Learn the fundamentals of Human Computer Interaction in this four-course certificate.
This course begins with an introduction to the field of Human-Computer Interaction as a whole and where it sits in the context of related and similar fields like Human Factors Engineering and User Experience Design. Here, you’ll learn just enough of the history of HCI to get started having real conversations about the field.
Then, you’ll learn the fundamental design principles of human-computer interaction. You’ll start with the fundamental feedback cycle that underlies all interactions between users and interfaces. With that in mind, you’ll then learn the design principles developed by visionaries in the field like Don Norman, Jakob Nielsen, Larry Constantine, and Lucy Lockwood. From there, you’ll move into more advanced theories of HCI, including situated action and distributed cognition, then conclude by looking at how interface design can impact social change.
After you’ve learned the fundamental principles and theories of HCI, you’ll move onto the design life cycle. The design life cycle covers how you iteratively gather requirements, brainstorm alternatives, prototype interfaces, and gather user feedback quickly to make fast progress in designing and improving user interfaces. You’ll cover the basics of how to develop a good survey, conduct an informative interview, and control for bias throughout your needfinding processes. You’ll then learn about running effective brainstorming sessions, and then prototyping at the just-right level of fidelity for your current confidence in your designs. Finally, you’ll learn how to evaluate those prototypes with real users, gathering their feedback for a new run through the design life cycle.
After that, we’ll briefly look at the current state of human-computer interaction, focusing on three areas: technologies like virtual and augmented reality, ideas like gesture- or touch-based interaction, and application areas like healthcare and security. In this exploration, we’ll rely heavily on cutting-edge papers and publications from the ever-changing field of HCI.
Then finally, we’ll recap the entire course contents, and tell you what to do next to further your HCI education: whether it’s pursuing a Master’s or PhD in the field, taking follow-up MOOCs, or beginning your own HCI research career.
The material in this course is borrowed from Georgia Tech’s CS6750: Human-Computer Interaction, part of its online Master of Science in Computer Science program. You’ll watch the exact same lectures as students in the for-credit program.
Courses under this program: Course 1: Human-Computer Interaction I: Fundamentals & Design Principles
Learn the principles of Human-Computer Interaction to create intuitive, usable interfaces, with established design principles like feedback cycles, direct manipulation, affordances, signifiers, and more.
Build on your knowledge of HCI’s core principles by learning to design interfaces in the real world. Begin with the ethics of human subjects research, then learn critical methods for requirements gathering and brainstorming design alternatives.
Complete your understand of the design life cycle by learning to take interface ideas, prototype them quickly, and evaluate them with real users. Finally, tie principles and methods together and learn the next steps you could take in HCI.
This course takes you through the first eight lessons of CS6750: Human-Computer Interaction as taught in the Georgia Tech Online Master of Science in Computer Science program.
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.
This course takes you through lessons 9 through 13 of CS6750: Human-Computer Interaction as taught in the Georgia Tech Online Master of Science in Computer Science program.
In this course, you’ll expand the scope through which you view human-computer interaction. You’ll start by going further inside the user’s mind to understand the role of mental models in guiding a user’s interaction with your system. A good user interface designer understands the mental models of their users and how representations can be used to correct those mental models.
You’ll then learn methods for breaking down user behavior into more objective, discernible, and measurable chunks. Through the principles of task analysis and with artifacts like GOMS models, you’ll discover how to take the often-ethereal patterns of human interaction and distill them into externalizable, manipulable chunks. You’ll also learn how to use these artifacts to inform the design and improvement of interfaces.
You’ll then widen your view to look at the context in which your interfaces are deployed. You’ll begin by learning about distributed cognition, which includes the notion that humans may offload cognitive tasks onto interfaces, and that humans and interfaces together may be considered higher-level cognitive systems. You’ll also learn about theories for investigating interaction in context, such as activity theory and situated action, and the role that human improvisation plays in any interface we design. Through these lenses, you’ll be equipped to design not just user interfaces, but user experiences developed with an understanding of the context around the interaction.
You’ll conclude by expanding your view even further to investigate how interfaces interact with society itself: both how society guides the interfaces we create, and how the interfaces we create affect society. You’ll learn how interface design can be used to address societal issues, but also how it can have danger unintentional side effects.
