Human-Computer Interaction/Design

Human-computer interaction design (HCI/d) creates amazing possibilities, from massive-scale collaboration systems like Wikipedia to everyday innovations such as personal health tracking. But interactive systems also contribute to serious social problems, such as e-waste, privacy concerns, and unequal access.

In this track, you’ll seek to understand these opportunities and problems in a way that equally addresses technological possibilities, human needs, and social and cultural context and trends, all in a way that’s oriented toward intervention through design. You’ll contribute to the development of design theory, methods, and practice as you conduct practical research in areas such as:

  • Interaction design
  • Computer-supported cooperative work
  • New media
  • Dynamic visualizations
  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Usability and evaluation methods
  • Augmented reality
  • Learning systems
  • Design pedagogy

This track is designed to change the way you think. You’ll go beyond using technology to solve a problem, to creating a technology experience that will be functional, intuitive, and even delightful for users. With this track, you’ll learn to think like a designer. You’ll refine your personal design philosophy through coursework that:

  • Teaches you the key history, literature, and research of HCI/d
  • Introduces you to multiple frameworks, research techniques, and creative exercises
  • Helps you learn the skills necessary to use and design applications
  • Explores the socioeconomic consequences of implementing technologies in different cultures
Learn more about HCI/d

Track Guide

Primary Track Faculty

Profile for Eli Blevis

Sustainable interaction design, visual thinking, photographic foundations of HCI, design theory, transdisciplinary design.

Priofile for Hamid Ekbia

Political economy of computing, artificial intelligence, mediation, cross-cultural computing.

Profile for Erik Stolterman-Bergqvist

Interactivity and interfaces, philosophy and theory of design, design thinking.


Required Courses

All courses provided by faculty in the Human-Computer Interaction Design track, including the I609 and I709 Advanced Seminars, are open to and welcome students from other tracks and programs.

A student must successfully complete ninety (90) credit hours of graduate-level course works. The specific track requirements are listed below.

  • Informatics Core Requirements (6 cr.)
    • INFO I501 Introduction to Informatics (3 cr.)
    • INFO I502 Human-Centered Research Methods in Informatics (3cr.)
  • Seminar Requirements (6 cr.)
    • INFO I609 Seminar I (3 cr.)
    • INFO I709 Seminar II in Informatics (3 cr.)

NOTE: A student must take I609 and/or I709.

  • Research and Rotation Requirement (6 cr.)
    • INFO I790 Informatics Research Rotation (3 cr.)

NOTE: A student must complete two rotations of I790. A third rotation will not count for course credit.

  • Theory and Methodology Requirement (12 cr.)

NOTE: These courses must be appropriate for a Ph.D. in Informatics.

  • Minor (6-15 cr.)

NOTE: Typical minors include Inquiry methodology, cognitive science, sociology, intelligent and interactive systems, computing, culture, and society.

  • Electives (12-30 cr.)

NOTE: A student must have all electives approved by the student's advisor and the Director of Informatics Graduate Studies prior to enrolling in the course.

  • Thesis Reading and Research (minimum of 21 cr. and a maximum of 30 cr.)
    • INFO I890 Thesis Readings and Research

Elective Courses

In addition to required courses, students should take at least 12 elective credits for the doctoral degree.

Faculty in the HCID track offer courses that provide more targeted training in specific areas. This list is illustrative and not exclusive.

  • INFO I528 – Participatory Design
  • INFO I530 – Field Deployments
  • INFO I541 – Interaction Design Practice
  • INFO I542 – Foundations of HCI
  • INFO I543 – Interaction Design Methods
  • INFO I544 – Experience Design
  • INFO I549 – Advanced Prototyping
  • INFO I561 – Visual Thinking Meaning and Form
  • INFO I590 – Various (e.g., Augmented Reality; Design Strategy; Interaction Culture; Rapid Design for Slow Change; Social Computing; Sustainability in HCI and Design; Visual Foundations for HCI)
  • INFO I604 – HCI Design Theory