Interviews with children.


The recent New York Magazine article, "The Uninhabitable Earth," was the most-read article in the magazine's history. The article presents the scientifically projected fate of our planet due to climate change, organized by its impact: on water, on air, on the weather, on the economy, on war, and on other facets of life on Earth. Your challenge is to iteratively design, prototype, and test a device for college students. This device:
(1) makes college students aware of climate's impact on one or more aspects of life on our planet; and/or (2) helps remedy these impacts.

older participants

Surveys with older adults.


1. Mindmapping
2. Storyboards
3. Sketching (Automatic Sketching) 4. Co-Design (aka Participant Des.)
5. Moodboards
6. Collage
7. Analogy and Metaphor
8. Morphological Chart


1. Personas, Scenarios, GIFs
2. Observations
3. Interviews
4. Surveys (aka Questionnaires)
5. Cultural Probes
6. Cognitive Walkthroughs
7. Usability Studies (Heuristic Eval.)
8. Delphi Methods
9. Analytics


girl co-designer

Co-design with young child.


Earlier prototype

User study with younger child.

Fabricating a prototype in shop.


User study with tweens.


Heuristic evaluation task.


two completing sheets

Survey with tweens.




Co-design at the hospital.

Human-Centered Design Methods
Keith Evan Green, RA, PhD
TA: Yixiao Wang

11:40 - 12:55 in MVR 157

C O U R S E   D E S C R I P T I O N   |   D E A   2 7 3 0
Focused on methods for designing for and with people in an increasingly cyber-physical world, with its many challenges and opportunities. Course topics include: design ideation, personas, scenarios, “WoZ,” rapid prototyping, collaborative design, observations, interviews, surveys, heuristic evaluation, usability engineering, and “RtD.” While the methods considered apply to design broadly, Interaction Design, User Experience Design, and HCI are emphasized.

S Y L L A B U S    |    S E E   A L S O   M Y   D E A   4 2 1 0

B A C K G R O U N D    A N D   D E F I N I T I O N S
(Listen to "The Power of Design" and "Are the Best Designers Rebels?" on the TED RADIO HOUR)

In the act of designing artifacts (e.g. objects, buildings, book covers, …), a designer or design team typically anticipates how people will engage (use, interpret) them. In designing interactive artifacts (those that may be virtual, smart, intelligent, cyber-physical), there is a fundamental difference: designers are developing responsive systems that actively engage and interact with inhabitants, local conditions, and/or digital information in real time. Unlike a typical, designed object that exhibits a limited range of responses to dynamic, changing conditions, an interactive artifact is intimately bound together with its users and local conditions in a designed performance.

“Interaction designers” are designers who design not only things but also the interaction of things and the people who use them. Consequently, interaction designers must go beyond simplistic, form-making and composition; interaction designers must explore ways for improving life, enhancing existing places, and supporting the interaction of human beings with their physical (and digital) surroundings.

Interaction Designers combine design, technology, and an attentiveness to human needs and desires to make cyber-physical ecosystems supporting human activity.  Specifically, “Human Centered Design Methods” focuses on the iterative, human centered, design-research process of developing meticulously designed, computationally-embedded, artifacts that support and enhance the interactions across people and their surroundings to create places of social and psychological significance. The gradual embedding of computation in designed artifacts will have a broad impact on society as these technologies support and, in some cases, augment everyday work, school, entertainment, and leisure. In brief, Interaction Design is more than an aesthetic search, a stylistic possibility, a utopian dream, or a technological quest; it is, instead, a way of designing a “commodious home” for established and new patterns of living. In the words of philosopher Andrew Feenberg, “technology,” in this context, “is not simply a means but has become an environment, a way of life.”

