Management and Information Technology


CMPT 42102

Usability Engineering

Status : Elective Pre-requisite : None Co-requisite : None

On completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Discuss evaluation criteria: task time/completion, time to learn, retention, errors, and user satisfaction,  user-centered development to traditional software engineering methods, good design principles of each of the following: common widgets; sequenced screen presentations; simple error-trap dialog; a user manual.
  • Conduct a walkthrough, expert-based analysis, and a Keystroke Level Model (KLM) analysis, and a usability test.
  • Gather requirements for a user interface, using both task analysis and interview with a user and create a specification for a user interface based on requirements.
  • Design, prototype, and evaluate a simple 2D interaction Multimedia Information System for entertainment or education.
  • Identify the challenges that exist in moving from 2D to 3D interaction desktop or laptop screen to a mobile device.
  • Describe major usability problems with database query languages,  the current state of speech recognition technology in particular and natural language processing in general.

Evaluation without typical users: walkthroughs, KLM, expert-based analysis, heuristics, guidelines, and  standards, Evaluation with typical users: observation, think-aloud, interview, survey, experiment.

Challenges to effective evaluation: sampling, generalization, Reporting the results of evaluations, Approaches, characteristics, and overview of product development process, with special emphasis on software development process, Functionality and usability requirements.

Techniques for gathering requirements: task analysis, interviews, surveys, Notations for specifying user interfaces, Prototyping techniques and tools, Sketching, Paper storyboards, Low-fidelity or paper prototyping, Medium fidelity prototyping, Prototyping tools and GUI builders.

User-interface software techniques: Inheritance and dynamic dispatch, Prototyping languages and GUI builders. Choosing interaction styles (command line, menu, voice, gestural, WIMP) and interaction techniques, Choosing the right widget for users and tasks.

HCI aspects of screen design: layout, color, fonts, labeling, Handling human/system failure, Beyond simple screen design: visualization, representation, metaphor,

Multi-modal interaction: graphics, sound, and haptics, 3D interaction and virtual reality, Designing for small devices, e,g, cell phones, Multi-cultural interaction and communication.

Categorization and information architectures: hierarchies, grids, hypermedia , networks, Information retrieval and human performance, Web search, Usability of database query languages, Graphics, Sound, HCI design of multimedia information systems, Speech recognition and natural language processing, Information appliances and mobile computing, Interactive visualizations, Information design and navigation, Touch interfaces.

Interaction design for engaging interactive experiences, Presence, tele-presence and immersive environments Affective interaction and emotion, Ambient intelligence, Physical computing and embodied interaction.

Lectures, assignments, case studies and self-study.
End-of-course exam, mid-semester exam, in-class quizzes, mini group project.

  1. Preece, J, Yvonne, R and Helen, S (2007),Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  2. Alan, J D, Janet, E F, Gregory D A and Russell B (2004),Human-Computer Interaction, 3rd Edition, Prentice Hall.
  3. Ben, S, Catherine, P, Maxine, C and Steven, J (2010),Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction,5th Edition, Addison Wesley Higher Education.
  4. Jakob, N (1993),Usability Engineering, Academic Press.
  5. Jonathan, L (2006),Web Usability: A User-Centered Design Approach, 1st Edition, Addison-Wesley.
  6. Jakob, N (1999),Designing Web Usability, 1st Edition, Peachpit Press.
  7. Cooper, Aand Reimaan, R (2003),About Face 2.0:The Essential of Interaction Design, John Wiley.
  8. Isaacs, E and Walendowski, A (2001),Designing from Both Sides of the Screen: A Dialogue Between a Designer and an Engineer, Sams.
  9. Faulkner, X (2000),Usability Engineering, 1st Edition, Macmillan.
  10. Nielsen, J and Loranger, H (2006), Prioritizing Web Usability, 1st Edition, New Riders.