MSCI 343 Human-Computer Interaction

MSCI 343 is a popular technical elective and, for incoming students, a core course in the Management Engineering program. Students learn sev​eral topics related to human-computer interaction and gain hands-on skills in interaction design.

What is Human-Computer Interaction?

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is a discipline concerned with the design, implementation, and evaluation of interactive computing systems. This can involve anything from a typical mobile app to voice interaction and augmented reality. The common thread is that a human is involved, and that the system is designed for human needs and capabilities.

HCI includes topics like:

  • cognitive processes (visual perception, memory, attention)
  • information visualization
  • computer-support collaborative work
  • voice interaction
  • physical interfaces (haptics and tangible interfaces)
  • virtual and augmented reality

What is Interaction Design?

Students in MSCI 343 gain hands-on skills in interaction design, the design of interactive products to support the way people communicate and interact in their everyday and working lives. Students learn how to gather tasks, personas, and requirements from real-users (user-centered design) and develop a set of skills to brainstorm and design possible solutions to real problems. Students also learn how to evaluate their designs using usability testing and build effective prototypes to communicate, refine, and evaluate their ideas.

The process of interaction design

HCI Jobs

Graduates with skills in HCI often find themselves in diverse technical engineering, design, and management roles. Combined with other management engineering skills like software engineering and data analysis, graduates often find these jobs:

  • User Experience (UX) Designer
  • User Researcher
  • Software Developer, especially Front-End Developer
  • Data Scientist, Data Analyst, or Data Journalist
  • Project Manager

HCI Projects

Students conduct a series of assignments that bring them through the entire process of interaction design, from gathering user requirements and initial design process to prototyping and evaluation. Examples of projects range from novel apps for the shared economy to smart home appliances that help people get started in the morning.