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September 2009

For many of us, we are off and running with the new semester. The field of user interface engineering and design constantly evolves as do the products dependent on a good user interface for their success. Whether it is Windows 7 (due out shortly), a new iPhone app, game software or devices, or other products for everyday use, teaching computer science and related majors how to build good user interfaces remains central to their success in the competitive, global workplace.

Here are some newsworthy items from the DTUI5 author team:

There is an excellent, recent paper for researchers, designers, and managers to understand what motivates technology-mediated social participation. This knowledge can be applied to improve interface design and social support for companies, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations. The article appears in the March 2009 issue of the AIS Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction. On a related note, please also take a look at the white paper for the National Initiative for Social Participation.

On the 70th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s letter to President Franklin Roosevelt encouraging attention to atomic technology and science, Ben Shneiderman and several colleagues decided to offer a new version. An open letter to President Barack Obama encourages exploration of technology-mediated social participation.

Make sure to take a look at the special issue of Human Centered design in the journal Information Visualization. One scheduling note: the CHI 2010 paper submission deadline is Sept. 17, 2009.

Don’t forget that the Designing the User Interface, 5th edition, Companion Web Site has been updated to include the latest in instructional materials including updated PowerPoint charts, revised links, and suggestions for incorporating more videos into your lectures and assignments, and more.

I welcome your thoughts, feedback, corrections or comments on the material in the Companion Web Site and this blog. Please feel free to email me directly at if you have any questions on the web site content.

Steve Jacobs


August 2009

I am pleased to announce that the Designing the User Interface, 5th edition Companion Web Site is completed and ready for your use in preparation for Fall 2009 courses using our book. There are PowerPoint charts that match the content in each of the chapters, revised links, suggested videos, and more.

We have revised discussion topics for use to facilitate class discussions. This material can also be useful for team homework assignments. New to this edition are the answers to the discussion topics for use by instructors. This will aid in facilitating discussion and pointing students in the correct direction to get results.

I welcome your thoughts, feedback, corrections or comments on the material in the Companion Web Site. Please feel free to email me directly at if you have any questions on the web site content.

Reminder: instructor materials require registration with Pearson, so, if you want the materials, you will need to go through their registration process. Also, please note that some of the material is posted at the Designing the User Interface, 5th edition Companion Web Site and some of the material can be accessed via the Pearson Instructor Resource Center (remember to select "Resources" in the tabbed menu on that web page. If you were curious, this split location has to do with the ISBN numbering process for controlling and publishing the material. )

Enjoy the material; I hope you choose to adopt much of the information provided. Please do not hesitate to contact me for feedback or comments or how you are using the material.

Steve Jacobs


June/July 2009

Welcome back to the blog for Designing the User Interface, 5th edition. I hope everyone is having a terrific summer.

Please check out our updated web site. All the PowerPoint charts have been created and are available through our “protected resources” link. All you need to do is to register with Pearson to gain access to the material. We do this to ensure instructors gain access to instructor materials. We have updated and tested web links to relevant, on-line material. As promised in our May 2009 blog, we have added links to interesting video demonstrations and resources so your classroom can enjoy what the DTUI author team has found that students today enjoy --- multi-media presentation for reviewing screen designs and seeing new interface concepts, tools and technology in action.

This summer, I am teaching a web design course entirely in a distance learning format. Each module contains a reading assignment, pre-recorded lecture, hands-on exercises and internet-based topics to research, and assessments. In addition, each module has a video! The students have commented in our on-line discussion boards how much they enjoy the videos. Some of my videos are from the list you now have access to via our companion web site. Most of the videos are public domain, pre-recorded mini-lectures of relevant topics. Some of the videos are demos of new user interface technology prepared by research institutions or vendors. I invite you to try these techniques in your classroom whether live classroom or distance-learning format: multi-media course content, lectures mixed with internet-based research, on-line discussions, and more, to get your students excited about the course material. This makes your classroom more fun for students and instructors alike.

Please consider the invitation from me in an earlier blog to share any suggestions and experiences you have to spice up the content of our UI courses to tailor it for the typical 21st century students. I would be glad to recognize your contributions in this blog, or publish anonymously your thoughts, if you prefer.

Also, if you have any thoughts on the book as you review or teach with it, please feel free to send us any comments. We are reviewing and compiling comments received thus far, and we take your feedback seriously. We can use the Designing the User Interface, 5th edition companion web site as a tool to keep the book current, correct and up-to-date. Also, if you have any thoughts you wish to share publicly, Amazon.Com has a web space where you can post book review comments. Please note some of the comments posted are from the previous edition of the book, so, note the date when reviewing previously posted comments at the Amazon.Com reviewer comments web site.

I hope to have the remainder of the Designing the User Interface, 5th edition companion web site completed in the next couple of weeks. Please register for access with Pearson and please join us.

Steve Jacobs


May 2009

The author team of the 5th edition of Designing the User Interface has had much success with video demos, product demos and technical talks that are now readily available from university web sites, YouTube and other user-generated content sites. The current student population enjoys a multimedia presentation. What better topic than Computer Human Interaction to illustrate concepts with video demos? Often, students are remote and may be attending the class via a distance learning medium, so, video presentations lend themselves well to pause (for life’s interruptions) and repeating (watch a replay) for difficult or intriguing topics.

