Course Description

This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). It covers principles and techniques in the design, development, and evaluation of interactive systems, and provides students with an introduction to UX Design and User-Centered Research. Additionally, some classes will focus on emergent areas within HCI, like Human-Robot Interaction, AR/VR, and Fabrication.

Instructor: Marynel Vázquez (marynel.vazquez at
Course Assistants: Nathan Tsoi (nathan.tsoi at, Rebecca Ramnauth (rebecca.ramnauth at

Class Hours: Monday/Wednesday at 1pm - 2:15pm ET
Class Location: Instruction will be conducted remotely through (synchronous) meetings over Zoom (see the Canvas page for this course for more details).

Office Hours:
- Tuesdays, 11am - 12pm ET - Rebecca
- Thursdays, 7pm - 8pm ET - Nathan

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, students will have gained an understanding of:

  • the field of Human-Computer Interaction;
  • how to approach the design of a system, component, or process from a user-centered perspective;
  • methods to design and conduct user experiments.

Two group projects will provide practical design experience to students, and opportunities to practice communication and collaboration. In addition, graduate students will be able to demonstrate their ability to communicate scientific content to a peer audience.


This course requires having taken CPSC 201 and CPSC 202, or equivalents. Previous familiarity with data structures would be useful the second project in the term. Thus, we recommend that students have previously taken CPSC 223 (or an equivalent course) before taking this HCI course.


The following topics will be covered in the course:

  • History of HCI
  • Design Thinking and User-Centered Research Methods
  • Usability Tests
  • Experimental Design and Analysis/Interpretation of Data
  • Designing for Diverse Needs
  • Emergent areas within HCI like Human-Robot Interaction

See the Schedule for more details.


The course grade will be based on:

  • Group Project 1 (25%). Students will work in groups to apply design and evaluation methods covered in class. Project 1 is structured as five milestones: problem ideation (5%), design research (5%), design ideation (5%), low-fi prototype (5%), heuristic evaluation (5%).

  • Group Project 2 (30%). Students design and implement a spatial visualization system for Yale’s campus. Project 2 is structured as four milestones: initial research & design (5%), milestone report (5%), video presentation (5%), poster and supplementary material (15%).

  • Mid-term Exam (25%).

  • Quizes (10%). There will be short quizes about assigned videos and/or readings at the beginning of some classes.

  • Participation (10%). Being engaged in class activities and asking questions will be rewarded. Graduate students will have to present a research paper on emerging HCI areas.

  • Literature Review (10% for graduate students only). Graduate students will have to submit a small-scale (4-5 pages) literature review on a emergent HCI topic of their preference.

NOTE: The lectures, exam, and class project would be the same for undergrad and graduate students. However, graduate students will be graded over 110% and have as additional course load:

  • two short presentations of research papers about emerging HCI areas (graded as part of the participation component of the above grading scheme), and
  • will have to write a small-scale literature review.


The main textbook reference for the course will be:

We will also discuss recent research papers and a few chapters of:

Past Course Offerings