Human Computer Interaction:

Mick McQuaid


Week ONE


Who am I?

Call me Mick. I am in my first year at UT-Austin, but have been a professor elsewhere since 2004. I do research, mainly in accessibility, and teach in HCI and data science. In my spare time I play the irish flute and do woodworking. I have a wonderful family including two adorable teenagers.

Who are you?

Let’s go around the room and have you introduce yourselves and say a bit about yourselves.

What are we doing?

We’re following the syllabus. If you look under week one, it says In class introductions. There is an In class item (or items) every week. There are also topic items, reading items, and assignment items.

Altogether it looks like this

Week 1 (12 Jan) Introduction — What is HCI / UX? — UX lifecycle — Read Hartson and Pyla (2019): Ch 1, 2, 4 — Read Norman (2013): Ch 1 — In class: introductions — Assignment: HCI background questions (not graded)

So you can see …

… that our schedule is packed!

There’s a lot of reading in this class, some writing, some presentation, and some use of typical UX tools.

What do we have to work with?

  • Syllabus
  • Canvas site
  • My personal website

So let’s look at each of those in turn …

Next, what is HCI / UX?

  • HCI has been a field of study since the early 1980s
  • UX is a term that is replacing HCI in the minds of many people who want to emphasize the context of the human computer interaction
  • Early HCI was promulgated mostly by cognitive psychologists, so we have to study a bit of cognitive psychology to understand where they were coming from
  • HCI is one of three similar disciplines in universities, the other two being Human Factors in engineering schools and MIS in business schools

More on what HCI is

  • Early HCI researchers were focused on the interface between a single idealized user and a desktop computer
  • Gradually, the words interface, single, idealized, and desktop got dropped as researchers began to consider workgroups of people, casual users, communities of users, computers with different form factors, and “invisible” computers that operate appliance, automobiles, and many of the machines we use. This transition was driven mostly by the plummeting costs of computers

UX lifecycle


Readings this week include Hartson and Pyla (2019): Ch 1, 2, 4 and Norman (2013): Ch 1. These are pretty serious readings and you need to carve out time to devote to them. In addition, the readings in future weeks have to be done before class, not after. We’re only saving these readings for after class because it’s the first week.


The only assignment this week is to do the HCI questionnaire. Please do it now.

Jacek’s slideshow

There are two instructors for this course. I want to make the course as similar as possible for the two groups taking it. Therefore, I’m going to go over Jacek’s slides on a weekly basis. 〈pause for Jacek’s slides〉


I don’t plan to go over the syllabus in detail in future lectures. I expect you to use it daily or weekly to stay up todate with the readings and assignments. If you’re not opening the syllabus every week, you’re in trouble.


Hartson, Rex, and Pardha Pyla. 2019. The UX Book, 2nd Edition. Cambridge, MA: Morgan Kaufman.
Norman, Donald A. 2013. The Design of Everyday Things, 2nd Edition. Basic Books.



This slideshow was produced using quarto

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