O B J E C T I V E S    A N D   L E A R N I N G    O U T C O M E S
“Human Centered Design Methods” aims to cultivate new vocabularies of design and new, complex realms of understanding towards realizing artifacts and systems responsive to human needs and desires. By the completion of this course, student will:
cultivate an understanding of how human-centric design methodologies can be applied in the iterative process of designing artifacts supporting and augmenting human users.
demonstrate an ability to develop and test conceptual design prototypes responsive to the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly digital society.
communicate a design process in a rigorous written paper, poster, design diary, and video, adhering to the requirements for submission to the benchmark conference for human-centered, interaction design research: CHI, “Late Breaking Work” submission, and the “Video Showcase” submission,

R E Q U I R E D   R E A D I N G S
Interaction Design (the textbook for this class)
 > before class skim-read the assigned textbook chapter(s).
 > in class listen/take notes to learn what is emphasized in the chapters.
 > after class re-read chapter(s) for detail, now that you know the emphasis.
• Green, Keith Evan. Architectural Robotics (a suggested book for this class)
• Dow, S. Wizard of Oz Interfaces [WOz]
• Frayling, C. Research in Art and Design [RtD]
• Ishii, H. Tangilbe Bits
• Ishii, H. Radical Atoms: Beyond Tangible Bits...
• Mau, Bruce. An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth
• Mitchell, W., J. "Software" and Computers for Living in" in e-topia
• Perec, G. Observational "Experiments" in Species of Spaces and Other Pieces
Zimmerman, J., Forlizzi, J. and Evenson, J. Research through Design [RtD]

 > a useful online resource:

P R O T O T Y P E   M A T E R I A L S
In this class you will be prototyping iteratively. You will need to purchase the materials required to construct your prototype (some materials, and most manual and digital fabrication tools are available in our Digital Design Fabrication Studio on LL2 in HEB adjoining MVR. To quickly create working, interactive prototypes, you are strongly encouraged to use littleBits (, a kit of electronic parts that snap together magnetically. A TED Talk for LittleBits can be found at or directly from

The following videos present case studies of interaction designers using littleBits:
Incredible Machines, a Brooklyn-based collective of designers, technologists and makers.
Havas.“Interactive installations in minutes”

These manuals might help you get started with littleBits:
All general manuals compiled
CloudBit manual

Finally, you might find project inspiration and ideas from Make (link).

M A K I N G   C O L L A G E S
One way to make Collages by Melissa from my studio-lab course
Examples - Archigram collages 1, 2

M A K I N G   A N I M A T E D   G I F S
PBS video on Animated GIFs
One way to make stop-motion videos (This one, using Photoshop)
Example from Dassault Systemes: "The Meeting"
Examples from my students: Lyndsey, Michael + Melissa, Jim + Lyndsey
Example from my lab: a quick study for an interactive patient room

V I D E O   E X A M P L E S
Marble Answering Machine (Bishop, 1995) (WOz example)
musicBottles (Hiroshi Isshi, Tangible Media Lab, MIT.
Example from my students: haptic desk interface for autism
Examples from my lab: ART: AWE; CyberPLAYce
; home+; Helping Hand

G U I D E S :  I R B   A N D  C O N S E N T   F O R M S
IRB application from my lab
IRB approved protocol from my lab
Parental Permission (Consent) Form example from my lab

M Y   L A B ' S  P A P E R S   E M P L O Y I N G   H C D   M E T H O D S
Survey (for children) with Smileyometers from my lab
Survey (for adults) with two different kinds of Likert scalesUsing suveys, task analysis, design guidelines: AWE from IE
Using co-design with kids: CyberPLAYce from IDC and LIT KIT from DIS
Design research, full arc: AWE from Jrnl. Personal & Ubi. Comp.
Design research, full arc: ART from CHI

C H I   L B W   P A P E R   E X A M P L E S
ReWear from University of Maryland College Park (Best One!)
Smart Kitchen from National U. of Taiwan
Measuring Product Happiness from TU Delft
Energy Monsters from Northwestern U.

