MMS9008 - Semester 2 , 2006 unit guide

Semester 2, 2006

Chief Examiner

Kirsten Ellis


Caulfield : Kirsten Ellis


This unit will provide a detailed understanding of the principles and practices involved in the creation and implementation of user-centred interaction with multimedia products and systems in business, entertainment, education and social environments. Focus will be on the development of multimedia that enhances the efficiency, safety, functionality usability and the aesthetic appeal of the user experience with multimedia at the interface between the user and the technology that is the development of technologies, tools, which aid the human mind (cognitive artifacts). This unit will explore both technologically determinist arguments and the socially deterministic ways in which technology might conform to human use and abilities.

Topics to be covered include: cognitive psychology, ergonomics, health and safety issues relating to interaction, interface design and implementation, evaluation and testing, affective aspects of technology, social implications of Human-Multimedia (Computer) interaction.


Knowledge and Understanding


  • have knowledge of the concepts of cognitive science and the physiology of human perception and the importance of these disciplines to interface design for multimedia systems and products
  • understand the importance of psychological characteristics and capabilities of the user in the design and implementation of multimedia interfaces
  • appreciate the principles of user-centred interface design and the ways in which they might be implemented


Attitudes, Values and Beliefs


  • appreciate importance of the role of the interface designer/developer as the mediator between the multimedia product and the user
  • appreciate the importance of ergonomic, health and safety issues in the development of user-centric multimedia interfaces


Practical Skills


  • students will construct multimedia products and systems using principles of user-centred interface design
  • design, create and implement interfaces appropriate to both content and context
  • identify and evaluate the cognitive, physical and social contexts in which the user will interact with a multimedia product or system
  • evaluate existing interfaces in relation to user-centric principles


Relationships, Communication and TeamWork


  • design with an understanding of the effects of their own cultural/social background and preconceptions
  • evaluate their own and others interface design and implementation in relation to user-centric principles
  • enable them to design, create and implement interface systems appropriate for use by individuals from diverse educational, social and cultural backgrounds and diverse cognitive styles



Before attempting this unit you must have satisfactorily completed MMS9402 (non Masters of Multimedia students), or equivalent.

Unit relationships

It is a prerequisite/corequisite for Before attempting this unit you must have satisfactorily completed MMS9402 (non Masters of Multimedia students), or equivalent..

You may not study this unit and IMS5302, MMS2403 in your degree.


Texts and software

Required text(s)

Benyon, D., Turner, P., Turner, S. Designing Interactive Systems: People, Activities, Contexts, Technologies Harlow, England: Addison-Wesley 2005 ISBN: 0 321 11629 1

“The book draws on the authors’ extensive experience in research and teaching. A self-contained introduction to the area is followed by a systematic discussion of the influence of human psychology on the design of interactive systems, illustrated by many real-world examples. Next, a practical scenario-based design method and techniques are presented. Later sections treat hot topics such as affective computing, social navigation and computer supported co-operative work. A range of current methods, including contextual design and the latest thinking in evaluation, are treated in detail. These more advanced, research-led chapters encourage the reader to reflect critically on the domain as a whole.” (quote from back cover)



Textbook availability

Text books are available from the Monash University Book Shops. Availability from other suppliers cannot be assured. The Bookshop orders texts in specifically for this unit. You are advised to purchase your text book early.

Software requirements

Graphic Development: Photoshop CS and Illustrator CS/CS2

Template Development: Director MX

Students can access these packages during the tutorials in the computer labs or studios.

Hardware requirements

Students studying off-campus are required to have the minimum system configuration specified by the Faculty as a condition of accepting admission, and regular Internet access. On-campus students, and those studying at supported study locations may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook.

Recommended reading

The following recommended texts are available from the Berwick library. Dix, A., Finlay, J., Abowd, G.B., Beale, R. (2004) Human-Computer Interaction (3rd Edition) Harlow, England: Prentice Hall ISBN: 0130-461091

As humans are limited in their capacity to process information, this has important implications for design. The changes in computing technology and delivery of information are happening at a rapid rate. “The excitement of these changes is captured in this new edition, which also looks forward to other emerging technologies. However, the book is firmly rooted in strong principles and models independent of the passing technologies of the day: these foundations will be the means by which today’s students will understand tomorrow’s technology.” (quote from dust jacket) Lauesen, S. (2005) User Interface Design – A Software Engineering Perspective Harlow, England: Addison Wesley ISBN: 0 321 18143 3 “Designing the user interface is a key part in the development of any computer system. The designer needs to ensure that the system has adequate usability – it must do what is required and be easy to use. This book shows you how to design the user interface in a systematic and practical way. It bridges the gap between traditional programming perspectives, which often see the user interface as an afterthought, and human-computer interaction approaches, which are more user-centric but give little guidance on screen design and system approaches.” (from dust jacket)

