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CS 160 is an introduction to Human Computer Interaction (HCI). You will learn to prototype, evaluate, and design a user interface. You will be expected to work within a group of four or five students in this project-based course. The project topic will be proposed by your group, and your implementation will be tailored to your users’ needs based on interviews with them.

In contrast to most of the other CS classes at Berkeley, CS160 does not focus on particular algorithmic techniques or computer technologies. Instead, you will make use of technology to develop your applications, and you will acquire some expertise in the development environment you choose. The focus of the course is on developing a broad set of skills needed for user-centered design. These skills include ideation, needs assessment, communication, rapid prototyping, algorithmic implementation and evaluation.

Project Theme: This semester, projects should be targeted towards games with a purpose. These are games that entertain the player but also have positive societal impact. Games with a purpose can benefit the player directly, such as health games (e.g. WiiFit, Playful Toothbrush) and educational games (e.g. Stop Disasters). They can also benefit society or science; for example, Gwap contains games in which the players provide training data to aid automated tagging, among other objectives.



  • Signup for final project presentation time (takes place May 4th in 635 Soda Hall) below.
9:00-9:15 -- Group G
9:20-9:35 -- HCiiight
9:40-9:55 -- TGTGSH
10:00-10:15 -- Interface Galactica
10:20-10:35 -- 31337
10:40-10:55 -- NGRS
11:00-11:15 -- That's What She Said
11:20-11:35 -- WAAM!
11:40-11:55 -- B Pour G
1:00-1:15 -- PALS
1:20-1:35 -- Epicware
1:40-1:55 -- Group O
2:00-2:15 -- OverDos
2:20-2:35 -- CalUI
2:40-2:55 -- Clyk


Jan 21: Introduction [ Readings | Slides]

Assignments (due before class on Jan 26): Create a Wiki Account, Course Petition, Play and Analyze a Game

Jan 26: The Design Cycle and Brainstorming [ Readings | Slides ]

Due: Create a Wiki Account, Course Petition, Play and Analyze a Game
Assignment (due before class on Feb 2): Individual Project Proposal

Jan 28: Game Structure [ Readings | Slides]

Feb 2: Sketching and Storyboarding [ Readings | Slides]

Due (before class): Individual Project Proposal
Assignment (due before class on Feb 9): Group Brainstorm
Assignment (due before class on Feb 9): Design Assignment: Photocopier

Feb 4: In Class Group Brainstorming (Wozniak Lounge) [ Readings | No Slides]

Feb 9: Task Analysis and Contextual Inquiry [ Readings | Slides]

Due (before class): Group Brainstorm
Due (before class): Design Assignment: Photocopier
Assignment (due before class on Feb 18): Design Assignment: Cell Phone Music Player
Assignment (due before class on Feb 18): Contextual Inquiry and Task Analysis

Feb 11: Conceptual Models [ Readings | Slides]

Feb 16: President's Day - No Class

Feb 18: Conceptual Models II [ Readings | Slides]

Due (before class): Design Assignment: Cell Phone Music Player
Due (before class): Contextual Inquiry and Task Analysis
Assignment (due before class on Mar 2): Individual Coding Project

Feb 23: Model View Controller and Event Driven UI in Flash/Flex [ Readings | Slides]

Feb 25: Low-Fidelity Prototyping [ Readings | Slides]

Assignment (due before class on Mar 16): Low-Fidelity Prototype

Mar 2: Human Information Processing (Perception) [ Readings | Slides]

Mar 4: Human Information Processing (KLM, GOMS, Fitts' Law) [ Readings | Slides]

Due (before class): Individual Coding Project

Mar 9: Qualitative Evaluation [ Readings | Slides]

Mar 11: Quantitative Evaluation [ Readings | Slides]

Mar 16: Midterm Review [No Readings | Slides]

Due (before class): Low-Fidelity Prototype
Assignment (due on Apr 13): Interactive Prototype

Mar 18: Midterm Exam

Mar 23: Spring Break - No Class

Mar 25: Spring Break - No Class

Mar 30: Graphic Design and Gestalt Principles [ Readings | Slides]

Apr 1: Visual Information Design [ Readings | Slides]

Apr 6: Data Visualization: Best Practices for Design: Guest lecturer Stephen Few [ No Readings | Slides ]

Assignment (due before class on Apr 13): Team Assessment
Assignment (due before class on Apr 20): Pilot Usability Study

Apr 8: User-Centered, User-Experience Design of User Interfaces for Work, Play, and On the Way: A 40-Year Perspective: Guest lecturer Aaron Marcus [ Readings ]

Apr 13: Interactive Prototype Presentations I

Due (before class): Interactive Prototype

Apr 15: Interactive Prototype Presentations II

Apr 20: Interactive Prototype Presentations III

Due (before class): Pilot Usability Study
Due (before class): Team Assessment
Assignment (due before class on May 4): Final Presentation and Report

Apr 22: Designing Help, Program Flow, and the Web [ Readings | Slides]

Apr 27: Historical Perspective [ Readings | Slides]

Apr 29: Current Directions in HCI I [ Readings | Slides]

May 4: Final Project Presentations

Due (at 9am online): Final Presentation and Report
Assignment (due before class on May 11): Final Team Assessment

May 6: Poster Session (Wozniak Lounge, 10-11:30)

May 11: Current Directions in HCI II [ Slides]

May 13: Final Team Assessment due




Email (for all class related issues): cs160(at)

  • Please avoid emailing the Instructors or the GSI directly. You will receive a response much faster if you use the email address above.
  • You may also choose to email us anonymously.