A C M   P O S T E R   E X A M P L E S
LIT KIT and AWE from my ownlab
Qora Smart Glove from Emily Carr U.
Personal Inventories from HCI+D at Indiana U.
Augmenting Bag-of-Words from Georgia Tech

08.22 | 01 Course Organization and Definitions 
> READ: (in class, if time allows) Mau, B. "An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth"
> IN CLASS: form teams of three
08.24 | 02 Intro to IxD Research / Data Gathering for User Requirements
> READ: Ch.s 9&10 to p.370; NY Mag; A D. Cyc; B Prob Def.; D Requir.s; G Mind Map
> IN CLASS: define the problem (incl.needs & requirements); generate a Mind Map
08.29 | 03 Interfaces – Defined, Types, and Cases / The Literature Review  
> READ: Ch. 6; C Lit Review;; Mitchell ; Iishi-1; Iishi-2; explore the different littleBits
> IN CLASS: prepare a lit review; iterate you Mind Map; think "littleBits"
08.31 | 04 Ideation and Prototyping (part 1)
> READ: Ch. 11; E Collage; U Ix Prototyping; Dow, S. WoZ; review "Collage" above
> IN CLASS: ideate with the strategies above and littleBits
09.05 | 05 Ideation and Prototyping (part 2)
> READ: F Analogy & Metaphor; H Morphological Chart (more)
> IN CLASS: ideate with the strategies above and littleBits
09.07 | 06 Ideation and Prototyping (part 3)
> READ: I Scamper; J Storyboard (more)
> IN CLASS: ideate with the strategy above, reflect, and prepare a Storyboard
09.12 | 07 Personas, Scenarios, Role Playing, and Task Analysis
> READ: Ch. 10, pp.370-384; K Scenario (more); L Role Playing
> IN CLASS: reflect, write a scenario, and play the roles
09.14 | 08 Interaction Design in Practice (including IRB and Agile UX)
> READ: Ch. 12; review U Ix Prototyping; Dow, S. WoZ; review Animated GIFs above
> IN CLASS: analyze, reflect, and iterate your prototype; develop an animated GIF
09.19 | 09 Data Gathering: Overview, Observation, Ethnography, Triangulation
> READ: Ch. 7; N Observations; Perec, G. Observational "Exp.s"
> IN CLASS: observe, analyze, reflect, and iterate your prototype
09.21 | 10 Data Gathering: Interviews [Presentation of Midterm reqts: 0 pts]
> READ: O Interviews; Q Focus Groups
> IN CLASS: interview; generate your money shot (ex.s 1, 2, 3 and 4)
09.26 | 11 Data Gathering: Surveys [Presentation of Midterm reqts: 0 pts]
> READ: P Surveys; Online survey (example); Review survey examples above.
> IN CLASS: survey, analyze, reflect, and iterate your prototype
09.28 | 12 Data Gathering: Cultural Probes
> READ: Ch. 10 p. 361-362; R Cultural Probes; Cultural Probes
> IN CLASS: develop and implement a cultural probe 
10.03 | 13 Design and Cognition; Design for Emotion [QUIZ-1: 10 pts]
> READ: Ch. 3 & 5; S Design for Emotion; T Emotion Measurement
> IN CLASS: measure emotion, analyze, reflect, and iterate
10.05 | 14 Structuring Design-Research Posters, Papers, and Videos
> READ: V Videos; Paper Template; review poster/paper/video examples above
> IN CLASS: assign team members to poster, paper, video, design diary; organize!
10.10 | [F A L L   B R E A K]
> READ: (something fun)
> IN CLASS: (none) 
10.12 | 15 [No lecture] [Midterm Presentation: 20 pts]
10.17 | 16
[No lecture] [Midterm Presentation: 20 pts]
10.19 | 17 Evaluations: Heuristic Evaluations, including Cognitive Walkthroughs
> READ: Ch.s 13,14 & 15 p. 512-514
> IN CLASS: perform Cognitive Walkthroughs, analyze, reflect, and iterate
10.24 | 18 Workshop to Advance Your Paper, Poster and Video
10.26 | 19 Evaluations: Usability Studies
> READ: Ch.s 15 to p. 511, M Heuristic Eval., (Nielsen's Heuristics), SUS/PSSUQ
> IN CLASS: perform a Usability Study, analyze, reflect, and iterate
10.31 | 20 Workshop to Advance Your Paper, Poster and Video
11.02 | 21 Evaluations: Delphi Method and Quasi-Experiment Studies
> READ: The Delphi Method
> IN CLASS: perform a Delphi Method study, analyze, reflect, and iterate
11.07 | 22 Workshop to Advance Your Paper, Poster and Video
11.09 | 23 Evaluations: Analytics, Crowd Sourcing, Using Models [QUIZ-2: 10 pts]
> READ: Ch.s 15 p. 514-521
> IN CLASS: perform a study with Amazon Mechanical Turk, analyze, and iterate
11.14 | 24 Workshop to Advance Your Paper, Poster and Video [PAPER DRAFT]
11.16 | 25 Presenting Design: Research through Design & Public Speaking
> READ: RtD; Frayling Research; Zimmerman/Forlizzi RtD; S. Jobs; Sheryl Sandberg
> IN CLASS: edit your paper following from RtD; prepare your presenting  
11.21 | 26 Workshop to Advance Your Paper, Poster and Video [IRB DUE] 
11.23 | [T H A N K S G I V I N G]
11.28 | 27 Class Presentations, Demos, and Exhibit
11.30 | 28 Class Presentations, Demos, and Exhibit [FINAL WORK DUE: 40 pts]

