CMPT 363: Fall 2008

CMPT 363-3 D100: User Interface Design

Instructor: Dr. Herbert H. Tsang

Class: Wed AQ 3159, 17:30-20:20

1. Course Objectives/Description

This course will introduce you to the design of effective human-computer interfaces. The course is organized around a core group of design themes, which we will consider throughout the semester. Lectures will be minimized. Class time will mostly be spent on discussion and small group work, evaluating and redesigning interfaces. Assignments for activities outside the class will also emphasize evaluation and design. Recognizing a bad interface is easy, and recognizing a good one is a little more work, but it's truly demanding to describe *why* an interface succeeds or fails. Once you've found the reason, though, you are well on your way to solving the problem. You will spend a lot of time talking and writing about interfaces, but don't worry: The course will progress from mostly informal exercises, with little impact on your final grade, to more formal ones that count more. You will have practice before you reach the high-stakes assignments.

Note that the textbook "User Interface Design and Evaluation", is recommended, not required. I will not be assigning readings from it, but instead will expect you to use it as a resource for answering questions, during class and for outside exercises. Access to the text will be of some value, but you may choose to save some money by sharing a copy with a friend or relying on other user interface textbooks or information available on the Web.


  • Basic Concepts and Goals of Human Computer Interaction
  • Human-Centered Design and Development Process
  • Cognitive Psychology of Computer Use
  • Interface Technologies
  • Design Methods
  • Prototyping Methods
  • Evaluation Methods
  • Committing to Good Design

The above material will be covered through lectures, reading, discussions, homework assignments, and a course project.

2. Grading

The main grading items will be a portfolio of usability analyses, a project in groups of 3-4 during the second half of the semester, a single midterm, and a final exam. The exact proportions of these items, plus some smaller ones, to the course grade will be announced in the first week of class. Assignments are due at the start of class. Late assignments will not be accepted without valid documentation (e.g., medical certificate). Students must attain a C or better on the weighted average of exams in order to obtain a C or better grade for the course as a whole.

  • Course Project…………40%
  • Assignments ……………15%
  • Participation…………… 5%
  • Midterm ……………….10%
  • Final …………………..30%

3. Class Schedule, Readings, and Assignments

  • Week 1 (2008-09-03)
  • Week 2 (2008-09-17)
  • Week 3 (2008-09-24)
  • Week 4 (2008-10-01)
  • Week 5 (2008-10-08)
  • Week 6 (2008-10-15)
  • Week 7 (2008-10-22)
  • Week 8 (2008-10-29)
  • Week 9 (2008-11-05)
  • Week 10 (2008-11-12)
  • Week 11 (2008-11-19)
  • Week 12 (2008-11-26)

4. References

  • User Interface Design and Evaluation, Stone, Jarrett, Woodroffe, and Minocha, Morgan Kaufman, 2005
  • User-centered website development : a human-computer interaction approach, McCracken and Wolfe, Prentice Hall, 2004
  • The elements of user Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web, Garret, New Riders, 2002
  • The Design of Everyday Things, Donald A. Norman, Basic Books, 1989: Also published as The Psychology of Everyday Things
  • Designing the User Interface (4th Edition), Ben Shneiderman and Catherine Plaisant, Addison Wesley, 2005
  • Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction (2d.ed.), harp, Rogers, and Preece, John Wiley and Sons, 2007: Just published.
  • Usability Engineering, Mary Beth Rosson and John M. Carroll, Morgan Kaufman, 2002

5. Useful links

Academic Honesty plays a key role in our efforts to maintain a high standard of academic excellence and integrity. Students are advised that ALL acts of intellectual dishonesty are subject to disciplinary action by the School; serious infractions are dealt with in accordance with the Code of Academic Honesty (T10.02) ( Students are encouraged to read the School's policy information (


  • CMPT 225 (or its equivalent, CMPT 201, which is no longer offered)

Copyright (C) 2008, Herbert H. Tsang

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License