I Hate Computers: A motivational introduction to HCI

I give a 1 hour motivational introductory seminar to HCI based on the following materials.

User-Centered Design:
why people hate computers, and how to design useful and usable systems

We all know that people hate computers. Yet they continue to use them in spite of this antipathy. The problem is that while computers are highly useful (and necessary), they are not particularly usable. This is our fault. As computer professionals, we know how to make computers dance for us, but we do not know how to make these same computers dance for our end users. As a consequence, we design or buy software that does not fit end user’s needs, their ways of thinking, their ways of working.

User-centered design is a discipline concerned with solving this problem by introducing a myriad of practical methods that help developers design for people. One simple – and extremely cheap – method is to perform user testing of prototypes in the early stages of development. I will show several examples of how this can be done.

Even though I am a professor, this will not be an ivory tower talk. At the end of this presentation, you should be able to (and should want to) do your own quick and dirty user testing of your software visions.


Topics Covered

Recommended Readings

Additional Readings and Presentations

  1. The full presentation on the real phone evaluation. Saul Greenberg


Videos are used in the presentation. The first few illustrates the difference between how computers are advertised vs. how people actually view them. The others concentrate on showing a study of the IBM Real Phone system.

  1. I Hate Computers. Copyright 2001 Matt Frantz, Published by independent opposition www.independentopposition.com
  2. My Dad is not a Nerd, Advertisement produced by the Sony Store. Downloaded from AdCritic.Com  
  3. The Disgruntled Employee, Source unknown.  
  4. Real Objects and Real Phone, IBM. extracted from Ben Sheiderman's Video series on Designing the UI
  5. Real Phone Usability Study created by Saul Greenberg, 1999


  1. Realphone software - .exe installation program for Windows
  2. Realphone Installation instructions for XP