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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

This course looks at why a computer system that interacts with human beings needs to be usable. It covers a set of techniques that allow usability to be taken into account when a system is designed and implemented, and also a set of techniques to assess whether usability has been achieved. Weekly practical sessions allow students to practice these techniques. The assessed coursework (which is normally carried out by groups of students) gives an opportunity to go through the design process for a concrete computer system, with a particular focus on ensuring usability.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 2
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study Yes
  • Dr Nigel Beacham
  • Dr JP Vargheese

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either Programme Level 1 or Programme Level 2
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The need to consider usability, task analysis, contextual design, query techniques and focus groups, information architecture, types of interfaces, prototyping, analytical usability evaluation, evaluation of safety-critical systems, user testing, universal access, cross-cultural design and internationalisation, psychology of HCI, technical writing. Extra advanced topics may vary from year to year.

Further Information & Notes

(i) Assistive technologies may be required for any student who is unable to use a standard keyboard/mouse/computer monitor. Any students wishing to discuss this further should contact the School Disability Co-ordinator.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: 100% coursework comprising four different submissions each of 25% in the form of: a team project intermediate report and portfolio of item; an individual report on a topic in human computer interaction; a team final report and portfolio of items; and an individual reflective report.

Resit: Resits will comprise submitting relevant coursework for any failed, or missing submissions.
In order to pass this course, candidates must obtain a pass mark in the examination and in the overal combination of examination and continuous assessment.

Formative Assessment

Practical sessions will provide students with practice opportunities and formative assessment. The assessed coursework involves most of the students working in groups and learning as a result of the interactions that take place.


Formative feedback for in-course assessments will be provided in written form. Additionally, formative feedback on performance will be provided informally during practical sessions.

Course Learning Outcomes


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