Web site for Foundations for Designing User-Centered Systems: What system designers need to know about people
Frank E. Ritter, Gordon D. Baxter, Elizabeth F. Churchill (2014).
Available through Springer ($45) and Springer Link (free PDF if your library subscribes [partial list] and $25 for a printed copy, enter through your library portal [example screenshot showing link to MyCopy]). Springer video on the book!
"It looks great! It's going to be really useful. This may be the best HCI text so far." -- Stu Card
The Foundations for Designing User-Centered Systems (previously the ABCS of HCI) has been used by Ritter for several years to teach an impactful HCI course , and by other PSU instructors for online (Yeh) and residential classroom (Poole, UP; Brandywine, Bob Jones; McKeesport, Pat Clemson, not to be confused with the university), and at other universities including Arizona State (Atkinson), UMBC (Rana Balci-Sinha), Edinburgh (UK, Wolters), Glyndwr U (Wales), Hanyang U (S. Korea, Hokyoung Ryu), U. of Helsinki, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT, Finland), NIU / Galway (O' Laighin, (Ireland), Unitec (New Zealand, Dr. Nilufar Baghaei), U. of Newcastle (Baxter), U. of Conn and WPI (Qin), Hamburg and FH-Brandenburg (Kindsmueller), U of Michigan (Newman), St. Andrews (Dow), TU/Chemnitz (Krems, Ritter), Tufts (Ritter), and Mass. C. of Liberal Arts and Truman State (Cohen), PKU Summer School International 2018 (Wolters).
A review in Computing Reviews by Popescu is kind, and the book is mentioned in a review of another book (Chipman, 2017).
This web site provides additional, particularly online, resources. It uses a sparse style that is easy to maintain, and we believe straightforward to use. To the extent that this web site fails it provides two things (a) an example for a class exercise, and (b) proof of the adage about cobbler's children [reference to this phrase]. The PDF from Springer is in PDF v.9; some earlier readers may have difficulties.
also see, the IST 331 web site at Penn State
List of errata
Slide deck for the book
Comments on how meaningful projects can be done with a course using this book and the exercises in the book (Ritter, 2014). This approach has led to 5 press releases from Penn State (e.g., 2018) and a small outreach award.
For instructors: example exam questions, and most figures are available by request to Ritter.
Front matter [PDF] This includes Foreword, Preface, Table of contents, and recomendations
Chapter 1: Introduction and overview [Sample PDF]
Lovely site, not enough content: Huh? Corp
Ergonomics is cost effective, Stanton & Baber
Chapter 2: History
Example Ergonomics Lab, at Cornell
Apple user interface guidelines
A Definition of HCI
A nice, thoughtful, insighful, theoretical summary of the history of HCI
Grudin, J. (2012). A moving target—The evolution of human-computer interaction. In J. Jacko (Ed.), Human-Computer Interaction Handbook (3rd Edition) (pp. xxvii-lxi). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.
Chapter 3: Anthropometrics
Google-based summary of letter and word frequency shows some subtle changes for most common letters and words. This could influence how you set up keyboards and suggest passwords, for two quick examples.
There is much material on the web to avoid or reduce Upper limb disorders (ULD) and Repetative Strain Injuries (RSI). One of many links is auat the U. of Nebraska Electronics Shop, and others in Australia and England.
A new style of interaction, not clicking but mouse-over. http://www.dontclick.it Found by Sam Christie-Sgro.
Chapter 4: Basics of Behavior, how and start to why
Demonstrations of auditory perceptual effects
Web site for Blake and Sekuler's book on perception
Color: an example where it is used directly for aesthetics
Changeblindness demo, U of I.
How colors can go together
Spot the flounder
David Hubel (of Hubel and Wiesel fame) has an excellent online book that is available as html or pdf at http://hubel.med.harvard.edu/book/bcontex.htm
Dan Pink on motivation on YouTube
An interesting low-level visual effect, a spiral display tires some aspect of visual system
Eye-tracking video on Youtube illustrating how an eye moves on a web page
Colorblindness 1 (requires file upload), illustrates the effect
Colorblindness 2 (requires Java)
Colorblindness 3 (requires Flash), provides a fairly comprehensive test, taken from article on Pingu
BBC series on the senses
Chapter 5: Memory, attention, and learning
Implicit memory, measuring it: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/
Examples of learning theories
Attention demo [Youtube version 1 in advert] [Youtube version 2 in a movie] [Imgur from Reddit]
A useful, short set of slides on distraction and interface design by Giles Colborne
A short paper suggesting that cognitive science and memory research can predict how memorable TV ads are
XKCD on password choice, the use of words vs. characters
Short article on PINs
The missing boat picture (Figure 6-12), a clearer picture with just the missing boat
Brain Memory, an interactive diagram to show memory in the brain
Chapter 6: Mental representation, problem solving, and decision making
The Puzzle Museum, with more puzzles.
Playing with mental models, car interacts with air wrench in an unanticpated way
Post-completion error exercise with ATM machines
A Tower of Hanoi simulator
A nice summary of decision biases
Chapter 7: Human-computer communication
Jacob Nielsen makes some useful and direct suggestions for your web site based on information foraging in an Alertbox article
New Yorker article on reading on the screen (there are likely some problems, noted by Bob Jones, PSU/Brandywine)
A nice summary about serif and sanserif fonts, with multiple links by Alex Poole (but it's lack of conclusions Ritter disagrees with)
The Beach Boys used a theremin in their Good Vibrations song. The interface shown in the video varies slightly in that the physical surfaces have been modified to be easier to play. Further examples of ways of making sound typically using unsual interfaces.
A small, open source tool for computing readability scores. There is plenty of material on the web about this topic. You can also productively score different pieces of writing to see what the score can measure and what remains elusive. For example, "He did it. She helped them." has a perfectly good score, but is not interpretable.
