Research in Human-Computer Interaction

With the emergence of the "personal computing" paradigm in the 1970s, computers moved out of the machine room and became devices with which end-users would interact directly. The field of HCI grew up in response to the engineering and cognitive challenges of building systems that fit with user needs. The field of HCI has broadened considerably since then, reflecting the influence of new disciplines (e.g. sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, communication, design) and the emergence of new areas of interest (e.g. physical and tangible computing, mobile and ubiquitous systems).

In previous years, we taught a single graduate HCI class. We found, though, that there are two broad constituencies for this class -- those who wish to understand design fundamentals and methods that they can apply in their own work (at UCI or beyond), and those who intend to conduct doctoral research in HCI. Accordingly, we split the class into 231, for people with a practical interest in building and evaluating user interfaces, and 232, for people coming to the topic as an area where they plan to undertake research.

In this class, we will examine current research issues in Human-Computer Interaction. A familiarity with the basic topics and techniques of HCI will be assumed; instead, the goal is to bring you into contemporary debates and familiarize you with topics of significant research activity. INF 232 tends to take on something of the character of the instructor's own research program, unsurprisingly; since most of my work focuses on topics in social and cultural aspects of interaction design, that's much of what we'll talk about.

Grades will be based on participation in online and in-class discussion, and on a term paper.


Over the course of the quarter, we will read six books together. The books represent different positions and topics of contemporary concern in HCI research. The goal is not to be comprehensive -- within ten weeks, that would be impossible -- but to discuss topics of particular relevance. Most of the material that we will be looking at focuses on the relationship between design and cultural practice.

The books are:

Note that the book by McCarthy and Wright is due for publication while the quarter is in session (January 2015). The book by Rogers is available electronically through the UCI library. Sterling's and Greenfield's are e-books; you can get them from Amazon.

Schedule of Readings

Week 1 Introduction and course overview
Week 2 Theory Rogers
Week 3 Internet of Things Sterling, Greenfield
Week 4 Media and Design Löwgren and Reimer
Week 5 Media and Design Löwgren and Reimer
Week 6 Communication and Sociality Miller and Sinanan
Week 7 Communication and Sociality Miller and Sinanan
Week 8 Participation McCarthy and Sinanan
Week 9 Participation McCarthy and Wright
Week 10 Wrap-up