The Companion Web Site for Designing the User Interface will include a list of videos and video library links. For years, I have enhanced lectures to students with current research demonstrations and newly-released product demonstrations, all delivered in a video format. Many years ago, I actually ordered videos for this purpose from the University of Maryland Human Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL), where HCIL published video reports for each of their annual research symposia (and open house events). Those videos are on-line at: I also have shown selected video reports from the video showcase, part of the annual ACM CHI conferences. Often my students have commented in student evaluations how the videos I used made my classes interesting, informative and current. Keep in mind that many current videos are on-line, and I will provide you with those links in this DTUI 5th edition Companion Web Site.

It is suggested that instructors of user interface courses give an assignment to view some videos and either hold class discussion (live, in the classroom, or via class discussion groups) or assign a video review/critique as a homework assignment. It works best to give the students a “heads up” of what is most intriguing, i.e. what to watch for in viewing the videos.

I have also found that it is ideal to use one or two short videos to illustrate a point in the classroom --- you should avoid an information overload of video content. It is also fun to end the lecture with a short video on a related topic, just to get the students be creatively thinking about user interface technology when leaving the classroom (while going home or to their next class). This video technique also lends itself well to classes taught in a distance learning environment, where students have the video pop up on their screen at home, and can adjust video screen space and audio volume per their individual tastes. They can also pause and repeat portions as needed.

Watch for a “Videos” link with this Companion web site.

If you have any suggestions for videos beyond the list I will post on the companion web site, please email me a link to

Steve (contributing author to Designing the User Interface, 5th edition)


April 2009

CHI 2009 was held in Boston and it continues to be a leading forum for educators, practitioners and visionaries for computer human interaction issues. There was a tremendous turnout of students both from the large, local university population in the Boston area as well as a sizeable number of international students. The companion web site for the 5th edition of Designing the User Interface, now available from Pearson, was launched just in time for CHI. Complete resources for the first two chapters of the book are now posted, with the rest being developed now.

A book signing was held at CHI 2009 with the DTUI5 author team and the terrific staff from Pearson that helped in assembling the book. A good time was had by all. See photos below.

Photo 1. Welcome to CHI 2009.

Photo 2. DTUI5 author team of (L to R) Steve Jacobs, Ben Shneiderman, Catherine Plaisant, Maxine Cohen

Photo 3. Signing books during the CHI 2009 afternoon break on April 7, 2009.

Photo 4. (L to R) Jeff Holcomb and Stephanie Sellinger of Pearson, with contributing authors Steve Jacobs and Maxine Cohen

This blog can also be a forum for the exchange of ideas, information and resources for educators. Maxine Cohen, one of the contributing authors to DTUI5, made a suggestion for an improvement to the DTUI5 web site in comparison with the content from DTUI4. We are seeing so many terrific videos posted on YouTube and similar web sites. These video demos of HCI research topics make for interesting viewing, as well as serving as an audio visual aid in the classroom. Dr. Cohen suggests using these videos either as an in-class discussion stimulator or as a homework assignment in order to give her HCI students more visibility into current HCI research topics and progress. We will make those links available to instructors on our DTUI5 companion web site.

Please feel free to submit comments, questions, suggestions or content to
Please visit If you have not yet done so, please request a desk copy at:,3110,0321537351,00.html today!

Steve Jacobs



March 2009

Welcome to the blog of the companion web site for the 5th edition of Designing the User Interface, now available from Pearson. More information about the book and sample chapters can be found at: This companion web site is under construction, with new additions forthcoming in the near term.

Our vision for this blog is to provide 5th edition adopters (and other CHI educators) a forum for fresh updates about the field, teaching ideas, and innovative strategies for motivating learners. The blog will provide an opportunity for sharing expert advice and guidance as well as tips on effectively using this book as a course textbook. It also provides a “discussion board” style of interaction, so novices and experts alike can share ideas.

The companion web site will be updated to include instructor materials and references for readers (students) to enhance the user experience (pun intended) in utilizing this book. By the way, if you would like to contribute any homework, test or project examples or suggestions to the companion web site, please contact Steve Jacobs at: All submissions will be credited to the authors and substantial contributors will receive special gifts and appreciation from the authors

At CHI 2009 in Boston, come join Ben Shneiderman, Catherine Plaisant, Maxine Cohen and Steven Jacobs at the Pearson booth at the Tuesday afternoon break!

Building on the success of widely-used earlier editions, the fifth edition provides updates on current HCI topics with balanced emphasis on mobile devices, Web, and desktop platforms. It addresses the profound changes brought by user-generated content of text, photo, music, and video and the raised expectations for compelling user experiences.

The author team, expanded for the 5th edition, brings unparalleled industry and academic experience, enhancing the book's usefulness in informing readers, clarifying opportunities, and inspiring excellence. The book includes:

Please visit or request a desk copy at:,3110,0321537351,00.html today!

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