Daniel Woo


Human Computer Interaction aims to provide students with practical design skills for designing computer systems.

Previously, Clark Quinn used MetaCard in the Macintosh laboratory of Samuels Building. MetaCard is a cross platform tool for designing GUI that is based on HyperTalk the language used by HyperCard. Students were able to implement and test user interface concepts with MetaCard. These facilities are now no longer available although Paul Compton believes we have a site wide MetaCard licence.

It is proposed that a computer laboratory component be reintroduced into COMP3511 and COMP9511 providing students with the resources to take designs from paper-based mock-ups through to real interface deployment.


A Macintosh-based laboratory is proposed for several reasons:

The Macintosh user experience has been identified as a very good example of an easy to use interface and has been adopted by many Universities teaching Human Computer Interaction. Tools and examples are available to facilitate laboratories.

User interface design is not isolated to a single computer platform, hence one that can run several other environments would be favourable. The current MacOS platform can run the MacOS (8, 9 and X), Windows (via software emulators), X Windows and MkLinux. Multiple test environments can be deployed from a single hardware platform.

Other standard software environments are available such as OpenGL, BSD UNIX 4.4.

Tools are included for implementing and developing speech recognition and text to speech interfaces.

The forthcoming release of MacOS X will provide a new user interface that will illustrate new and alternative concepts in desktop user interface design. Internationalisation is well supported in MacOS X.

Through Macintosh Manager and Network Administrator Toolkit, managing of larger networks has been enhanced considerably. Netboot provides a mechanism for a single disk image to be shared throughout a laboratory, thereby simplifying upgrades.

Support infrastructure for Macintosh appears to be growing within the School.

Other possible subject areas that could use the laboratory include OpenGL graphics, multimedia, audio processing and JAVA.