Interactive technologies (HCI103)

Nikolaos Avouris, Christos Sintoris, Irene Mavromati


The course main objective is to introduce the student to interactive technologies and the design of interactive systems.



Student hours:

C. Sintoris: Mondays 13-15, Tuesdays 13-15. You can use Zoom. Alternatively, you can find me in Skype.




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Introduction of the PACT (People, Activities, Context, Technology) framework


In this unit, we present the main techniques for understanding people?s activities and encapsulating this for design.

Design starts with researching and understanding the situation at hand, but in the course of achieving that understanding, designers iterate between the exploration of new concepts, understanding, and evaluation of ideas, designs, and opinions.

Using the techniques described in this unit should ensure that designers undertake a human-centred process.

Techniques for understanding people?s activities in context include interviews, observation and collecting samples of artefacts, complemented by background research away from the domain of interest.

Using more than one technique helps to compensate for their individual limitations.

Requirements work must be documented for communication and use in design; the usual way of doing this is a requirements specification supported by illustrative materials.

The use of scenarios starts early in the design process, with the gathering of user stories, construction of conceptual scenarios for exploring requirements and illustrating their application.

In this unit we consider the principal envisionment techniques, various forms of prototyping used to explore and evaluate ideas and the presentation of ideas to clients. In addition, we deal with a more abstract view of design and with thinking conceptually and metaphorically about our design. It also provides some more formal ways of capturing and representing designs.

Evaluation is the fourth main process of interaction design. By evaluation we mean reviewing, trying out or testing a design idea, a piece of software, a product or service to discover whether it meets some criteria. The main points are: Designers need to focus hard on what features of a system or product they want to evaluate. They need to think hard about the state that the system, service or product is in and hence on whether they can evaluate those features. Data Analytics is important for evaluation. There are expert-based methods of evaluation. There are also participant-based methods of evaluation. Designers need to design their evaluation to fit the particular needs of the contexts of use and the activities that people are engaged in.

The design of the interface that mediates the interaction of people with devices is a crucial characteristic of the overall UX design. This is often referred to as the user interface (UI), and it consists of everything in the system that people come into contact with whether that is physically, perceptually or conceptually. In this unit, we discuss the issues of interface design focusing on the visual aspects of the design. This unit contains a section on visual interface design, on direct manipulation interaction and navigation.

This unit contains sections for human and command languages, including considerations for the design of spoken interactions, a section on interaction devices and one on the design of social and collaborative systems.

Sections include:

(a) language interaction 

1.Speech recognition

2.Speech production

3.Human language technology

4.Traditional command languages

(b) Interaction devices

1.Keyboards and Keypads

2.Pointing Devices


(c) Design for communication and collaboration

1.Models of Collaboration

2.Specific Examples

3.Design Considerations

This unit contains sections on the design of the human experience and in particular : 

1.Display Design

2.View (Window) Management


4.Web Page Design


6.Non-anthropomorphic Design

7.Error Messages

8. Issues of Time in User Experience