CS 171: Human Computer Interaction (HCI)

Course Description

Introduction to human-computer interaction, or how computers communicate with people. Methodology for designing and testing user interfaces, interaction styles (command line, menus, graphical user interfaces, virtual reality), interaction techniques (including use of voice, gesture, eye movement), design guidelines, and user interface management software system. Students will design a small user interface, program a prototype, and test the result for usability.

Format: This class meets twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursday). Tuesdays are lecture days, and Thursdsays are studio days. On a studio day selected teams will present their assignment from the prior week. The class will give design and critical feedback. Each assignment is handed out on a Tuesday (after the lecture), and is due the following Tuesday before class. All assignments (with the exception of Assignment 1) will be done in groups. Note that there will be no late submissions. If there are special circumstances that prevent your team from submitting your assignment on time, you will need to contact the TA or the professor beforehand to receive permission.

Piazza: We'll be using Piazza for class discussions and Canvas for design critique and for submitting assignments.

COVID and Masking Policy: We will follow the university's masking policy strictly. Students (including those who are vacinnated) are required to wear a mask properly during (indoor) class. Failure to comply will result in: (1) the student being marked as disruptive, (2) the lecture ending immediately, and (3) the student being disenrolled from the course.


Studio Work
Final Presentation

There are 11 assignments in this class. Each assignment is worth 5% of your final grade. For assignment 1 you will work individually. All other assignments are done in a group (the same group throughout the semester).

Late Policy:
All the assignments due on the designated dates before class. Assignments that are turned in late will not receive credit. Because each of the assignments ties into the next, one late assignment will downstream effects. If you have an extraordinary circumstance, you must contact the instructor or the TA to obtain written approval.

Studio Work:
You will have studio work throughout the semester, including presentations of your work. We will announce the names of the teams when we hand out each assignment. Together, all of your studio work counts for 15% of your final grade.

You are required to maintain a website for your semester-long project. When you submit your assignment each week, you are also required to update your website with your new work. Updating your website for each of the assignments is worth 1% of your final grade.

In addition to your assignments, each team will be asked to give feedback to another team's work from the week before. As there are 10 assignments, each of your feedback will be worth 1% of your final grade.

Final Project:
You will be asked to present your project at the end of the semester. Your presentation of your final project is worth 10% of your final grade.


Tufts is committed to providing support services and reasonable accommodations to all students with documented disabilities. To request an accommodation, you must register with the Student Accessibility Services at the beginning of the semester.


Course lecture and material are based on the HCI course at Stanford by Professor James Landay.