Christine Faulkner (1998) The Essence of Human-Computer Interaction ISBN: 0-13-751975-3 This is a complete, practical guide to building computer systems that interact well with human beings and serve their needs.This inter-disciplinary guide to human computer interaction covers all the topics system designers need to know about, including human psychology, cognitive science and artificial intelligence. It includes many examples from everyday life and contemporary computer systems, as well as a wide variety of real-world interfacing problems and solutions, and practical experiments. It also contains up-to-date coverage of ergonomics and other health, safety and social issues associated with computer use.This book will be of interest to all computing and "human factors" professionals (quoted from Donald Norman, The Design of Everyday Things (1998), ISBN: 0262640376 This book is intended to make you aware of the problems of design and encourage you to be actively interested in improving things. Steven Johnson (1997) Interface Culture, ISBN 3608919805 Johnson said during one interview about his book: One of the things that attracted me to the whole premise of Interface Culture was the opportunity to write about a medium in embryo, teetering on the brink of becoming a fully realized form but not all the way there yet. ( Jeff Raskin (2000) The Humane Interface ISBN: 0201379376 Raskin observes that our honeymoon with digital technology is over: We are tired of having to learn huge, arcane programs to do even the simplest of tasks; we have had our fill of crashing computers; and we are fatigued by the continual pressure to upgrade. The Humane Interface delivers a way for computers, information appliances, and other technology-driven products to continue to advance in power and expand their range of applicability, while becoming free of the hassles and obscurities that plague present products (taken from Supplementary Library Resources Carroll, J.M. (ed) (2002) Human-computer interaction in the new millenium Call No: 004.019 C319H 2002 Cooper, A. (2004) The inmates are running the asylum [Rev. ed.] Indianapolis, IN : Sams Dix, Finlay, Abowd, Beale (2004) Human-Computer Interaction 3rd Edition Call No: 004.019 D619H 2004 Head, A.J. (1999) Design wise : a guide for evaluating the interface design of information resources Call No: 004.019 H432D 1999 Kristof, R. & Satran, A. (1995) Interactivity by design : creating & communicating with new media Call No: 741.6 KRI Laurel, B. (ed) (1990) The Art of human-computer interface design Call No: 004.019 L378A 1990 Mok, C. (1996) Designing business : multiple media, multiple disciplines Call No: 658.05 M716D 1996 Shneiderman, B. (1998) Designing the user interface : strategies for effective human-computer interaction (3rd edition) Call No: 004.019 S558D 1998 Qiyang Chen (ed) (2001) Human computer interaction : issues and challenges Call No: 004.019 C518H 2001


Library access

You may need to access the Monash library either personally to be able to satisfactorily complete the subject.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.

Study resources

Study resources for MMS9008 are:

The MMS2304 web site on MUSO, where lecture slides, weekly tutorial requirements, assignment specifications and supplementary material will be posted.

Newsgroups/discussion groups that can be linked to from the Unit Homepage

Postings include:
Additional Detailed Assessment and Syllabus Information (posted on MUSO)
Weekly Focus Questions and Tutorial Notes (posted on MUSO)
Assessment Task Templates and Instructions (posted on MUSO)
Additional Internet Readings (posted on MUSO)

Structure and organisation

Week Topics Key Dates
1 Introducion
2 Visual Perception & Design
3 Interface Design
4 User-Centred Design
5 Information Design Assessment Task 1 Due 12noon Tuesday
6 Task-Centred Design
7 Interaction Design
8 Interface Design II Assessment Task 2 Due 12noon Tuesday
9 Usability
10 Game Interface Design
Non teaching week
11 Testing & Evaluation
12 Ergonomics, Health & Safety Assessment Task 3 Due 12 noon Tuesday
13 Review


The timetable for on-campus classes for this unit can be viewed in Allocate+


Assessment weighting

Assessment for the unit consists of 3 assignments with a weighting of 75% and an examination with a weighting of 25%. Read this section VERY carefully.

Assessment 1 (20%)

Design an electronic prototype of an interface that maps an information structure onto a visual metaphor including 3 screens and a short justification of the metaphor used and the specifying the formatting of major screen elements.

Assessment 2 (25%)

Design, document and create a Wizard to guide a user through a five to ten step process, in the Director template supplied. Each step will consist of one or more choices or interactions and you will need to display three examples of the results of user selections at the conclusion of the process. A short statement detailing the task, the steps in the process and some sample outcomes, and the specifying the formatting of major screen elements (duplicate from roll over descriptions in the template), will also be required.

Assessment 3 (30%)

Design and implement an interface based on a period of art ,OR a game genre, including five screen types, rollovers and descriptions of all screen elements, in the Director template supplied. A short statement detailing the graphic design decisions made, the graphic design conventions used, and the specifying the formatting of major screen elements (duplicate from roll over descriptions in the template), will also be required.

Exam (25%)

An examination based on the content delivered in lectures, tutorials, the set text and set readings.

A full description of the assessment tasks and the marking criteria can be found on the MMS2403 web site on MUSO.

