December 15th, 2018
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Sirti Bestows Award of Honor
October 21, 2010. Billie Moreland, PhD, of Billie Moreland and Associates and Steve Simmons, PhD, E...

Triangle %u201CGraduates%u201D at Sweet Sixteen
The Idea (1994)
In June 1994, while on a layover in the San Francisco airport, Dr. Steve Simmons cam...

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12/23/2002 - EWU Debuts Interface Design Course

At SIRTI as I watched over Professor Margaret Mortzís shoulder as she was explaining her research, the computer displayed the message that hers was an invalid argument. Contrary to such evidence, computers donít have a mind of their own. All computers and computer programs need a human/machine interface.

Some early computers had toggle switches --- zero was off, and one was on --- and the programmer switched the toggles to interact with the machine. Later came punch cards. A keypunch operator, using the keypad on a machine the size of a small organ, punched holes in a deck of specialized cards. The cards were used to program the computer. Any keying error, dangling chads, or a card out of place could scuttle the dayís work. With the advent of the personal computer, computer designers began to pay attention to the graphical user interface (GUI).

With the proliferation of computing systems such as cell phones, palmtops, disability aids, control panels, set top boxes, and other electronic gadgets, the design for how humans interface with the machine becomes more and more important. A well-designed GUI could mean the commercial success or failure of an otherwise excellent system.

For the first time, spring quarter, Eastern Washington Universityís Computer Science department will offer a course in computer interface and computer/human interaction. The senior/graduate level course will cover the design process for interfacing from many points of view. Covered will be a historical overview, how human factors affect design --- human perception and mental processing --- design analysis including good and bad examples, and the psychology of both the end user and the interface developer. Finally, the class will cover intellectual property issues including case histories.

Visiting Associate Professor Richard Steele will teach the course. Dr. Steeleís PhD is in Languages and Linguistics from Harvard University. Through the study of linguistics, he has unusual understanding of language processing and the mental pathways to language understanding. His company, LingraphiCare, created software with clinical applications for stroke victimís language rehabilitation. The product is used in Spokane medical clinics. Dr. Steele is based at the EWU Spokane campus and his office is in the SIRTI building.

For more information, contact Richard Steele at

Billie Moreland
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