  • Lectures: 306 Soda Hall MW 9:00-10:30am
  • Discussion Sections: W 1:00-2:00pm 61 Evans, W 2:00-3:00pm 61 Evans, Th 1:00-2:00pm 320 Soda

Office Hours:

  • Maneesh: 635 Soda Hall, T 1:00-3:00pm
  • Jeff: 751 Soda Hall, MW 11:00am-12:00pm (check 635 Soda if Jeff is not in 751) no office hours 4/15
  • Nick: 283E Soda Hall, F 1:30pm-3:30pm

Textbook: There is no required textbook for this class. There will be readings assigned for each lecture. The readings will be available online through this wiki. If you are interested in reading further take a look at the recommended reading list.


CS160 is an upper division course, and one of few where you will work extensively on one significant programming project. To participate fully in this course, you are required to have taken CS61B. We will assume that you are familiar with either Java or C++ and are comfortable coding a large-scale project.

You will be expected to actively participate in lectures, complete readings ahead of time, complete a number of small design assignments, and, most importantly, participate fully in your group project. The teaching staff will promptly return graded homework to you, and will be available to provide feedback and help with problems.

Note that the majority of the work in this course is conducted in the form of a semester-long group project. Unlike other courses, dropping the course before the end of the semester has negative consequences for your other group members. So once you have joined a group please make sure you are committed to staying in the course.

  • You are expected to read the assigned readings and post 1 substantive comment to the discussion on this wiki about the readings before class. Late comments on the wiki will NOT be accepted. There will be plenty of opportunities in class to apply that knowledge and in-class participation will be part of your grade. More on the class participation component can be found here.
  • There will be two types of assignments: design assignments and project assignments. Design assignments will be individual exercises that are primarily about design, while project assignments will be mostly group assignments related to the final project.
  • You will be expected to turn in written documentation at each stage of your project. You will also turn in working code. Each group member will help to give an oral presentation about your project.
  • There will be a midterm exam.
  • Most assignments will be turned in through this class wiki. Most project assignments will be due before the start of the lecture during which they are due. Design assignments will be due at the beginning of the week.
  • Project assignments may not be turned in late. Design assignments will lose 33% per day they are late.
  • Each group is responsible for making sure that all members are participating. As part of the project reports, you be required to describe the effort put in by each member, both on specific tasks and as a fraction of the group’s effort. Make sure you discuss this regularly, to make sure your group is in agreement about the work breakdown.
  • If a group member is not participating, the entire group must meet with the teaching staff. Effective group work (which entails some amount of conflict resolution) is a key skill for success in industry. We would like you to work through conflicts if at all possible, and we will devote some class time to this topic.
  • If you have a question about a grade, you should meet with the GSI. You can come to the professor if the issue cannot be resolved with the GSI's help.
  • Cheating will not be tolerated, and will get you an F in the class.


Late Policy: Group project assignments may not be turned in late. Individual project and design assignments will lose 33% per 24 hours they are late. If you turn in an assignment late on the wiki, please send an e-mail to the class e-mail address (cs160(at) so that we know to grade it.

Regrading Policy: If you want an assignment regraded, you must provide your assignment and a written description of why you believe the grade was unsatisfactory within two weeks of reception of the grade. We will then regrade the entire assignment; this means that your grade may potentially drop.

Section Attendance: Section attendance is mandatory and is considered in the class participation grade. However, you are allowed to miss up to two sections; this is to accommodate both planned and unplanned absences.

Note: This is largely a design class. Unlike most other CS classes there is not always a single "correct" design soution. Usually there are many possible designs with different advantages and disadvantages. In this class you will learn to both design new interfaces and evaluate the pros and cons of the interfaces you design. As you complete the assignments for this class you should try to point out both the pros and the cons of the interfaces and applications you design.

Design is typically evaluated in a qualitative manner. As a result a significant portion of the grading in this class will be qualitative, including assessments of the end user experience of the system and the quality of your designs, evaluations, and prototypes.


The majority of the homework in this class will be oriented around the project. Many of these homework assignments will be done in with your project group, but some assignments (or parts of assignments) must be completed individually. We provide a rough schedule of the assignments here (the schedule may change over the course of the semester and we may choose to add or drop assignments).

How to use and edit this wiki

New to wikis? Read the Wiki editing guide.

To contribute to this wiki, you'll need to first create an account. Please use your full name as your user name as in this example. Afterwards, please add some descriptive information about yourself on your personal page -- click your login name (next to the person icon) at the top of the page to access your personal page.

To facilitate discussion we have created the [add comment] button that appears at the bottom of each page. Clicking on the button will allow you to add a comments, ideas or question to the current page. The comments will include your user name and the date in the section heading. Try adding a comment to the discussion page for a lecture.


This lectures, format and syllabus of this class are based on HCI classes taught by Ben Bederson, John Canny, Francois Guimbretiere, Marti Hearst and James Landay. These authors have kindly provided access to their lecture slides and my own slides borrow from their earlier work.

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