HCI for Product Managers
Additional course information available on Canvas.
Product managers are ultimately responsible for developing products that meet customer needs. The field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) has developed techniques to understand user needs and design human-centered technology that directly addresses those needs. In this course, students will learn and practice these techniques through a course-long project.
In this course, students will develop skills drawn from the field of HCI to research, ideate, evaluate and define a new software application, culminating with the presentation of a document specifying use cases and functionality. This course provides an overview and introduction to the field of human-computer interaction, focusing on how it applies to product managers. Particular emphasis will be placed on what HCI methods and HCI-trained specialists can bring to design and development teams. The course will provide a hands-on introduction to proven tools and techniques for creating and improving user interfaces, such as Contextual Interviewing, Rapid Prototyping, Heuristic Evaluation, and Think-Aloud Usability Testing. Students at the end of the course will have learned how to perform some useful techniques and will have an understanding of systematic procedures for creating usable and useful designs and systems.
Schedule and Readings
Subject to modification
Heuristic Evaluation Slides
Contextual Inquiry Slides
- Required The Value of Rapid Ethnography (Chapter 5) by Ellen Isaacs in Advancing Ethnography in Corporate Environments - Challenges and Emerging Opportunities
- Required 12 Tips for Early Customer Development Interviews (Revision 3) by Giff Constable
- Required How to Choose a User Experience Technique by Pooja Sawant
User Interviews Slides
- Required Universal tools- Recruiting and Interviewing (Chapter 6) by Elizabeth Goodman, Mike Kuniavsky and Andrea Moed in Observing the User Experience
- Required Example Interview Guide- Reading Ahead Interview Guide by Portigal Consulting
- Required Example Interview Guide- Designer Information Search / Use Field Study Script by Dan Russell
- Required Surveys (Chapter 12) by Elizabeth Goodman, Mike Kuniavsky and Andrea Moed in Observing the User Experience
- Required Competitive Research Methods (Chapter 5) by Elizabeth Goodman, Mike Kuniavsky and Andrea Moed in Observing the User Experience
- Required Stakeholder Mapping - The Complete Guide to Stakeholder Maps by Rikke Friis Dam and Teo Yu Siang
Synthesis & Ideation I Slides
- Required Personas and the Advantage of Designing for Yourself by Joshua Porter
- Required Using Improvisation to Enhance the Effectiveness of Brainstorming by Elizabeth Gerber in ACM CHI
- Required How Might We Questions by Stanford d.school
Synthesis & Ideation II Slides
- Required Abductive Thinking and Sensemaking- The Drivers of Design Synthesis by Jon Kolko in Design Issues
- Required Love, Hate, and Empathy- Why We Still Need Personas by Kyra Edeker and Jan Moorman in UX Magazine
Low Fidelity Prototype & Storyboard Slides
- Required Storyboarding- An Empirical Determination of Best Practices and Effective Guidelines by Khai Truong, Gillian Hayes & Gregory Abowd in ACM DIS
- Required The Use of Stories in User Experience Design by Dan Gruen, Thyra Rauch, Sarah Redpath, Stefan Ruettinger in International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
- Required Rapidly Exploring Application Design Through Speed Dating by Scott Davidoff, Min Kyung Lee, Anind K. Dey, and John Zimmerman in Ubicomp
Guest Lecture by Max Friedman (Google) Slides
No Class Slides
Usability Testing and Think Aloud Slides
- Required Turn User Goals into Task Scenarios for Usability Testing by Marieke McCloskey in Nielsen Norman Group
- Required Thinking Aloud- The Number 1 Usability Tool by Jakob Nielsen in Nielsen Norman Group
- Required Think−Aloud Usability Testing by Bonnie John in User−Centered Design and Testing
- Required General Concepts of Usability Testing by James Hom in The Usability Methods Toolbox
- Required Thinking Aloud Protocol by James Hom in The Usability Methods Toolbox
UI Design Slides
- Required The Psychology of Everyday Things (Chapter 2) by Don Norman in The Design of Everyday Things
- Required Prototyping (Chapter 11) by Rex Hartson and Pardha S. Pyla in The UX Book - Process and Guidelines for Ensuring a Quality User Experience
- Required Mental Models by Jakob Nielsen in Nielsen Norman Group
- Required The Grid System- Building a Solid Design Layout by Mads Soegaard in Interaction Design Foundation
None. Assignments will involve conducting interviews and observations, doing synthesis and analysis, ideation, paper prototyping, and implementing a prototype of a working design, using some computational medium. We will use the interactive design tool Figma for some assignemnts. No background in HCI is expected.
There is no required textbook for this course. Readings are drawn from a variety of books, readings and online postings, and will be provided by the instructor.
Amount of Work
This is a “6 unit” mini. As per university policy, this means that this course is expected to take students 12 hours per week, including class time. Surveys of previous students show that this is accurate.
How to Submit Assignments
All assignments must be turned in using Canvas.
The tentative breakdown for grading is below. As a reminder, here is the university policy on academic integrity.
There will be 6 assignments, each worth 15% of your final grade. All assignments in this course are individual: you are required to do them by yourself. Each person must do their own work independently. Participation will comprise the remaining 10%:
- Assignment 1: 15%
- Assignment 2: 15%
- Assignment 3: 15%
- Assignment 4: 15%
- Assignment 5: 15%
- Assignment 6: 15%
- Participation: 10%
Participation includes interaction during classroom activities, as well as sharing stories, questions and comments related to past and upcoming lectures.
Assignments are due before the beginning of class (12:30 PM ET) on the specified day. A penalty of 10 points out of 100 (one letter grade) will be immediately applied after the start time of class. An additional 5 points will be subtracted for each additional 24-hour period late. You are responsible to confirm that your Canvas submittal was successfully uploaded.
Respect for Diversity
It is our intent that students from all diverse backgrounds and perspectives be well served by this course, that students’ learning needs be addressed both in and out of class, and that the diversity that students bring to this class be viewed as a resource, strength and benefit. It is our intent to present materials and activities that are respectful of diversity: gender, sexuality, disability, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, and culture. Your suggestions are encouraged and appreciated. Please let us know ways to improve the effectiveness of the course for you personally or for other students or student groups. In addition, if any of our class meetings conflict with your religious events, please let us know so that we can make arrangements for you.
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
If you have a disability and are registered with the Office of Disability Resources, we encourage you to use their online system to notify us of your accommodations and discuss your needs with us as early in the semester as possible. We will work with you to ensure that accommodations are provided as appropriate. If you suspect that you may have a disability and would benefit from accommodations but are not yet registered with the Office of Disability Resources, we encourage you to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Health and Well-being
If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms or have a recent COVID exposure, do not attend class if we are meeting in-person. Please email the instructors for accomodations.
If you or anyone you know experiences any academic stress, difficult life events, or feelings like anxiety or depression, we strongly encourage you to seek support. Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS) is here to help; call 412-268-2922 and visit their website at www.cmu.edu/counseling/. Consider reaching out to a friend, faculty or family member you trust for help getting connected to the support that can help. If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal or in danger of self-harm, call someone immediately, day or night:
If you have questions about this or your coursework, please let the instructors know. Thank you, and have a great semester.