Throughout this course—an intimate and intensive “conversation” across students, professor, and TA— students will have ample opportunity to receive feedback on their work. In addition, students within teams will grade each other, student teams will grade other student teams, and student grading will be considered in assigning grades for this course. Students will receive a grade in response to work, weighted as follows:

(10 points) Attendance and participation in class discussions, reviews, and activities. This is based on occasional, unannounced attendance calls at the start of class, by the quality of your input when your name is blindly selected from my “magic box,” a box holding the names of all enrolled students in this course; and by peer-reviewing by paper review evaluation form in response to in-class presentations.

(10 points) Completion of Cornell IRB’s CITI training for new human participant researchers. Email Cornell’s completion certificate to the TA before Thanksgiving break. Failure to complete or late notice results in 0% grade for this component of the course.

(20 points) 2 quizzes (True/False and multiple choice). Each quiz is worth 10 points of the total grade, testing basic content of assigned readings. (Download publisher’s powerpoint slides if you wish; I do not provide my slides).

(20 points) Mid-term deliverables, also presented in class. For each team, on one thumb drive: one manifestation of each of the 9 ideation strategies, a persona, a scenario, a "money shot" (best image) of your prototype, and a "demo" of your design captured by video. Four students will work together as a team and receive the same grade. See the course's peer-review evaluation form [link].

(40 points) Final course deliverables, also presented in class. For each team, on one thumb drive and printed: a paper, poster, design diary, and video, including their documentation. Four students will work together as a team; however, each member of the team will be chielfy responsible for one of the four key deliverables, and will be graded for this component. (Students will make this assignment clear to the instructor for the purpose of grading.) See the course's grading rubric [link].

More about the four deliverables for this course:
(1) a written, printed paper communicating the iterative, human-centered design process for an interactive artifact developed in-groups of three;
(2) a printed poster communicating the basic content of the same paper;
(3) a printed design diary containing [a] weekly photographs of your team's developing porotype, with a written description of what was learned from the research study (or studies) performed that week that informed its development (this is a one page document); [b] the final prototype carefully photographed (including a “the money shot” and a photo of the prototype in which all components of the prototype are labeled;
(4) a video communicating the full, cohesive story of the designed artifact your team produced, answering why, for whom, and how it was developed, including an overview of the methods used to design and evaluate it. The animated GIF assigned early in the term is part of this video deliverable.

