CSE5930 User interface design and programming - Semester 2 , 2007

Unit leader :

Judy Sheard

Lecturer(s) :


  • Judy Sheard

Tutors(s) :


  • Michael Smith
  • Judy Sheard


Welcome to CSE5930 User Interface Design and Programming for semester 2, 2007. CSE5930 is an elective unit in the Master of Information Technology degree and other Masters degrees in FIT. The human-computer interface is an important component of most computer applications. Knowledge of and practice in interface design are important skills for IT professionals.

Unit synopsis

The aim of this unit is to provide an understanding of human-computer interface design and development. Students will gain an appreciation of the history of user interfaces and graphical user interface systems (GUIs) and the future directions in user interfaces. The unit will enable students to gain theoretical and practical understanding of human computer interaction (HCI) principles and guidelines, GUI design and evaluation, event-drive programming and standard interaction metaphors, using Visual Basic.NET.

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this unit a student should be able to:

  • Understand basic human-computer interaction principles;
  • Understand the need for user-centred design;
  • Know and be able to apply good interface design;
  • Be able to evaluate user interfaces using established criteria;
  • Have experience designing and building an interface according to established design guidelines, using a contemporary programming language.


The workload commitments are:

  • two-hour lecture each week;

  • two-hour tutorial each week in a computer laboratory; and 

  • a minimum of 2-3 hours of personal study per one hour of contact time in order to satisfy the reading and assignment expectations.

Unit relationships


There are no prerequisites for this unit.


For further details about CSE5930 refer to the Monash Handbook entry for this unit at: http://www.monash.edu.au/pubs/2006handbooks/units/CSE5930.html

For information about the course you are enrolled in refer to the Postgraduate Handbook at: http://www.monash.edu.au/pubs/handbook/postgrad/

Continuous improvement

Monash is committed to ‘Excellence in education' and strives for the highest possible quality in teaching and learning. To monitor how successful we are in providing quality teaching and learning Monash regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. Two of the formal ways that you are invited to provide feedback are through Unit Evaluations and through Monquest Teaching Evaluations.

One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through Unit Evaluation Surveys. It is Monash policy for every unit offered to be evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys as they are an important avenue for students to "have their say". The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

Student Evaluations

The Faculty of IT administers the Unit Evaluation surveys online through the my.monash portal, although for some smaller classes there may be alternative evaluations conducted in class.

If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to http://www.monash.edu.au/unit-evaluation-reports/

Over the past few years the Faculty of Information Technology has made a number of improvements to its courses as a result of unit evaluation feedback. Some of these include systematic analysis and planning of unit improvements, and consistent assignment return guidelines.

Monquest Teaching Evaluation surveys may be used by some of your academic staff this semester. They are administered by the Centre for Higher Education Quality (CHEQ) and may be completed in class with a facilitator or on-line through the my.monash portal. The data provided to lecturers is completely anonymous. Monquest surveys provide academic staff with evidence of the effectiveness of their teaching and identify areas for improvement. Individual Monquest reports are confidential, however, you can see the summary results of Monquest evaluations for 2006 at http://www.adm.monash.edu.au/cheq/evaluations/monquest/profiles/index.html

Unit staff - contact details

Unit leader

Dr Judithe Sheard
Senior Lecturer
Phone +61 3 990 32701
Fax +61 3 990 31077

Lecturer(s) :

Dr Judithe Sheard
Senior Lecturer
Phone +61 3 990 32701
Fax +61 3 990 31077

Tutor(s) :

Dr Judithe Sheard
Senior Lecturer
Phone +61 3 990 32701
Fax +61 3 990 31077
Mr Michael Smith

Teaching and learning method

This unit will be delivered via a 2 hour lecture and a 2 hour tutorial class each week. Lectures will be used to present fundamental models and theories of interface design, and explain the principles and guidelines for interface design, development and evaluation. Lectures will also be used to describe interaction styles, interaction tools and interface design elements. Tutorials will be used for practical experience in the evaluation of graphical user interfaces and in the development of a graphical user interface using a programming tool.

