COMS W4170 will provide a general introduction to the theory and practice of user interface design. The fundamental question that we will try to answer is, “How can we create high-quality user interfaces?” Our emphasis will be on the design of 2D graphical user interfaces. We will survey the basic technologies available and the techniques that have been developed for (or have given rise to) them, and will study several important paradigms for how these techniques can be woven into a coherent dialogue. This will provide a framework within which we can analyze existing user interfaces and design new ones.
Grading will be based on written assignments (12%, 15%, 15%), a final exam (24%), a final project (30%), and class participation (4%). Although this is not primarily a “programming class,” programming will be required, with an emphasis on design and analysis. To get an idea of the kind of work that we will do, you can see representative screenshots and descriptions of the final projects for Fall 2014 (coming soon), Fall 2013, Fall 2012, Fall 2010, Fall 2009, Fall 2008, Fall 2007, Fall 2006, and Spring 2006.
The course prerequisite is COMS W313X (Data Structures [and Algorithms]) or equivalent. No previous academic experience with either user interface design or graphics is assumed. However, you are expected to be comfortable with computers and object-oriented programming.
Sarah Green (stg2117 [AT] columbia [DOT] edu) is a senior in Columbia College studying Computer Science and Business Management. Her CS interests include HCI, natural language processing, and front-end development. She spent this past summer as an intern at Lithium Technologies in San Francisco, working on a project combining product management and UI/UX design. She is broadly interested in how design, business, and engineering interact in the software development lifecycle. She has designed and programmed for a variety of mobile devices as well as the web. Her office hours will be held on Tuesdays 2:30–4:30pm in the TA/CA Help Room.
Shloka Kini (srk2169 [AT] columbia [DOT] edu) is a second-year dual-degree MS student in Computer Science and Journalism. She earned her BA degree in Computer Science from Dartmouth College. Her CS interests include graphics (particularly animation), HCI, AI, digital humanities, educational technology, and work to promote women in computing. Her journalism interests lie in multimedia storytelling, media production, public speaking, and performing arts. She spent this past summer working at Buzzfeed, and hopes to work in the media/tech industry after graduation. She has programmed for many UI devices and platforms, including Android smartphones, Microsoft Kinect, and web. She will hold office hours Monday 2–4pm in the TA/CA Help Room.
Mei-Vern Then (mt2837 [AT] columbia [DOT] edu) is a senior in Columbia College majoring in Computer Science with a concentration in Business. Her CS interests include natural language processing, data science, and work to promote women in computing (check out the CU WiCS group!). She spent last summer working at Goldman Sachs in their asset management tech team. She has also done research for Columbia's natural language processing speech lab. She will hold office hours Monday 4–6pm in the TA/CA Help Room.
Boyu Wang (bw2387 [AT] columbia [DOT] edu) is a senior in SEAS majoring in Computer Science. Her interests include game development, computer graphics, embedded programming, and Internet culture. She has designed user interfaces for web, data visualization, 3D scenes, and games. She has also done research in using Arduinos for building occupancy forecasting. She will hold office hours Thursday 3–5pm in the TA/CA Help Room.
Additional reading material will be announced in the syllabus and in class.
Here are some places to learn about the software we will be using:
Course material will be found on the web through Courseworks, and the syllabus and assignments will be linked through http://www.cs.columbia.edu/graphics/courses/csw4170.
Anything turned in past the start of class until midnight the next day is one day late. Every (partial) day thereafter that an assignment is late, including weekends and holidays, counts as an additional late day.
Absolutely no late work will be accepted beyond that accounted for by your late days. If you're not done on time, please be sure to turn in whatever you have completed on time to receive partial credit. Now, please go back and read this section over again!