This paper, poster, and video will follow, precisely, the directions ( and paper template for a “Late Breaking Work” to CHI, the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Grading is on a 40-point scale that follows the course's gradiing rubric. These notes link will also prove helpful in preparing your paper and poster. You are encouraged to learn from prior LBW (and WiP) efforts linked to the course webpage and found in the thousands in the ACM DL.  

To further guide the development of your paper, you are required to come to class having entered, into the “Extended Abstracts” paper format, your discussion and results (including any associated figures and tables) for that content/studies you accomplished in the previous week. At (often unannounced) class sessions, name(s) of one of more students will be blindly selected from the magic box to present this segment of the paper for class critique. These presentations will contribute to the selected students’ participation grade, and will help all members of the class to construct a better paper. As indicated in the weekly class schedule, all posters will be presented as drafts in class for critique.

The deadline for the printed paper, poster, design diary, and video, along with a thumb drive with your digital files for all these documents is the final class session. Digital files must include, for each team: (a) the paper in Word, (b) the poster, (c) the design diary, (d) the video URL or video file, and (e) supporting data-gathering documents, e.g. your survey, your interview questions,….

Attendance and participation are mandatory and count for 10% of the grade. For each absence, email the professor with an explanation for the absence, attaching supporting documentation (e.g. doctor’s note) if any. It is your education, so you should take responsibility for yourself in attending all class sessions.  

Late submissions will NOT be accepted, except with a doctor’s certificate or other proof of personal crisis or hardship. Failure to submit the printed documents and digital files will reduce your mid-term or final assignment grade 10 points.

Grading for this course is carefully determined by the professor and TA with thoughtful consideration of student grading of their peers. If you believe the grade for any component of this class including the final grade is incorrect, you may submit a written argument along with the component in question for reassessment. The written argument must reference a specific issue with the graded component of the course and must be thoroughly substantiated. The professor and TA will together consider the request, potentially with the assistance of other faculty with expertise in the area. The reassessment will result in any of the following outcomes: no change of grade, a change of grade for the better, a change of grade for the worse. Be warned: reassessment cases are too frequently cases in which a component (e.g. the paper, poster, or design diary) falls well short of the high expectations for the course such that the grade is changed for the worse! You understand that the grade for work submitted for reassessment may result in a grade lower than originally assigned.

To prepare the required paper and poster (and optional video) for this course, enrolled students will conduct peer-to-peer participant studies using their peers, enrolled in the same course, as participants. These studies will use the methods considered in this course, including: interviews, observations, surveys, co-design activity, heuristic evaluations, and cognitive walkthroughs. As part of this design research activity, students conducting these studies may take written notes, photographs, and/or video as a means of documentation. This documentation may be reproduced in the papers and posters for submission to CHI or a like conference, and may be presented at the conference. Student-participants will not be identified by name in such submissions/presentations, and no aspect of these studies should cause discomfort or risk to participants; nevertheless, should any student in the class choose not to participate in any aspect of the study, or have questions about her/his participation, please make this known to the instructor prior to the start of such study. Additionally, for any work of the course submitted for publication, student authors will be identified as first authors of the submission, and the instructor and any TA will follow in the list of authors of such work in recognition of their efforts in cultivating this work. If these term are not acceptable to you, please indicate so to the instructor. Non-participation will not impact your grade for this course in any way.

J O I N   S I G C H I   A N D   D R N
Students are encouraged to join email postings (aka listservs) for ACM SIGCHI ANNOUNCEMENTS and DESIGN RESEARCH NEWS (both of these for design opportunities) and also ACM SIGCHI JOBS (in design). Students are also encouraged to become a student member of SIGCHI which brings you a 1-year subscription to interactions magazine [print] and discounts on ACM conferences. Directions for joining all of these.