COMS W4170 will provide a general introduction to the theory and practice of computer user interface design. The fundamental question that we will try to answer is, “How can we create high-quality user interfaces?” In our quest, we will take a hard look at what is behind some often glib buzzwords: user-friendly, ergonomic, Web 2.0, direct manipulation, constraint-based, prototyping, rich internet applications, end-user programming, programming by demonstration, visual programming, hypermedia, information visualization, and collaborative software.
Our emphasis will be on the design of 2D graphical user interfaces. We will survey the basic interaction devices available and the techniques that have been developed for (or have given rise to) them, and will study several important paradigms for how these techniques can be woven into a coherent dialogue. This will provide a framework within which we can analyze existing user interfaces and design new ones.
Grading will be based on written assignments (33%), midterm (20%) and final (20%) exams, a final project (22%), and class participation (5%). Although this is not primarily a “programming class,” programming will be required, with emphasis on design and analysis. To get an idea of the kind of work that we will do, you can see representative screenshots and descriptions of the final projects for Fall 2010, Fall 2009, Fall 2008, Fall 2007, Fall 2006, and Spring 2006.
The course prerequisite is COMS W3137 (Data Structures and Algorithms) or equivalent. You do not need to know Java, C, or C++, and no previous academic experience with either user interface design or graphics is assumed. However, you are expected to be comfortable with computers and object-oriented programming.
Semih Energin (se2302 [AT] columbia.edu) is a second-year MS student in Computer Science, working with Steve as a member of the Computer Graphics and User Interfaces Lab. His interests include augmented reality, cloud computing, and game development. He earned his BS degree in Computer Engineering at Bilkent University, Turkey. He has worked in several organizations in different fields, most recently at the Microsoft New England Research & Development Center (Cambridge). He will hold office hours Tuesday 3–5pm and Wednesday 4–6pm in 6LE3 Schapiro CEPSR.
Cyril Joshi (ckj2108 [AT] columbia.edu) is an MS student in Computer Science at Columbia. He received his BE from University of Mumbai, India. He has worked as a software developer at Infosys Technologies Ltd., India on an E-Banking product of Infosys: Finacle. Over the summer, he interned at Amazon as a software engineer developer working with the Amazon Prime team. He will hold office hours Wednesday 11am–1pm in the TA Help Room.
Additional reading material will be announced in the syllabus and in class.
For those of you who do not have your own computer, or who also wish to use our department's computers to do your work, if there is sufficient demand, we will install the software needed for the course on some of the Windows machines in the CLIC Lab, accessible with an MRL account.
Course material will be found on the web through Courseworks, and the syllabus and assignments will be linked through http://www.cs.columbia.edu/graphics/courses/csw4170/.
Anything turned in past the start of class until midnight the next day is one day late. Every (partial) day thereafter that an assignment is late, including weekends and holidays, counts as an additional late day.
Absolutely no late work will be accepted beyond that accounted for by your late days. If you're not done on time, please be sure to turn in whatever you have completed on time to receive partial credit. Now, please go back and read this section over again!