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Monash University

FIT3063 Human-computer interaction - Semester 2, 2012

This unit provides a detailed understanding of the underpinning theories, principles and practices of interface design for computer-based systems. It examines issues in the design of system interfaces from a number of perspectives: user, programmer, designer. It explores the application of the relevant theories in practice. The unit will cover topics such as methods and tools for developing effective user interfaces, evaluation methods such as the conduct of usability and heuristic evaluations, design of appropriate interface elements including the design of menus and other interaction styles. The unit will also focus on designing for a diverse range of users and environments.

Mode of Delivery

  • Caulfield (Day)
  • Sunway (Day)
  • South Africa (Day)

Contact Hours

2 hrs lectures/wk, 2 hrs tutorial/wk


Students will be expected to spend a total of 12 hours per week during semester on this unit as follows:

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

Unit Relationships


CSE3030, FIT2016, FIT3033, GCO3814, IMS2403, IMS3470, MMS2403


One of FIT2001, FIT2027, IMS2805, CSE2200 or equivalent

Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer


Michael Smith

Consultation hours: To be advised

South Africa

Stella Ouma

Consultation hours: To be advised


Mylini Munusamy

Consultation hours: To be advised

Academic Overview


At the completion of this unit students will have -
A knowledge and understanding of:
  • the underpinning theories relevant to HCI;
  • the principles and practices of HCI in designing user interfaces;
  • the importance and role of usability and evaluation in systems design;
  • the issues relating to user diversity, different types of systems, interaction styles, devices and environments.
Developed attitudes that enable them to:
  • appreciate the development of systems from a user perspective;
  • differentiate between good HCI practice in systems development from other development practices;
  • formulate attitudes which enable them to interact effectively with users;
  • empathise with all users particularly those with specific needs.
Gained practical skills to:
  • recognise the principles of HCI design required in systems development;
  • gather user requirements effectively;
  • design an effective user interface;
  • conduct appropriate evaluation of systems from a HCI perspective and interpret the outcome.
Demonstrated the communication skills necessary to:
  • work in teams to complete assessment tasks;
  • empathise with users particularly those with some form of disability.

Graduate Attributes

Monash prepares its graduates to be:
  1. responsible and effective global citizens who:
    1. engage in an internationalised world
    2. exhibit cross-cultural competence
    3. demonstrate ethical values
  2. critical and creative scholars who:
    1. produce innovative solutions to problems
    2. apply research skills to a range of challenges
    3. communicate perceptively and effectively

Assessment Summary

Examination (3 hours): 50%; In-semester assessment: 50%

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Online discussion forums 15% Five forums each of approximately two weeks duration, throughout the semester.
Assignment 35% Stage 1 due in week 7; Stage 2 due in week 10; Stage 3 due in week 12.
Examination 1 50% To be advised

Teaching Approach

This teaching and learning approach provides facilitated learning, practical exploration and peer learning through a variety of activities.


Our feedback to You

Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:
  • Informal feedback on progress in labs/tutes
  • Graded assignments with comments
  • Other: Peer review of quiz questions

Your feedback to Us

Monash is committed to excellence in education and regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through SETU, Student Evaluation of Teacher and Unit. The University's student evaluation policy requires that every unit is evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys. The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

For more information on Monash's educational strategy, and on student evaluations, see:

Previous Student Evaluations of this unit

Over the years in which the unit has been running, students have reported an overall satisfaction with the content and presentation of the unit's material.

In response to student feedback, tutorial labs have been changed back to 2-hours in duration this semester.

If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to

Prescribed text(s)

Limited copies of prescribed texts are available for you to borrow in the library.

Rogers, Y. Sharp, H. and Preece, J.. (2011). Interaction Design: beyond human-computer interaction. (3rd) Wiley.

Unit Schedule

Week Activities Assessment
0   No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
1 Unit overview. Introduction to HCI, interfaces, usability and user-centred design. Human factors. Note: Tutorials will commence in week 1; Assessment Task 1: Online Discussion Forums: five forums each approx 2 weeks duration, throughout semester;
2 Evolution of the interface, understanding the design space, conceptual models, mental models, metaphors, icons.  
3 Theoretical foundations of HCI: theories, models, frameworks and principles.  
4 Interface design principles, guidelines, standards and style guides.  
5 Interface design processes and methods, user-centred design, prototyping.  
6 Interface design elements, graphical components, sound, sequencing, labels, messages.  
7 Interaction styles, command language, natural language, menus, forms, direct manipulation, virtual and augmented reality. Assessment Task 2: Submission of stage 1 of the assignment
8 Usability: usability principles, usability evaluation methods.  
9 Accessibility: accessibility guidelines, assistive technologies.  
10 Interaction devices: input and output devices, performance evaluation. Assessment Task 2: Submission of stage 2 of the assignment
11 Designing for the Web and Web 2.0. Presentations of stage 2 of the assignment
12 Future of HCI. Presentations of stage 2 of the assignment;Assessment Task 2: Submission of stage 3 of the assignment.
  Examination period LINK to Assessment Policy: http://policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/