Material on fonts and driving from the MIT Age Lab. They found a reliable and significant effect between several fonts.
Chapter 8: Social cognition
Levitt and Dunbar (in Superfreakonomics), offers http://www.kewgardenshistory.com as having more details on Kitty Genovese's murder, suggesting in fact, that it is a poor example of bystander effects because there were essentially no bystanders. But, in January 2013, the web site appears to have removed this material, perhaps inadvertently.
A short summary of several topics on groups
Chapter 9: Networks
Facebook and you
Chapter 10: Errors
Raw error rates, a large list of papers
Failblog.org Lots of example mistakes, errors, poor mental models, timing mistakes, etc.
Errordiary.org, lists examples of errors, both simple and complex and benign and deadly
Example (near-miss) errors
Animated videos about industrial accidents involving people from the US Chemical Safety Board
Sidney Dekker on errors The first part is a potted history of thinking about safet, and the role of HF. It also includes the anecdote about where to reinforce aircraft damaged in WWII based on an analysis of shrapnel patterns. The solution is to reinforce them where they haven't been hit—those are the ones that didn't come back. Dekker argues that we need (something like) that approach for modern complex systems, because the precursors don't predict the real events any more. People work around problems and don't report them, so you end up with normalisation of deviance. Lots of food for thought, particularly in the last half of the talk and the questions.
Chapter 11: Task analyses
Microwave races, shows time to do a task can differ and matters
A nice, simple KLM calculator. Spreadsheets are useful, but this is handy.
Some worked examples of KLM and GOMS by Ritter
Chapter 12: Empirical evaluation
Different usability methods
A summary of rapid prototyping tools [there are more lists and more tools, for sure. Also consider paper, Word, Pages, Powerpoint, Prezzi, and Keynote.]
References on usability testing from Goodman, Kuniavsky, & Moed, Observing the user experience
Why You Only Need To Test With Five Users (Explained), from Erika Poole, PSU/UP
Sample sizes for usability tests: mostly math, not magic, from Erika Poole, PSU/UP
Chapter 13: Cognitive dimensions and the gulfs
An online tutorial on Cognitive Dimensions by some of the authors of CDs (Green and Blackwell)
Chapter 14: Summaries of human behavior
Comments on building social networks by Agre
A tool, Usability Planner to decide what tools to use to reduce risk in system design
Further MHP example analyses, an extension to Table 16-1
Ritter et al.'s (2004) book, Techniques for modeling human performance in synthetic environments
Tools for testing web sites: Bobby, now renamed, and Erigami
Pew and Mavor's (2007) book, Human-system integration in the system development process: A new look
Spiral model in UX
Chapter 19: Leftovers, future, emotions and esthetics
Somewhat informed software development
What cinematrography has to say about interface design
References, other resources
HCIbib.org is a treasure trove of HCI publications and resources
Here is a nice review of a useful conference, UX Australia
Online Appendix 1: Example reports
Example 1, by David Gilmore and Karen Coombes, of usability problems, from individuals to groups, intereact.
Online Appendix 2: Larger projects for classes
Here are some larger class exercises and projects.
Online Appendix 3: Comments on writing and report preparation
A short essay on how to prepare reports on HCI topics.
Online Appendix 4: Comments on how to read and what to read
A single question exam from Rob St. Amant, about a single interface. Great stuff.
Six example exams are available from Ritter.
Related books and resources
User-Centred Engineering, by Richter and Flückiger, also published by Springer and available on a chapter basis, may provide useful method reviews or additional material. Instructors could mix and match chapters.
Also see, Interaction Design, by Rogers, Sharp, & Preece
Userfocus has a short, interesting, easy to read book that is consistent with the ABCS (part of it made Ritter LoL).
Also see, The FastTrack to Human-Computer Interaction by Serengul Smith-Atakan
100 things every designer needs to know about people, and 100 things every presenter needs to know about people, by Susan Weinschenk. These are good value books, but they fail to provide a unified view of users.
Guerrilla User Centred Design (UCD), provides a series of webinars (paid) that helps translate the effects of designing for users into design and interface building tips. They are nice, but somewhat assume the ABCS, which not everyone has. The idea that designers and implementors should care about users we completely agree with.
Resources from the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority. An interesting and useful collection of materials and examples, that overlap with this book, but are oriented for aircraft maintainers in Australia, but great stuff overall.
Designing-Interactive-Systems: A comprehensive guide to HCI UX and interaction design by David Benyon is more about design and appears to assume that you know the ABCS about users.
brink, t., gergle, d., & wood, s. d. (2002). designing web sites that work: Usability for the web [sic sic]. San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kaufman. Is a useful book, about applying some of these concepts to web sites, albeit it has a hard to parse cover.
Cognitive Psychology by Nick Braisby and Angus Gellatly (2012) is a general overview of many topics in cognitive psychology related to chapters on cognitive aspects of users (ch. 4-7 and ch. 10 in parts).
www.mind.ilstu.edu and cognitrn.psych.indiana.edu/CogsciSoftware are sets of cognitive science and cogntive psychology resources
An ebook of psychology studies and demos, ePsych, at Mississippi State
a set of demos and videos that are useful from U. of Idaho, Go Cognitive (I think)
Springer's press releases on the book 1 and 2, on the front page of the European Association of Cognitive Ergonomics web site in September 2014.
Chipman, S. E. F. (2017). Keep Looking for that Textbook, a Review of Psychology of Technology? by V. K. Kool and Rita Agrawal Cham. PsycCRITIQUES. 62(15), Article 4. DOI: 10.1037/a0040815
last updated: Frank Ritter, 8 aug 2018
Be seeing you.