, and generating ways of improving them. As part of this class, you will keep a sketchbook, in which you will think about objects or interactions in your daily life and sketch ideas for how they could be improved. You will need a blank sketchbook for this assignment that you can turn in at the end of the quarter. This book should be:

  • Unlined
  • At least 30 pages
  • Sized appropriately to carry around with you
  • Dedicated only to sketching

The UCI Bookstore sells many sizes and types of unlined books that would be appropriate for this. This does not need to be expensive. You could also make your own book if you are feeling DIY.


I would prefer that you visit office hours over emailing whenever possible. If you do need to email us, please make sure to include INF131 in the subject line. Emails will be responded to within 48 hours. Do not expect an immediate response. I recommend also cc’ing the EEE class mailing list on non-personal issues so that the entire class can benefit from the discussion.


Since this is a hands-on course, students are expected to attend all lectures and discussion sessions unless otherwise noted in the schedule. A student may miss one class session, for whatever reason, without affecting their grade. Each additional absence will automatically lower the student’s participation grade by 10%. Exceptions to this policy will only be made in the case of medical or family emergencies (i.e., you’re in the emergency room, a death in the family).


By actively participating in class you can develop your professional skills for design. All students are expected to come to class having finished the assigned readings, participate fully in-group discussions, and come to class with questions about the reading material and viewpoints from their own experiences and other relevant literature and coursework. Here are some examples of how you can participate:

  • Treat all with respect – be constructive in all discussions
  • Come to class prepared – read carefully prior to class meetings, and
  • Practice active listening – be attentive, be engaged, and use in-class technology with discretion
  • Ask challenging questions
  • Comment, build on, or clarify others’ contributions
  • Post useful or interesting information to the class discussion list
  • Visit the instructor or teaching assistant to chat, ask questions, or give feedback

If you would like, you may submit an optional 2-3 paragraph personal statement on how you contributed to the class. If you submit a statement, it is due at the same time as your final Design Project reflection, Tuesday March 17, 6pm.

Late Assignment Policy

Do not be late with your assignments. It creates a lot of overhead for those doing the grading and trying to keep track of various assignments. If your work is late, it will be docked 10% for each day for up to 3 days late or a total of 30%. After the third day, the assignment will no longer be able to be turned in.

Electronics & Digital Devices

Before class begins, please turn off all phones, pagers, or other devices that may cause disruption. No laptops in lecture. While you may bring your laptops to class, I am going to experiment with having a “no laptop” rule for lectures. You may use them in discussion as that time will be used, in part, for group work. Given that this is an experiment, I will periodically assess and seek feedback on this rule. Any student who feels he or she may need an accommodation to the “No Laptops in Lecture” based on the impact of a disability or special need should contact me privately to discuss his or her specific concerns.

Academic Honesty

Please familiarize yourself with the latest UCI academic honesty policy: academic. The consequences of academic dishonesty are not worth the risks.

In short, you may never use anyone else’s work without clearly acknowledging the source. This includes code you find on the web, text from books, and answers from friends. If an assignment requires you to do the work yourself, then acknowledging the source of an answer does not fulfill the requirements of the assignment. In cases where I find evidence of academic dishonesty, I will fail students who do not display complete academic integrity.

Students with Disabilities or Special Needs

Any student who feels he or she may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability, religious observance (or anything else) should contact me privately to discuss his or her specific needs. If appropriate, contact the Disability Services Center at (949) 824-7494 as soon as possible to better ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion.

Syllabus & Course Design Credit

This syllabus and course materials are modified from Ellie Harmon’s course.

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