Department of Computer Science and Technology

Course pages 2017–18

Interaction Design

Principal lecturers: Dr Hatice Gunes, Prof Alan Blackwell
Taken by: Part IA CST 75%, Part IB CST 50%
Past exam questions

No. of lectures and practical classes: 8 + 7
Suggested hours of supervisions: 2
Prerequisite courses: Java
This course is a prerequisite for Human-Computer Interaction (Part II)


The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to interaction design, with an emphasis on understanding and experiencing the user interface design process from requirements and data gathering to implementation and evaluation, while gaining an understanding of the background to human factors. This course focuses equally on design and implementation.


  • Overview and requirements analysis. Introduction to the course and the practicals. Participatory design process. Identifying potential users and understanding their tasks. Identifying and establishing non-functional and functional requirements. Socio-technical Models and Soft Systems Methodology.

  • Data gathering. Data collection techniques: Observation, interviews, card sorting, questionnaires, studying documentation, focus groups, contextual inquiry, scenarios / use cases, and researching similar products. Quantitative and qualitative analysis.

  • Design and prototyping. Participatory design process. Conceptual versus physical design. Concept development. Prototyping and different kinds of prototypes. Personas and storyboards. Task models.

  • Case studies from the industry. Guest lecture.

  • Principles of good design. Shneiderman’s golden rules of interface design. Overview of other design principles/rules.

  • Human cognition for interaction design. The Model human processor. Attention, perception/recognition, memory, context and grouping, and their implications for interaction design. Gestalt Laws of perceptual organisation.

  • GOMS & Hick’s Law and Fitts’s Law Definition and use of GOMS in interaction design. Definition and use of Hicks law / Fitts law.

  • Heuristic evaluation. The process of Heuristic Evaluation (HE): Pre-evaluation training, evaluation, severity ratings, and feedback into design. Ten usability Heuristics with definitions and practical examples.
    Cognitive walkthrough. The process of cognitive walkthrough: Defining inputs, stepping through action sequences, recording information, and revising the user interface.

  • Student (group) presentations


By the end of the course students should

  • have a thorough understanding of the iterative design process and be able to apply it to interaction design;

  • be able to design new user interfaces that are informed by principles of good design, and the principles of human visual and affective perception, cognition and communication;

  • be able to construct user interfaces using Java with a strong emphasis on users, usability and appearance;

  • be able to evaluate existing or new user interfaces using multiple techniques;

  • be able to compare and contrast different design techniques and to critique their applicability to new domains.

Recommended reading

* Preece, J., Rogers, Y. & Sharp, H. (2015). Interaction design. Wiley (4th ed.).