Info & Interaction Design, Audience

Mick McQuaid



But first … Draw a face

  • Most of you didn’t need it
  • None of you submitted examples of good design!
  • Some needed better scans
  • Some need the exercises in Dodson (2006)
  • One person used the Objectives subsection instead of instructions (?!)

Crazy Eights

Annotated! And speedy!

Easy to understand at a glance

Pencil or not?


Academic Communities

  • Human Factors in Schools of Engineering
  • Human Computer Interaction in Schools of Computer Science & in iSchools
  • Management Information Systems in Schools of Business

Human Factors

  • People operating complex machines
    • automobiles
    • ships
    • planes
    • nuclear reactors
  • Reaction time
  • Situational awareness
  • Split-second decision making

Human Computer Interaction

  • Evolved from ideal user to communities
  • Started by cognitive psychologists
  • First home was in computer science

Management Information Systems

  • Adoption of technological innovation
  • Diffusion of technological innovation
  • Always in productive organization context
  • Concerned with management of technology

Epochs in Human Computer Interaction

  • The idealized individual
  • The casual individual
  • Workgroups
  • Ubiquitous Computing
  • Communities of Practice
  • Communities of Place

Industrial and Government Communities

You want me to deprioritize my current reports until you advise of a status upgrade?

Make these your primary action items.

— dialog from Fight Club, 1999

Suppliers of IT

Who are suppliers of IT today? How do you measure? Public awareness? Market Capitalization? What industry codes are applicable?

Customers of IT

This group can best be defined by students.

Historical perspective, revisited

  • idealized user
  • casual user
  • workgroup
  • groups in general
  • ambient computing

Idealized user

The idealized user was studied intensively by Herbert Simon and his associates at Carnegie-Mellon. They broke tasks into very small components and investigated the state of mind of users at every moment.

Nondiscretionary use

  • Labor was cheap
  • Machines were expensive
  • Therefore, make labor more efficient

Hierarchical collaboration

  • 1980s
  • Most HCI work funded by DoD
  • Collaborating in rigidly defined hierarchies

Workgroup cooperation

  • Partly a reaction to DoD-funded research
  • Partly a generalization
  • Workgroups without a rigid hierarchy

Discretionary computing

  • Games
  • Non-workplace activities
  • Driven by falling price of computers

Ubiquitous computing

  • Mark Weiser’s famous article coined the term
  • Raised awareness that cheap computers everywhere were the future
  • Principles:
    • The purpose of a computer is to help you do something else.
    • The best computer is a quiet, invisible servant.
    • The more you can do by intuition the smarter you are; the computer should extend your unconscious.
    • Technology should create calm.

Communities of Practice

  • E.g., radiologists adopting new technology
  • Requires extensive knowledge of each discipline

Communities of Life

Community development, such as preached by Saul Alinsky, precedes the HCI community’s interest.

Communities and infrastructure

  • housing
  • health care facilities
  • quality of air and water
  • postal and shipping services
  • roads
  • other transportation facilities
  • schools
  • utilities
  • waste removal
  • sewage
  • watershed maintenance

Community organizers

  • Work at a very small scale
  • Are rarely successful at bringing families out of poverty
  • Suffer from stovepiping

Upskilling as a community solution

  • Risks depleting the community of employment age individuals
  • Attracts industries that may not help the community

Communities of place and HCI

  • HCI history
  • HCI has made a conscious decision to try to make a difference to communities
  • High-profile HCI projects have struggled to make a difference to communities

Disability-specific design

UT-Austin is notable as a disability-friendly campus, according to

Approaches to disability-specific design

Shinohara, Bennett, and Wobbrock (2016) identified four different approaches to disability-specific design and listed some of the research in each approach, which I will repeat here:

  • universal design: Bigelow (2012), Mace, Hardie, and Place (1991)
  • user-sensitive inclusive design: Alan F. Newell and Gregor (2000), A. F. Newell et al. (2011)
  • design for user empowerment: Ladner (2015)
  • ability-based design: Wobbrock et al. (2011)

Other design approaches of note

  • value-sensitive design: Friedman (1996)
  • design for social acceptance: Shinohara (2012)

Popularization via bad design

Norman (2013) popularized the identification of bad design in its first edition in the eighties.

Flat design risks

Bad door

Bad and less bad door

Anti-ADA door

Bad dryer

Bad iPad

Bad iPad’s ancestor

Bad elevators

Hotel showers


Bigelow, Kimberly Edginton. 2012. “Designing for Success: Developing Engineers Who Consider Universal Design Principles.” Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability 25 (3).
Dodson, Bert. 2006. Keys to Drawing with Imagination. Cincinnati, OH: North Light.
Friedman, Batya. 1996. “Value-Sensitive Design.” Interactions 3 (6): 16–23.
Irani, Lilly, Janet Vertesi, Paul Dourish, Kavita Philip, and Rebecca E. Grinter. 2010. “Postcolonial Computing: A Lens on Design and Development.” In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1311–20. CHI ’10. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery.
Ladner, Richard E. 2015. “Design for User Empowerment.” Interactions 22 (2): 24–29.
Mace, Ronald L., Graeme J. Hardie, and Jaine P. Place. 1991. “Accessible Environments: Toward Universal Design.” In Design Interventions: Toward a More Humane Architecture, edited by W. E. Preiser, J. C. Vischer, and E. T. White. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Merritt, Samantha, and Shaowen Bardzell. 2011. “Postcolonial Language and Culture Theory for HCI4D.” In CHI ’11 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1675–80. CHI EA ’11. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery.
Newell, A. F., P. Gregor, M. Morgan, G. Pullin, and C. Macaulay. 2011. “User-Sensitive Inclusive Design.” Univers. Access Inf. Soc. 10 (3): 235–43.
Newell, Alan F., and Peter Gregor. 2000. “"User Sensitive Inclusive Design"—in Search of a New Paradigm.” In Proceedings on the 2000 Conference on Universal Usability, 39–44. CUU ’00. New York, NY, USA: ACM.
Norman, Donald A. 2013. The Design of Everyday Things. Basic Books.
Shinohara, Kristen. 2012. “A New Approach for the Design of Assistive Technologies: Design for Social Acceptance.” SIGACCESS Access. Comput., no. 102 (January): 45–48.
Shinohara, Kristen, Cynthia L. Bennett, and Jacob O. Wobbrock. 2016. “How Designing for People with and Without Disabilities Shapes Student Design Thinking.” In Proceedings of the 18th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, 229–37. ASSETS ’16. New York, NY, USA: ACM.
Weiser, Mark. 1991. “The Computer for the 21st Century.” Scientific American, 94–104.
Wobbrock, Jacob O., Shaun K. Kane, Krzysztof Z. Gajos, Susumu Harada, and Jon Froehlich. 2011. “Ability-Based Design: Concept, Principles and Examples.” ACM Trans. Access. Comput. 3 (3): 9:1–27.



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