Computer Science, Interaction Design and Technology

Ever more objects are becoming smart. Computer chips are being embedded everywhere, sometimes obviously, sometimes just disappearing in to the background.  They are in kitchen appliances like microwaves and fridges. They are in our wallets, our keys and our cars. They are staring to appear in smart clothes and jewellery. Designers now have to take this into account and that means they have to think about interaction design. It is all about how to design computer-based gadgets that are easy for people to use, and even are a delight to use.

Good design can help prevent people making mistakes and recover when they do. Sometimes, such as in cockpits, cars and hospitals, that means getting the interaction design right is a matter of life and death.

Activities and Activity Sheets

The following activities introduce interaction design.

  • Writing fictional personas to support design
    • Personas are a design tool used to help designers design to solve real problems of real people. Write one as the basis of an app or gadget design.
  • The Four Aces Magic Trick
    • Use a magic trick to show how people do not see things that are there to be seen. You can a design a system so people miss things or so their attention is drawn to the right place.
  • The Teleporting Robot Magic Jigsaw
    • This simple magic jigsaw can be used to illustrate that complex designs can be too much for our brains to take in.
  • The Microwave Racing Video
    • Racing microwaves is a way to see how different designs for doing the same thing can make a task easy to do or hard.
  • The Spit-Not-So Activity
    • Play a word game and learn about the design principle of ‘Recognize’ not ‘Recall’.

Booklets and Magazines to download

The Magic of Computer Science III

This magic book explores how computational thinking including how design matters if things are going to be fit for purpose.


Machines Making Medicine Safer: Issue 17 of cs4fn Magazine

In this issue we look at how interaction design matters if medical devices are to be safe to use and safely used.

cs4fn subject portals

There are lots of fun articles on the cs4fn website linked to biology. See the following portals:

External Resources

Explore the world of everyday mistakes with ErrorDiary.

This area has been created in collaboration with the CHI+MED: Safer Medical Devices research project funded by EPSRC.

EPSRC colour sponsor hi-reschi_med


One thought on “Computer Science, Interaction Design and Technology

  1. Pingback: Making medical devices safer – insights from the CHI+MED project (funded by @EPSRC) | chi+med blog

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