COMS W4170 Syllabus and Assignments

Fall 2013, Tu/Th 1:10–2:25pm, 517 Hamilton

Prof. Steven Feiner 
feiner [AT] cs [DOT] columbia [DOT] edu 

Schedule is subject to change.  (S n = Shneiderman and Plaisant, 5th Edition, Chapter n)

  Date    Topics/chapters covered    Assignment    Due date 
  Tue Sep 3   Course intro; UI background (S 1)

  Thu Sep 5   UI background 2; UI theory (S 2; US Rehabilitation Act Section 508 web page; an ongoing example accessibility problem close to home)

  Tue Sep 10    UI theory 2; UI principles

  Thu Sep 12   UI principles 2 (J. Nielsen, Ten Usability Heuristics; D. Pogue, A device sold before its time, New York Times, September 15, 2010)

  Tue Sep 17    UI principles 3; Introduction to CogTool




  Download CogTool 1.2.2 and one of the IDEs linked to the class web page
  Thu Sep 19    UI development and evaluation (S 3)

  Assn 1   Oct 3
  Tue Sep 24   Introduction to HTML5/JavaScript (Bring your laptop with an IDE installed if you can; in addition to the documentation linked to the 4170 web page, please see and use the material demonstrated in class: JavaScript Guide, JavaScript Garden, twitter-no-backend [an example of using Twitter without a backend], Chrome developer tools, Async, Underscore)


  Thu Sep 26    UI development and evaluation 2; Case Study: Piles; Lo-fi prototypes (S 4; J. Nielsen, Guerrilla HCI: Using Discount Usability Engineering to Penetrate the Intimidation Barrier, 1994; R. Mander, G. Salomon, and Y. Wong, A `Pile' Metaphor for Supporting Casual Organization of Information, Proc. CHI '92, Monterey, CA, May 3–7, 1992, 627–634)

  Tue Oct 1   HTML5/JavaScript (Bring your laptop with an IDE installed if you can)
10    Thu Oct 3   Lo-fi prototypes 2 (Marc Rettig. Prototyping for Tiny Fingers. Communic. of the ACM, 37(4), April 1994, 21–27; articles on prototyping in ACM Interactions special issue on the art of prototyping, January–February 2006; Redesigning the Facebook News Feed, March 2013)

For optional additional information about paper prototypes, see the references at

  Assn 2 (and guidance on creating use scenarios and personas)   Oct 8 (team name), 17 (tests run), Oct 29 (submitted)
11    Tue Oct 8   Guest lecture: Kristie Weatherford (Head of User Experience, North America, Rule Financial; See Todd Zaki Warfel, Sketching & Prototyping: Rapid Design Techniques and  Peiter Buick, The Messy Art Of UX Sketching, Smashing Magazine)
12    Thu Oct 10   Guest lecture: Brad Paley (B. Paley, Interface and mind, it—Information Technology, 51(3), May 2009, 131–141; Steps toward a discipline of cognitive engineering)

13    Tue Oct 15   Command languages (S 7); Menus (S 6)

14    Thu Oct 17   Menus 2; Case study: Radial and marking menus; Direct manipulation (G. Kurtenbach, G. Fitzmaurice, A. Khan, and D. Almeida, Gesture Recognition in Marking Menus; M. Tapia and G. Kurtenbach, Some design refinements and principles on the appearance and behavior of marking menus, Proc. UIST '95, Pittsburgh, PA, November 15–17, 1995, 189–195; T. Moscovich, Contact Area Interaction with Sliding Widgets, Proc. UIST 2009, Victoria, BC, 2009, 13–22 and associated video)

15    Tue Oct 22    Direct manipulation 2; Interaction devices (S 5)

For optional additional information about some of the most influential early work in direct manipulation user interfaces, see  D. Engelbart et al., Augmentation Research Center Demo, Fall Joint Computer Conference, San Francisco, 1968 and HCI research by the Lincoln Lab TX-2 group

16    Thu Oct 24   Interaction devices 2 (S 8; P. Dietz, Pressure-sensitive multitouch keyboard and example applications from UIST 2009 Student Innovation Contest; Adaptive keyboard and example applications from UIST 2010 Student Innovation Contest; Multitouch mouse from UIST 2011 Student Innovation Contest; Pressure-sensitive multitouch touchpad from UIST 2012 Student Innovation Contest; PumpSpark Fountain Development Kit from UIST 2013 Student Innovation Contest)

Multitouch technologies (Get an idea of the rich history and breadth of multitouch devices by skimming through Bill Buxton, Multi-Touch Systems that I Have Known and Loved

17    Tue Oct 29    Interaction devices 3

18    Thu Oct 31   Interaction devices 4; Multitouch devices

  Assn 3   Nov 19
    Tue Nov 5   No class: University Holiday (Vote if you're eligible!)

19    Thu Nov 7   Programming by demonstration (S 5.3.4; Begin by skimming lightly through A. Cypher (ed.), Watch What I Do: Programming by Demonstration, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1993, and then read the chapters by Smith on Pygmalion and Halbert on SmallStar; next, read the chapter by Myers on Peridot, replacing the missing figures for this chapter in the online version of the book by looking at the corresponding figures [but no need to read the accompanying text] in B. Myers, Creating user interfaces using programing by example, visual programming, and constraints, ACM Trans. on Programming Languages and Systems, 12(2), April 1990, 143-177; then read D. Kurlander and S. Feiner, A history-based macro by example system, Proc. UIST '92, Monterey, CA, November 15-18, 1992, 99-106 instead of the chapter by Kurlander and Feiner; finally, read about a current research system that builds on these ideas: F. Grabler, M. Agrawala, W. Li, M. Dontcheva, and T. Igarashi, Generating photo manipulation tutorials by demonstration, ACM Trans. on Graphics, 28(3), August 2009, article 66 [see the video and examples] and see or try a downloadable experimental app based on this research project: Adobe Labs Tutorial Builder)


20    Tue Nov 12   Programming by demonstration 2 (S 9)

21    Thu Nov 14   Collaboration



  Project   Dec 10 (teams due Nov 17, design concept due Nov 26)
22    Tue Nov 19    Collaboration 2

23    Thu Nov 21    Collaboration 3; Information visualization (S13–14, NIH/NSF Visualization Research Challenges, January 2006)

24    Tue Nov 26   Information visualization 2

    Thu Nov 28    No class: Thanksgiving

25    Tue Dec 3   Two-handed UIs; Preview of COMS W4172: 3D User Interfaces and Augmented Reality; Scaling up and down: From wall-sized to hand-held

26    Thu Dec 5    Scaling up and down: From wall-sized to hand-held 2; Predicting the future (S Appendix 1; Apple Knowledge Navigator video, Sun Starfire video, NTT DoCoMo Vision 2010 video, NTT mobile life video, HP Labs mscape concept video, Microsoft Office Labs Future Vision 2019 Montage video; Office Vision video; Keiichi Matsuda, Augmented (hyper)Reality: Domestic Robocop video)

    Tue Dec 10   Final project presentations 6:30pm–10pm in 602 (not 517) Hamilton. Each group will give a presentation (including a question-and-answer session). Please see the project description for the time breakdown.

  Tue Dec 17 (our official exam date/time)   Final exam 1:10pm–4pm in 517 Hamilton. Will cover all material discussed in class and assigned. You will not be expected to demonstrate your knowledge of low-level language syntax or methods and IDEs. The exam will be closed book, closed notes, with essay questions instead of true/false or multiple choice questions. All answers will be written on the exam itself, where the space provided will give an idea of the length expected.