*Unit Schedule details will be maintained and communicated to you via your MUSO (Blackboard or Moodle) learning system.

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Policy

Faculty Policy - Unit Assessment Hurdles (http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/staff/edgov/policies/assessment-examinations/unit-assessment-hurdles.html)

Academic Integrity - Please see the Demystifying Citing and Referencing tutorial at http://lib.monash.edu/tutorials/citing/

Assessment Tasks


  • Assessment task 1
    Online discussion forums
    Students are required to participate throughout the semester in online discussion forums that will be available through the unit's Moodle site.
    Criteria for assessment:

    Criteria for assessment will be based on:

    • relevance of contributions and
    • evidence of wider reading and
    • level of critical thinking.

    More details will be made available in the task specification.

    Due date:
    Five forums each of approximately two weeks duration, throughout the semester.
  • Assessment task 2
    Students will be required to form groups to design and develop a low-level of an application (stage 1), a high-level prototype of this application (stage 2) and then evaluate the high-level prototype (stage 3).
    • 5% for the design of a low-level prototype (Stage 1).
    • 20% (15% + 5%) - 15% for the design of a high-level prototype and report on the process; 5% for the presentation of the prototype in the tutorials in Weeks 11 and 12 (Stage 2).
    • 10% for the evaluation of the high-level prototype (Stage 3).
    Criteria for assessment:

    In this assignment students will demonstrate their knowledge, skills and understanding of the principles and theories covered through the semester.

    Contributions by individual group members to the overall group submission will be recorded by each group member and will be assessed by the markers in determining the grade awarded to each member of a group.  

    Due date:
    Stage 1 due in week 7; Stage 2 due in week 10; Stage 3 due in week 12.
    Groups will be finalised by Week 5 of semester and all group members must belong to the same tutorial. Forming groups across tutorials will not be allowed.


  • Examination 1
    3 hours
    Type (open/closed book):
    Closed book
    Electronic devices allowed in the exam:

Assignment submission

It is a University requirement (http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/conduct/plagiarism-procedures.html) for students to submit an assignment coversheet for each assessment item. Faculty Assignment coversheets can be found at http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/forms/. Please check with your Lecturer on the submission method for your assignment coversheet (e.g. attach a file to the online assignment submission, hand-in a hard copy, or use an online quiz).

Online submission

If Electronic Submission has been approved for your unit, please submit your work via the VLE site for this unit, which you can access via links in the my.monash portal.

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

Other Information


Student services

The University provides many different kinds of support services for you. Contact your tutor if you need advice and see the range of services available at www.monash.edu.au/students. For Sunway see http://www.monash.edu.my/Student-services, and for South Africa see http://www.monash.ac.za/current/

The Monash University Library provides a range of services and resources that enable you to save time and be more effective in your learning and research. Go to http://www.lib.monash.edu.au or the library tab in my.monash portal for more information. At Sunway, visit the Library and Learning Commons at http://www.lib.monash.edu.my/. At South Africa visit http://www.lib.monash.ac.za/.

Academic support services may be available for students who have a disability or medical condition. Registration with the Disability Liaison Unit is required. Further information is available as follows:

  • Website: http://monash.edu/equity-diversity/disability/index.html;
  • Email: dlu@monash.edu
  • Drop In: Equity and Diversity Centre, Level 1 Gallery Building (Building 55), Monash University, Clayton Campus, or Student Community Services Department, Level 2, Building 2, Monash University, Sunway Campus
  • Telephone: 03 9905 5704, or contact the Student Advisor, Student Commuity Services at 03 55146018 at Sunway

Reading list

Shneiderman, B. (2010) Designing the User Interface. Fifth Edition. Addison-Wesley.

Norman, Donald (1998) The Design of Everyday Things, MIT Press.

Cooper, A., Reimann, R. & Cronin, D. (2007) About Face #: The Essentials of Interaction design, John Wiley

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