Lecture Topics in HCI, instructor Sheelagh Carpendale
credits Saul Greenberg
Contents for: CPSC 481 

Psychology of Everyday Things

This topic considers the design of everyday things. It begins with examples of bad design. The goal here is to have students realize that human problems and errors when dealing with technology are usually a result of design failure, and that good design accounts for human capabilities. It then introduces concepts and design principles that help us analyze bad design and create good designs. Students usually enjoy this section. They bring their own encounters of bad design into the discussion, and often propose fixes as well.



Topics Covered

Required Readings


The Strauss Mouse is a re-enactment of situations where people used a mouse in inappropriate ways. It is humorous, and reminds us that even very "familiar" computer objects may be a mystery to new users. All the Widgets shows the evolution of many widget designs, and I use snippets from it to illustrate how early (and poor) widget designs often failed to satisfy many of the design principles suggested by Norman, and how later ones do. The evolution of scrollbars is a good choice, as early versions are quite arcane. It is a good way to show how graphical widget design should follow the principles similar to the good design of everyday things.

Major sources used to prepare lecture material