CS 371, Human Computer Interaction, will focus on the methods in which we can communicate often complex technical concepts to people in an intuitive and non-intimidating manner, while being able to interpret input from people from a human-centric perspective. This is essentially a communication class.

Why do I care?

Software that is not useable is not generally useful. In other words, if the intended user cannot use the system as it is intended, all the functionality that is contained therein is essentially useless. Think of all the wasted work and unrealized potential!

The purpose of HCI is to help us unlock the potential within computer programs by facilitating a mutually beneficial information interchange between computer programs and the humans they serve.


By the end of the semester, each student will have a firm grounding in the principles of usability and know how to create an effective user interface. Each student will be able to:


The text for the course is: Helfrich, J (2014) User Interface Evaluation & Design,. You can get a copy at the University Bookstore and download a PDF copy to your computer.


This class will follow the development lifecycle of a single user interface (UI) intensive project of the student's choice. During this process, we will:

  1. Identify a target user.
  2. Build a scenario in which this user will interact with the product.
  3. Identify the success criteria for the design.
  4. Create a prototype of the design.
  5. Develop a functional specification.
  6. Build the project into a workable project.
  7. Conduct a usability study with people from the target audience.
  8. Redesign and rebuild the project to account for findings of the study.


The policies of the class are the following:


BYU-Idaho is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by BYU-Idaho Disability Services. If you need assistance or feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established policy and procedures.

If you have any disability that may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact Disability Services as soon as possible, preferably before the beginning of the semester, in order to insure that you receive appropriate accommodations.

Disability Services Contact Information:


BYU-Idaho prohibits sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. Prohibited sex discrimination includes incidents of sexual harassment (including sexual violence), dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking (collectively “sexual misconduct”).

As an instructor, one of my responsibilities is to help create a safe learning environment for my students and for the campus as a whole. University policy requires that I report all incidents of sexual misconduct that come to my attention. If you encounter sexual misconduct, please contact the Title IX Coordinator at or 208-496-9209. Additional information about sexual misconduct and available resources can be found at


Grading will be in four parts: preparation quiz, unit tests, project, and final exam.

The preparation activity will be a reading quiz associated with each topic. There will be two such topics per week. The quiz will be on I-Learn and you may take it as many times as you like. If you have completed the reading, the quiz should be easy.

There will be a unit test at the end of every unit (six in all). Online students will take this test as a timed quiz. Face-to-face students will take this test the first 15 minutes of class immediately following the completion of a unit. This will be a timed test; you will have to work quickly to complete this test. Example tests and rubrics are presented in the textbook at the end of each unit.

Each of the six units will have an associated project where you apply what you learned to a usability problem of your choosing. You will work on the same problem throughout the semester.

The last day of class, we will have a final exam. The best way to look at this test is as the six unit tests back-to-back.

Criteria Weight
Preparation Quiz before each topic 10%
Unit Tests after each unit is completed 15%
Project after each unit is completed 60%
Final Exam the last day of class 15%