CN15 - A Practical Approach to Interactive System Design

Michael E. Atwood, Drexel University
Thomas T. Hewett, Drexel University

In this 1-day course you will learn how to successfully design and improve useful and useable interactive systems by being able to answer the following questions.

  • What is cognitive task analysis? Why do I want it and how can I do it?
  • How do the users of the system think about their tasks and work they do?
  • How can I tell how useful and useable a system is now or how useful it can be?
  • How do I get started in designing a cognitively useful and useable system?
  • How can I determine what parts of a system should be changed and how to change them?
  • How can I communicate well with others on my design and development team?

This course was successfully offered at CHI 2002, CHI 2003, CHI 2004, and CHI 2005, and has been improved for CHI 2008.

Designing useful and useable systems is an iterative process involving three phases:

  • deciding what you need to do,
  • doing it, and
  • evaluating how well you did it.

You will learn techniques for applying these phases, as well as an appreciation of the science and the art underlying them.

This course is intended for anyone who is or who will be part of a team that designs and develops interactive systems to support complex human work or problem solving. The objectives of this course are to provide attendees with the skills needed to ask and answer questions about how the people who will use the system think about their tasks and their work.

Brief lectures, discussion, “minds on” and group exercises.

Instructor Backgrounds:
Mike Atwood is a Professor in Drexel University's College of Information Science and Technology. Previously, he worked in industry (NYNEX, Bell Atlantic) as a manager of several research and development groups that successfully used the development of useful and useable systems as the basis for research programs. Tom Hewett is Professor of Psychology and Computer Science at Drexel University where he teaches courses on Cognitive Psychology, the Psychology of Human Computer Interaction, and on Problem Solving and Creativity. For many years, both offered successful courses at CHI and other conferences.