Tutorial allocation

Students should register for tutorials/laboratories using Allocate+.

Communication, participation and feedback

Monash aims to provide a learning environment in which students receive a range of ongoing feedback throughout their studies. You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This may take the form of group feedback, individual feedback, peer feedback, self-comparison, verbal and written feedback, discussions (on line and in class) as well as more formal feedback related to assignment marks and grades. You are encouraged to draw on a variety of feedback to enhance your learning.

It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem that is affecting your study. Semesters are 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.

Unit Schedule

Week Topic Key dates
1 Introduction to HCI  
2 HCI - theories and models  
3 User interfaces - history and design processes  
4 Interface design principles and guidelines  
5 Usability  
6 Interaction styles  
7 Accessibility Project - part 1
8 Graphical user interface components; development tools  
9 Graphical design elements  
10 Interaction devices and human factors Project - part 2
Mid semester break
11 Hypermedia and the World Wide Web  
12 Training and help; future of user interfaces Project - part 3
13 Revision  

Unit Resources

Prescribed text(s) and readings

There are no prescribed text books. 

Recommended text(s) and readings

Sharp, H., Rogers, Y. & Preece, J. (2007). Interaction Design: beyond human-computer  interaction. Hoboken, New Jersey, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.  Covers a  range of topics on human-computer interaction including interface design, usability and evaluation. A particular focus is on the design of interactive technologies to enhance communication and collaboration.

Shneiderman, B., & Plaisant, C. (2005). Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (Fourth ed.). USA: Pearson Education, Inc. Covers issues in the development of user interfaces including design, implementation, managing, maintaining, training and refining the user interface of interactive systems.

Prince, A. (2005). Murach's Visual Basic (2005). Fresno, California, USA: Mike Murach & Associates, Inc. Introduction to the Visual Basic programming language and the.NET framework. Guide to the development of applications using VB .NET.

Carroll, J. M. (2002). Human-Computer Interaction in the New Millenium. New York, New York, USA. Comprises a collection of chapters based on articles from special issues of ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction and Human-Computer  Interaction and original contributions describing the latest work in HCI.

Cooper, A., & Reimann, R. (2003). About Face 2.0: The Essentials of Interaction Design. Indianapolis, Indiana, USA: Wiley Publishing, Inc. Written as a reference guide on the principles and methods of interaction design, with particular emphasis on the design of complex, user-focused behaviours of interactive systems.

Norman, D. A. (1998). The Design of Everyday Things. New York, New York, USA: Basic Books. Explains the design of everyday objects from a cognitive psychology perspective.  Although the focus of the discussion is on a variety of objects, the design principles can be applied to the design of user interfaces.

Required software and/or hardware

In this unit we will use Visual Basic (2005 version) within the Visual Studio 2005 development environment and Microsoft Access 2003. This software is installed in the computer labs on the Caulfield campus. The Visual Studio 2005 software is available on loan from the FIT Service desk on the ground floor of K Block, Caulfield campus.

Equipment and consumables required or provided

Students in this unit 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.

Study resources

Study resources we will provide for your study are:

  • Weekly lecture notes;
  • Weekly tutorial exercises;
  • Weekly readings from the recommended texts;
  • Assignment specifications;
  • A sample examination;
  • Discussion group;
  • This Unit Guide outlining the administrative information for the unit; and
  • This unit web site on MUSO, where resources outlined above will be made available

Library access

The Monash University Library site contains details about borrowing rights and catalogue searching. To learn more about the library and the various resources available, please go to http://www.lib.monash.edu.au.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.

Monash University Studies Online (MUSO)

All unit and lecture materials are available through the MUSO (Monash University Studies Online) site. You can access this site by going to:

  1. a) https://muso.monash.edu.au or
  2. b) via the portal (http://my.monash.edu.au).

