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CS 160 is an introduction to Human Computer Interaction (HCI). You will learn to prototype, evaluate, and design a user interface. You will be expected to work within a group of four or five students in this project-based course. The project topic will be proposed by your group, and your implementation will be tailored to your users’ needs based on interviews with them.

In contrast to most of the other CS classes at Berkeley, CS160 does not focus on particular algorithmic techniques or computer technologies. Instead, you will make use of technology to develop your applications, and you will acquire some expertise in the development environment you choose. The focus of the course is on developing a broad set of skills needed for user-centered design. These skills include ideation, needs assessment, communication, rapid prototyping, algorithmic implementation and evaluation.

Project Theme: This semester, projects will focus on mobile applications. Mobile applications present unique opportunities (e.g., sensors, camera) and challenges (e.g., text input). Your team will be developing applications using the Google Android SDK. We will have a number of Android phones and tablet devices available that you can borrow for the semester (one per team). You can also use your own personal Android device for development.


  • First Day of Class: Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
    Please attend this class if you are on the wait list.


W Jan 23: Introduction [ Slides | Lecture Video ]

Overflow: After 306 Soda fills up, please go to our overflow room, 310 Soda.
Assignment due by 9pm on Wed Jan 23: Course Petition (now closed)
Assignment due before class on Monday Jan 28: Create Wiki Profile
Assignment due before class on Monday Jan 28: Reading Response
Assignment due by 5pm on Friday Feb 1: Individual Design Exercise
Assignment due by 11:59pm on Friday Feb 1: Individual Programming Assignment 1

Th Jan 24: Section 1: Installing the Android SDK.

M Jan 28: The Design Cycle and Brainstorming [ Slides | Readings | Submit Response | Lecture Video ]

Due: Create Wiki Profile (before class)

W Jan 30: Sketching, Storyboarding, and Critique [ Slides | Readings | Submit Response | Lecture Video ]

Th Jan 31: Section 2: Understanding the Android SDK

F Feb 1: No class, but assignments due

Due: Individual Programming Assignment 1 11:59pm
Due: Individual Design Exercise 5pm

M Feb 4: In Class Group Brainstorming [ Slides | Readings | Submit Response | Lecture Video ]

Meet in 306 Soda; then move to Wozniak Lounge
Assignment due before class on Feb 11: Group Brainstorm
Assignment due by 11:59pm on Feb 15: Individual Programming Assignment 2

W Feb 6: Task Analysis and Contextual Inquiry [ Slides | Readings | Submit Response | Lecture Video ]

Th Feb 7: Section: Android SDK Part II

M Feb 11: Conceptual Models [ Slides | Readings | Submit Response | Video (tech problems, no audio and ends 45mins in) ]

Due: Group Brainstorm
Assignment due before class on Feb 27: Contextual Inquiry, Task Analysis, Competitive Analysis

W Feb 13: Conceptual Models II, Usability Inspection Methods [ Slides | Readings | Submit Response | Lecture Video ]

Assignment due on Feb 22: Individual Heuristic Evaluation

Th Feb 14: Section: Direct Manipulation & Heuristic Evaluation Review

F Feb 15: No class, but assignments due

Due: Individual Programming Assignment 2 11:59pm

M Feb 18: No Class - Academic and Administrative Holiday

W Feb 20: Human Information Processing [ Slides | Readings | Submit Response | Lecture Video ]

Th Feb 21: Section: Review: MHP

F Feb 22: No class, but assignments due

Due: Individual Heuristic Evaluation 11:59pm

M Feb 25: Input Devices and Input Models [ Slides | Readings | Submit Response | No Lecture Video - Hangouts Crashed. ]

W Feb 27: Prototyping [ Slides | Readings | No Response Due (but you are responsible for the material) | Lecture Video ]

Due: Contextual Inquiry, Task Analysis, Competitive Analysis
Assignment due before class on Mar 11: Low-Fidelity Prototype Video
Assignment due before 11:59pm on Mar 22: Individual Programming Assignment 3

Th Feb 28: Section: The one-hour prototyping challenge

M Mar 4: Engineering Interfaces I: Layout, Widgets, Events [ Slides | Readings | Submit Response | Lecture Video ]

Assignment due before class on Mar 6: Mid-Semester Feedback
Fill out the Loaner Device Survey

