Q: I’m curious to see if we’ll learn about methods (not waterfall and agile) that are more effective for designers.
A: My view is that the iterative model (design, prototype, evaluate) is the most effective for designers. That’s the main method I like to teach because of its effectiveness. I also like to teach contextual design, which is (again in my opinion) the most effective toolset for designers.
Q: “I have questions about mental models. Are they created naturally or do we create them with how we design technology? I know we will be going over psychology next, which may answer my question.
A: There are several definitions of the term mental model. The most prevalent definition holds that they are created naturally but can be influenced. A related term, conceptual model is used by Don Norman to illustrate how we can influence them in a positive way.
Q: I would like to know more about accessibility guidelines and ethnographic research in the context of user research and design.
A: I have a series of accessibility slides on my website at
You can look at those for an intro. If you look at the syllabus, you’ll see we don’t explicitly address accessibility or ethnographic research! I consider those important areas and will lobby Jacek to make them standard in a future semester.
Ethnographic research is not used a lot in user research except in exotic fields like software intended to be used by physicians. For another class, I have some Youtube videos on ethnographic research because it is important in academic research on users (as opposed to industrial research). Those videos are at
They are not up to date with my thinking because I made them three years ago, but they will get you started.
Q: Even when there are valid proofs out there where the waterfall model is not an effective model, why are companies even today which are considered giants still follow the same model?
A: Money! Accountants rule many companies!
Q: How is HCI affected by AI?
A: Big question! It’s being affected in very many ways. I can hardly go to a talk on HCI without hearing ChatGPT being mentioned, for instance. I urge you to follow Hacker News discussions on AI, particularly large language models and image recognition, to begin to appreciate what’s going on right now that affects HCI. It really deserves its own course.
Q: We discussed in class today that a lot of companies in the industry today follow set rules/ guidelines when it comes to information architecture design and user interface design. My question is how can we, as HCI masters students push this envelope forward and innovate on these fronts? Or will the future of these areas of HCI continue to follow set industry trends?
A: You are the future! You will make the industry trends! You may not realize it yet, but recruiters and people hiring you for the first time are looking to you for the latest trends and freshest ideas. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of new blood to industry.
Q: How being a new to this HCI can I cope up with the preset and foundation clear in UX?
A: I don’t understand this question. Can you rephrase it at the end of today’s class (or even during class)?
Q: What are the best practices for student of HCI other than readings?
A: My personal opinion is that passion projects are the most important things that HCI students do. These are UX projects where you notice a gap or problem that interests you and design a solution. You describe it on your portfolio site and you tell friends and recruiters about it to get feedback and refine it.
I’ve received some excellent feedback from the TA, both things that you’ve said and things that previous HCI students have said
Few people signed up for in class presentations and those who did signed up for more than one. Let’s straighten this out right now.
Are you all in groups now? Are you satisfied with your groups? Let’s make sure you’re on track right now. (Vaishnavi will ask you to sit with your groups in the second part of the class.)
We can think about human capabilities from different perspectives. Can you think of others besides the list above?
What can you say about the previous list? For example, limits might include the limits of what a person can see or remember. The average might include what “most” people can see and remember, whatever “most” means. The state we are in might be bright sunlight or a loud nightclub or sitting in front of a computer in a dark room, all of which affect our limits temporarily.
The preceding list shows several common limits you might need to be aware of when designing digital artifacts. Miller (1956) found that people chunked items in short term memory into groups of seven, plus or minus two, as shown in the previous frame. That might suggest a limit for what you ask people to remember.
The common critique of Kahneman is that the experiments can’t be replicated, in particular much of the research on priming. For example, a blog post at replication index summarizes some of the critiques.
〈pause for Jacek’s slides〉
Readings last week included 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.
Readings this week include Johnson (2020): Ch 1–5
none due this week (but you could get a head start!)
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