Click on the Study and enrolment tab, then the MUSO hyperlink.

In order for your MUSO unit(s) to function correctly, your computer needs to be correctly configured.

For example :

  • MUSO supported browser
  • Supported Java runtime environment

For more information, please visit


You can contact the MUSO Support by: Phone: (+61 3) 9903 1268

For further contact information including operational hours, please visit


Further information can be obtained from the MUSO support site:



Unit assessment policy

The unit is assessed with project work in three parts and a three hour closed book examination. To pass the unit you must: 

  • achieve no less than 40% of the total possible marks for the project work
  • achieve no less than 40% of the possible marks in the exam
  • achieve no less than 50% of possible marks

Assignment tasks

  • Assignment Task
    Title :
    Project - parts 1, 2 and 3
    Description :

    Part 1 - a heuristic evaluation of an interface

    Part 2 - creation of an interface

    Part 2 - essay

    Weighting :
    Project part 1 - 20%, part 2 - 15% and part 3 - 15%
    Criteria for assessment :
    The criteria for assessment will be provided with the project specification.
    Due date :
    Weeks 7, 10 and 12 respectively


  • Examination
    Weighting :
    Length :
    3 hours
    Type ( open/closed book ) :
    closed book

Assignment submission

Projects will be submitted on the dates specified in the project specifications. Further information about the submission procedures will be provided with the project specifications.

Assignment coversheets

Your project submissions must be have the appropriate Assignment Cover Sheet correctly filled out and attached. These are available from the Caulfield School of Information Technology office on level 6 of building H.

University and Faculty policy on assessment

Due dates and extensions

The due dates for the submission of assignments are given in the previous section. Please make every effort to submit work by the due dates. 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. Students are advised to NOT assume that granting of an extension is a matter of course.

Late assignment

Projects received after the due date will be subject to a penalty of 10% per day of the possible marks.

Return dates

Students can expect assignments to be returned within two weeks of the submission date or after receipt, whichever is later.

Assessment for the unit as a whole is in accordance with the provisions of the Monash University Education Policy at:


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

Plagiarism, cheating and collusion

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 (http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/about/committees-groups/facboard/policies/studrights.html) 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.

Register of counselling about plagiarism

The university requires faculties to keep a simple and confidential register to record counselling to students about plagiarism (e.g. warnings). The register is accessible to Associate Deans Teaching (or nominees) and, where requested, students concerned have access to their own details in the register. The register is to serve as a record of counselling about the nature of plagiarism, not as a record of allegations; and no provision of appeals in relation to the register is necessary or applicable.

Non-discriminatory language

The Faculty of Information Technology is committed to the use of non-discriminatory language in all forms of communication. Discriminatory language is that which refers in abusive terms to gender, race, age, sexual orientation, citizenship or nationality, ethnic or language background, physical or mental ability, or political or religious views, or which stereotypes groups in an adverse manner. This is not meant to preclude or inhibit legitimate academic debate on any issue; however, the language used in such debate should be non-discriminatory and sensitive to these matters. It is important to avoid the use of discriminatory language in your communications and written work. The most common form of discriminatory language in academic work tends to be in the area of gender inclusiveness. You are, therefore, requested to check for this and to ensure your work and communications are non-discriminatory in all respects.

Students with disabilities

Students with disabilities that may disadvantage them in assessment should seek advice from one of the following before completing assessment tasks and examinations:

Deferred assessment and special consideration

Deferred assessment (not to be confused with an extension for submission of an assignment) may be granted in cases of extenuating personal circumstances such as serious personal illness or bereavement. Special consideration in the awarding of grades is also possible in some circumstances. Information and forms for Special Consideration and deferred assessment applications are available at http://www.monash.edu.au/exams/special-consideration.html. Contact the Faculty's Student Services staff at your campus for further information and advice.