W Mar 6: Engineering Interfaces II: MVC, Multithreading [ Slides | Readings | Submit Response | Lecture Video ]

Due before class: Mid-Semester Feedback
Don't forget about the Loaner Device Survey

Th Mar 3: Section: Working with Web Services and APIs

M Mar 11: Usability Testing [ Slides | Readings | Submit Response | Lecture Audio (no slides - sorry) ]

Due:: Low-Fidelity Prototype Video
Assignment due before class on Mar 18: Low-Fidelity Test and Iteration
Assignment due before class on Mar 13: Individual Team Assessment 1

W Mar 13: Statistical Analysis [ Slides | Readings | No Reading Response - Complete Online Experiment instead | Lecture Video ]

Due: Individual Team Assessment 1

Th Mar 14: Section: Conducting Experiments, Analyzing Data

M Mar 18: Midterm Review [ No Readings - come with questions | Slides | Lecture video (Hangout crashed 20mins in) ]

Due before class: Low-Fidelity Test and Iteration
Assignment due before class on Apr 08: Interactive Prototype

W Mar 20: Midterm Exam

Th Mar 21: No section, but open lab hours to work on IPA 3 - GSIs will be there to help.

F Mar 22: No Class, but assignment due: Individual Programming Assignment 3

M Mar 25: Spring Break - No class

W Mar 27: Spring Break - No class

Note: The schedule below is likely to change - take it as a rough indication of where we are headed.

M Apr 01: Graphic Design and Gestalt Principles [ Readings | No Response | Slides | Lecture Video ]

W Apr 03: Visual Information Design [ Readings | Submit Response | Slides | Lecture Video ]

Th Apr 04: Section: Visual Redesign

M Apr 08: Interactive Prototype Presentations I [No Readings | No Slides]

Due: Interactive Prototype

W Apr 10: Interactive Prototype Presentations II [No Readings | No Slides]

Assignment due before class on Apr 24: Pilot Usability Study

Th Apr 11: Section: Design Review 1

M Apr 15: Collaboration and Social Software [ Readings | Submit Response | Slides | Lecture Video ]

Assignment due by 11:59pm on Wed Apr 17: Team Assessment II

W Apr 17: Historical Perspectives [ Readings | Submit Response | Slides | Lecture Video ]

Due by 11:59pm: Team Assessment II

Th Apr 18: Section: Server-side setup for mobile social apps

M Apr 22: Future Interactions [ Readings | Submit Response | Slides | Lecture Video ]

W Apr 24: Mobile Start-Ups [ Readings | Submit Response | Slides ]

Guest Speakers: Ron Yeh (squarepoet), Prayag Narula (MobileWorks), Thushan Amarasiriwardena (Launchpad Toys), Tico Ballagas (Kindoma), Ljuba Miljkovic (Automatic)
Due: Pilot Usability Study
Assignment due on May 6: Final Presentation and Poster
Assignment due on May 10: Final Video, Code

Th Apr 25: Section: Design Review 2

M Apr 29: No class (Bjoern at CHI)

W May 1: Last regular lecture Course Summary, Research Directions [ Slides (Deliverables), Slides (Research) | No Readings | ]

Assignment due on May 13: Final Team Assessment

Th May 2: Section: Producing Your Final Deliverables

M May 6: No Class; Practice Talks

Due: Final Presentation and Poster

W May 8: Final Presentations: Public Presentations+Posters (2-5pm, CITRIS Auditorium and Atrium)

M May 13: by 11:59pm

Due: Final Video, Code
Due: Final Team Assessment



Teaching Staff:


  • For all technical questions, use the CS160 Piazza Q&A Site.
  • For private questions, send a private message on Piazza.

Please avoid emailing the Instructors or the GSI directly. You will receive a response much faster if you use Piazza.
You may also choose to send Piazza messages anonymously.


  • Lectures: 306 Soda Hall MW 2:30-4pm
  • Discussion Sections: Th 10-11am, Th 3-4pm, Th 4-5pm, 405 Soda

Office Hours:

  • Bjoern: 533 Soda Hall, Time Wed 4-5pm and by appointment
  • Neha: Monday 1:30-2:30pm, Brewed Awakening on Euclid
  • Kate: Tuesdays 3-4pm, 510 Soda

Textbook: There is no required textbook for this class. There will be readings assigned for each lecture. The readings will be available online through this wiki. If you are interested in reading further take a look at the recommended reading list.