By the end of the course, you’ll have a deeper understanding of how human cognition interacts with user interfaces, and how user interfaces in turn interact with the world. You’ll be able to design interfaces that consider what the user knows and what is going on around the user.
This course takes you through lessons 14 through 18 of CS6750: Human-Computer Interaction as taught in the Georgia Tech Online Master of Science in Computer Science program.
In this course, you’ll begin by learning the design life cycle. This is the process by which we investigate user needs, brainstorm potential designs, create prototypes, and evaluate those prototypes. This life cycle provides the structure for the third and fourth courses in this professional certificate.
A key part of the design life cycle, however, is human subjects research. In interface design, this involves asking users for information about what they do and what they need, and then asking them for feedback on the prototypes that you develop. In HCI more broadly, this may involve testing different ideas with users to see what facilitates the best user experience. Whenever we interact with users, though, we need to keep in mind users’ rights to privacy and transparency, and so we begin this course with a discussion of ethics in HCI. This is grounded in the university Institutional Review Board process, but also investigates the role of ethics in HCI in industry as well.
From there, you’ll move on to needfinding and requirements gathering. It is always tempting to jump straight into designing an interface based on our intuitive understanding of a task or need, but successful interface design always starts with an understanding of the users: who are they, what they do, and what they need. This involves both interacting directly with them via surveys and interviews, as well as observing them at a distance or even attempting the tasks ourselves. This concludes with an understanding of the requirements of any interface we create.
From there, you’ll move on to brainstorming design alternatives. Again, it is often tempting to jump straight to the design we have in mind, but successful interface design starts with the results of needfinding and attempts a more grounded investigation of possible solutions. Through this lesson, you’ll learn techniques for managing effective brainstorming sessions and approaches to exploring the ideas that are created including artifacts like user personas, interaction timelines, and storyboards.
Finally, you’ll conclude by learning about prototyping. Implementing an interface is a complicated process, and there is a risk that we may invest lots of time into an interface that is doomed to fail because we do not get user feedback on the idea. The goal of prototyping is to get an idea in front of users as quickly as possible to validate and improve it before we move on to the high pressures of implementation.
By the end of this course, you’ll have an understanding of the design life cycle and its first three major stages: needfinding, brainstorming, and prototyping. You’ll also understand the ethical implications of HCI research and how to safeguard users’ rights.
This course takes you through the last nine lessons of CS6750: Human-Computer Interaction as taught in the Georgia Tech Online Master of Science in Computer Science program.
In this final course in the professional certificate, you’ll complete your understanding of the design life cycle, and learn about the modern relevance of human-computer interaction.
You’ll begin by learning about evaluation. This is the critical final step of the design life cycle, where we put our prototypes in front of real users (or strong approximations thereof) to get feedback on their quality. You’ll learn about three methods for evaluation: first, qualitative evaluation lets you get direct feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of your interface from real users. Second, quantitative evaluation lets you make strong claims about the effectiveness of your interface or the validity of your theories of interaction. Third, heuristic evaluation lets you inject evaluation much more completely into the design process, persistently putting yourself into the mindset of a user to investigate an interface.
Then, you’ll learn how human-computer interaction relates to a modern trend in software development, Agile design. HCI and Agile development have a deep symbiosis in the way they each value rapid feedback. Moreover, modern technologies have allowed high-fidelity prototypes to be developed with the relative ease of low-fidelity prototypes in the past, allowing even better feedback and evaluation to come in throughout the design process.
After wrapping up your understanding of the design life cycle and its iterative nature, you’ll turn your attention to a deeper dive into the modern state of human-computer interaction. You’ll have the chance to explore cutting-edge research in HCI, from technologies like extended reality to domains like cybersecurity to ideas like gesture-based interaction. HCI is a dynamic and evolving field, and any education it would not be complete without a chance to look at what’s happening today.
Finally, you’ll conclude by looking at how far you’ve come and what you could do next. From other MOOCs to graduate degrees in the field, there are enormous possibilities for further studies in HCI.
By the end of this course, you’ll have an understanding of the importance of evaluation in the design life cycle, as well as an understanding of where HCI sits in modern development and research.