Assessment Policy

To pass this unit you must:

To pass this unit you must:


Must attempt all assessment tasks.

Must obtain a total score from all assessment tasks of 50% or more.

Must attend a minimum of 80% of both lectures and tutorials, unless medical certificates are provided.

Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

The final grade will be calculated by adding individual scores for all component assessment items which may be scaled.

Assessment Feedback – Raw Scores

In assessment feedback you will be allocated a raw score that will indicate your general level of performance aginst the criteria supplied and will be used to determine the rank order of students. You will also be given a short comment that may assist you in the completion of future assignments by discussing the aspects of the assessment response that were completed to a high standard and areas that may be improved.

Scaling of Raw Scores

When raw scores for all assessment tasks are combined the total raw score may be scaled. The scaling of raw scores will not effect your rank order in relation to other students. Scaling of raw scores is intended to provide consistency of assessment outcomes across units within the degree and across courses within the university.

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Due Date Weighting
Metaphor-based Interface Design Task (1) Tuesday 12 noon Week 5 20%
Task Wizard Interface Design Task (2) Tuesday 12 noon Week 8 25 %
Art Period or Game Interface Design Task (3) Tuesday 12 noon Week 12 30 %
Examination 2 hour(s), closed book Exam period (S2/06) starts on 23/10/06 25 %

Assignment specifications will be made available Assignment specifications will be made available Posted on Unit MUSO site. Information about assignments will be published on the Unit's Notices Newsgroup..

Assignment Submission

Assignments will be submitted by electronic (a labelled CD) and paper (documentation only) submission to Assignment boxes in Building 903 Level 1. On-campus Students Submit the assignment to the Assignment boxes in Building 903 Level 1 by the appropriate submission date, with the appropriate cover sheet correctly filled out and attached. The due date is the date by which the submission must be received.

Extensions and late submissions

Late submission of assignments

Assignments received after the due date will be subject to a penalty of a 10% reduction in grade for each day (including weekends) the assisnment is late. LAte submissions MUST be time stamped and initialled when submitted. Assignments received later than one week after the due date will not normally be accepted.

This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment.

This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment. 


It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. 

Requests for extensions must be made by using the standard SMS 'Extension Request' to their unit adviser, at least two days before the due date. You will be asked to forward original medical certificates in cases of illness, and may be asked to provide other forms of documentation where necessary. A copy of the email or other written communication of an extension must be attached to the assignment submission.

Grading of assessment

Assignments, and the unit, will be marked and allocated a grade according to the following scale:

Grade Percentage/description
HD High Distinction - very high levels of achievement, demonstrated knowledge and understanding, skills in application and high standards of work encompassing all aspects of the tasks.
In the 80+% range of marks for the assignment.
D Distinction - high levels of achievement, but not of the same standards. May have a weakness in one particular aspect, or overall standards may not be quite as high.
In the 70-79% range.
C Credit - sound pass displaying good knowledge or application skills, but some weaknesses in the quality, range or demonstration of understanding.
In the 60-69% range.
P Pass acceptable standard, showing an adequate basic knowledge, understanding or skills, but with definite limitations on the extent of such understanding or application. Some parts may be incomplete.
In the 50-59% range.
N Not satisfactory failure to meet the basic requirements of the assessment.
Below 50%.

Assignment return

We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment receipt.


Feedback to you

You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This feedback may be provided through your participation in tutorials and class discussions, as well as through your assignment submissions. It may come in the form of individual advice, marks and comments, or it may be provided as comment or reflection targeted at the group. It may be provided through personal interactions, such as interviews and on-line forums, or through other mechanisms such as on-line self-tests and publication of grade distributions.

Feedback from you

You will be asked to provide feedback to the Faculty through a Unit Evaluation survey at the end of the semester. You may also be asked to complete surveys to help teaching staff improve the unit and unit delivery. Your input to such surveys is very important to the faculty and the teaching staff in maintaining relevant and high quality learning experiences for our students.

And if you are having problems

It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem with your study. The semester is short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

Plagiarism and cheating

Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.


Communication methods

For ALL e-mail communication please preface the subject with: MMS2403 - then subject

Due to the nature of the assessment tasks students will need to make an appointment to see the lecturer during their consultation times, as often issues need to be demonstrated for a better understanding of the problem (particularly when using templates).


Notices related to the unit during the semester will be placed on the Notices Newsgroup in the Unit Website. Check this regularly. Failure to read the Notices newsgroup is not regarded as grounds for special consideration.

Consultation Times


If direct communication with your unit adviser/lecturer or tutor outside of consultation periods is needed you may contact the lecturer and/or tutors at:

Mrs Kirsten Ellis
Lecturer Part-time
Phone +61 3 990 47132
Fax +61 3 990 47125

All email communication to you from your lecturer will occur through your Monash student email address. Please ensure that you read it regularly, or forward your email to your main address. Also check that your contact information registered with the University is up to date in My.Monash.

Last updated: Jul 24, 2006