User interfaces

Syllabus Spring 2016


Course Description | Course Objectives| Learning Materials | Class Procedures | Assessment and grading


Jaana Holvikivi, DSc. 

Course Description

Core content level learning outcomes (knowledge and understanding)

Introduction to the ergonomics of computer user intefaces, the fundamentals of GUI's, usability, learnalibility, performance. Developing Web & Windows-based user interfaces. User-centered development process. Usability evaluation based on user centered design principles.

Core content level learning outcomes (skills)

The student knows the generic structure and deployment of graphical user interfaces. The student is able to evaluate the usability, performance and ease of learning of user interfaces.

The student acquires an ability to design and implement ergonomic, user friendly software applications and interactive Web pages using some GUI design tool and taking into account human-centered design principles and user experience.

Additional knowledge and skills

Knowledge of UI standards: ISO 9241 provides requirements and recommendations relating to the attributes of the hardware, software and environment that contribute to usability, and the ergonomic principles underlying them.

Lessons & Laboratory practice: 35 hours, 5 hours/ week


Course Objectives

Prerequisites: Programming
Additional skills needed: HTML, CSS, Web programming basics


Learning materials

Recommended reading

R.S. Bridger, Introduction to Ergonomics, Third Edition. 2008. Hants, UK. CRC Press

Irmeli Sinkkonen, Hannu Kuoppala, Jarmo Parkkinen, Raino Vastamäki: Psychology of Usability. Edita Publishing Oy, 2005

Sampsa Hyysalo: Health technology development and use. 2010.

Nielsen, Jakob & Hoa Lorqanger. 2006. Prioritizing Web Usability, New Riders Publishing.

Braun, Gadney, Haughey, Roselli, Synstelien, Walter, Wertheimer.2003. Usability: The Site Speaks for Itself .


Nielsen, Jakob. Usability Engineering, Morgan Kaufmann. 1994. ISBN 0-12-518406-9

Cooper, Alan. 1995. About face. The essentials of user interface design. IDG Books.

Materials on the Web:


About Web programming and development tools:

The World Wide Web Consortium
W3schools: HTML, CSS, XML and scripting tutorials
Webdeveloper. com: JavaScript, HTML, design etc. resources
The Yahoo! User Interface Library (YUI)

Sketchflow by Microsoft
UI patterns for web design, a collection

Design tools



Class procedures

Learning methods: Design and inplementation of assignments, learning log, and a small interface design and testing project. Students compile an evaluation report on their learning during the course: the report contains a summary of main course topics, and how the understanding of usability has developed after each session of the course.

Attendance to the lessons is compulsory. Most work is done in teams in the laboratory sessions. All assignments have to be completed.

Projects are prepared in teams of 2 or 3 students, and presented during the last sessions. The features of the draft interface have to be tested with an other team.

Assessment and Grading

Your grade will be calculated on the basis of the total points given for various assessment components. Each component gets points as shown below, 0 means "failed". All the components must be passed to get credit for the course. Note the time management - late deliverables will be penalized.

Points max.
Usability 5
Site walk-throughs 12 + 2
Mobile devices 5
Interactive site assessment 12
Ergonomics 5
Project 15
Testing report 5
Personal report 15
Points Grade
25-30 1
31-36 2
37-42 3
43-48 4
49- 5

Project deliverables are assessed according to the following criteria:  analysis of requirements and users, usability testing, creativity, design and programming, user interface qualities.

Due Dates

Deliverables which are late or missing will be penalized. Due dates may be changed for compelling reasons. The students are  responsible for making change arrangements with the instructor before the work is due. 

Academic Integrity

Dishonesty is not part of academic and professional work. Dishonesty includes e.g.: 

To avoid any misinterpretations, make sure that all work that you hand in includes a list of authors: the team members.




Created by: Jaana Holvikivi
Updated: 16.3.2016