CS160 is an upper division course, and one of few where you will work extensively on one significant programming project. To participate fully in this course, you are required to have taken CS61B or have equivalent knowledge. We will assume that you are familiar with Java and are comfortable coding a large-scale project.

You will be expected to actively participate in lectures, complete readings ahead of time, complete a number of small programming assignments, and, most importantly, participate fully in your group project. The teaching staff will promptly return graded homework to you, and will be available to provide feedback and help with problems.

Note that the majority of the work in this course is conducted in the form of a semester-long group project. Unlike other courses, dropping the course before the end of the semester has negative consequences for your other group members. So once you have joined a group please make sure you are committed to staying in the course.

  • You are expected to read the assigned readings and post a substantive reading response before class. Late comments on the wiki will NOT be accepted. There will be plenty of opportunities in class to apply that knowledge and in-class participation will be part of your grade. More on the class participation component can be found here.
  • There will be two types of assignments: programming assignments and project assignments. Programming assignments will be individual exercises; their main goal is to teach you the skills needed to successfully execute on your project.Project assignments will be done in groups.
  • You will be expected to turn in written documentation at each stage of your project. You will also turn in working code. Each group member will help to give an oral presentation about your project.
  • There will be a midterm exam.
  • Most assignments will be turned in through this class wiki. Most project assignments will be due before the start of the lecture during which they are due. Design assignments will be due at the beginning of the week.
  • Project assignments may not be turned in late. Programming assignments will lose 33% per day they are late.
  • Each group is responsible for making sure that all members are participating. As part of the project reports, you be required to describe the effort put in by each member, both on specific tasks and as a fraction of the group’s effort. Make sure you discuss this regularly, to make sure your group is in agreement about the work breakdown.
  • If a group member is not participating, the entire group must meet with the teaching staff. Effective group work (which entails some amount of conflict resolution) is a key skill for success in industry. We would like you to work through conflicts if at all possible, and we will devote some class time to this topic.
  • If you have a question about a grade, you should meet with the GSI. You can come to the professor if the issue cannot be resolved with the GSI's help.
  • Cheating will not be tolerated, and will get you an F in the class.


  • Class participation (10%)
  • Individual programming & design assignments (25%)
  • Midterm (25%)
  • Project assignments (40%)

Late Policy: Group project assignments may not be turned in late. Individual project and design assignments will lose 33% per 24 hours they are late. If you turn in an assignment late on the wiki, please mark is as (LATE) and add it to the bottom of the submission list so we don't forget to grade it.

Regrading Policy: If you want an assignment regraded, you must submit a hardcopy of your assignment and a written description of why you believe the grade was unsatisfactory no sooner than two days but within two weeks after receiving the grade. Submit the regrade request to Prof. Hartmann's office, 533 Soda Hall. Staff will regrade the entire assignment; this means that your grade may potentially drop.

Section Attendance: Section attendance is strongly encouraged and is considered in the class participation grade. You are not required to attend Android sections. However, someone from your group must be present for design review sections later on in the semester.

Note: This is largely a design class. Unlike most other CS classes there is not always a single "correct" design solution. Usually there are many possible designs with different advantages and disadvantages. In this class you will learn to both design new interfaces and evaluate the pros and cons of the interfaces you design. As you complete the assignments for this class you should try to point out both the pros and the cons of the interfaces and applications you design.

Design is typically evaluated in a qualitative manner. As a result a significant portion of the grading in this class will be qualitative, including assessments of the end user experience of the system and the quality of your designs, evaluations, and prototypes.


The majority of the homework in this class will be oriented around the project. Many of these homework assignments will be done in with your project group, but some assignments (or parts of assignments) must be completed individually. We provide a rough schedule of the assignments here (the schedule may change over the course of the semester and we may choose to add or drop assignments).

How to use and edit this wiki

New to wikis? Read the Wiki editing guide.

To contribute to this wiki, you'll need to first create an account by signing in with CalNet (The login link is the upper right hand corner). Afterwards, please add some descriptive information about yourself on your personal page -- click your login name (next to the person icon) at the top of the page to access your personal page.


This lectures, format and syllabus of this class are based on HCI classes taught by Ben Bederson, John Canny, Maneesh Agrawala, Francois Guimbretiere, Marti Hearst and James Landay. These authors have kindly provided access to their lecture slides and my own slides borrow from their earlier work.