I finally completed the last of the core courses for the HCI program. Now I only need to take two more electives and do the capstone. This last class was definitely one of the better courses I have taken. While it was similar to the HCI 460 course it is different in that it focused more on the the initial user observations whereas 460 was about usability testing methods and reporting. The class started out with us doing our own user observation. This involved finding a task to study a user performing. Then finding a user and arranging a time to observe them.
HCI 513 was basically a class about “An integrated study of design, technical, and strategic issues for Internet commerce”. Since I work full time as a web administrator I didn’t think I would learn much, but the professor was very informed and provided addiitional insight into the various aspects of e-commerce. Particularly, I learned even with the nice web services offered by FedEx and UPS, that implementing shipping on an e-commerce site is fairly complex. The projects we have worked on at work always charged a flat rate, although we are working on an implementation now that integrates our publishing group’s DB, which has a shipping calculator. But that is done on the inventory/fullfillment app side, so all we do is pass the address and get the data back from the API.
I am taking a class on the issues of designing software/websites for the disabled. It is very informative so far. It seems that many businesses are ignoring this at their peril. While one case was dismissed two years ago (Southwest Airlines), another went against the organization (Marta), and several more were settled out of court for nominal sums. Well nominal in the sense that they could have spent that money upfront on accessibility and avoided the negative publicity.