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Monash University

FIT5152 User interface design and usability - Semester 2, 2013

This unit provides detailed understanding of user interface design principles and practices and usability for computer-based systems. The principles, guidelines and standards for incorporating human factors in computer interface design are explored. The unit examines issues in interface design and usability from various perspectives and how to manage this during systems development. It explores contemporary issues including: background and underpinning theories, guidelines and standards, design processes and implementation in practice, user interface evaluation methods, interface styles and componential design. The application of HCI design in other environments such as virtual reality and mobile devices will be covered.

Mode of Delivery

  • Caulfield (Evening)
  • South Africa (Day)

Contact Hours

2 hrs lectures/wk, 1.5 hr laboratory/wk

Workload requirements

The unit is an on-campus unit and as such is structured, taught and assessed on the assumption that ALL students who choose to enrol can, and will, attend ALL classes and in particular tutorials where participation will be assessed.

This is a 6 point unit which, according to University guidelines, requires you to spend 12 hours of work per lecture/tutorial on it (a total of at least 144 hours per semester).

The anticipated workload is:

  • 2 hours per week lecture (commencing July 31st, 2013), and
  • 1.5 hours per week tutorial/laboratory (commencing August 7th, 2013)

 Plus approximately:

  • 5.5 hours per lecture/tutorial on preparation, online contributions and assignments, and 
  • 3 hours per lecture/tutorial minimum on additional reading.

Unit Relationships


FIT4063, IMS5302, CSE5930

Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer


Julie Fisher

Consultation hours: 4-6 Wednesday

South Africa

Stella Ouma



To be advised

Academic Overview

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this unit students should be able to:
  • understand from a management as well as technology perspective how the theories, guidelines and standards can be incorporated into the design of user interfaces;
  • understand and apply the principles of interface design relating to HCI, this includes recognising good and bad examples;
  • apply the standards, principles and theories in practice.
  • develop and conduct usability evaluations and be able to interpret the results, identify changes that are needed to a user interface
  • understand the different design considerations for designing for the Web and other devices
  • understand the different user centred development methodologies that look at design from a user perspective. In particular have knowledge of the basic principles of good interface design and HCI principles;
  • appreciate the difficulties users face when working with systems and be able to comprehend the concepts and principles underlying effective interface design and recognise good design from poor design and what the difference is from a user perspective;
  • develop attitudes which enable them to interact effectively with users in order to apply this knowledge to the design of interfaces for a range of technologies;
  • analyse the component parts of an interface so to be able to identify what is good design;
  • synthesise the knowledge, guidelines and theory to understand how each contributes to practice;
  • effectively conduct an evaluation of an information system especially in terms of usability of information systems;
  • understand the development of systems from a user perspective;
  • appreciate the difficulties users face when working with systems;
  • apply the principles, standards and theories relating to interface design and HCI to information systems development;
  • gather user requirements effectively;
  • design an effective user interface;
  • conduct a usability test and interpret the outcome;
  • recognise poor design and solutions.

Unit Schedule

Week Activities Assessment
0   No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
1 July 31: Introduction and overview No Tutorial this week, all students should ensure they have registered for a tutorial before August 7.
2 August 7: Theories, principles standards and guidelines Tutorial 1. Assessment task 3: Active participation in tutorials and contributions to the discussion forum, this assessment is ongoing throughout the semester.
3 August 14: Interface design background  
4 August 21: Menus, forms and icons  
5 August 28: User Interaction Assessment task 1: to be completed in the tutorial this week
6 September 4: Evaluation and usability testing  
7 September 11: Heuristic and other evaluation techniques  
8 September 18: Designing for the web (what is different?)  
9 September 25: Designing user information  
10 October 9: Data gathering, task analysis and prototyping  
11 October 16: Designing for mobile and small screen devices Assessment task 2: Presentations in class if required
12 October 23: Guest speaker if available Assessment task 2: Presentations in class if required. Assessment task 2: Written components (assignment and report) due Friday 25th October 2013 by 4pm
  SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken in SWOT VAC
  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 learning system.

Assessment Summary

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

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Assignment 1: Design of an online form 10% Tutorial in week beginning August 26 (Week 5)
Assignment 2: Evaluating usability 25% (17% written component, 8% report and presentation) Written components (assignment and report) due Friday 25th October 2013 by 4pm. Presentations in Weeks 11 and 12.
Active participation in tutorials and contributions to the discussion forum 15% Ongoing throughout semester.
Examination 1 50% To be advised

Teaching Approach

  • Lecture and tutorials or problem classes
    This teaching and learning approach provides facilitated learning, practical exploration and peer learning. Lectures will include small group discussion. Tutorials will also include discussion and practical exercises.
  • Other
    Moodle discussion and readings: Students are encouraged to take responsibility for organising and directing their learning.

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


During the semester you will be assessed on work in, and preparation for, tutorials, in particular the specifically assigned reading for each week, responding to questions posed by the lecturer via Moodle and comments posted to the discussion forum. The assessment of this component will be dependent on the quality of your answers based on the readings. A number of exercises may be set and students will be expected to complete those exercises either during the tutorial, or in preparation for the tutorial, and to actively participate in tutorial classes. Assessment will occur in ALL tutorials thoughout the semester. The quality and number of postings on the discussion forum in Moodle will be assessed including the response to questions from the lecturer.  

This assessment will constitute 15% of your marks. No marks are awarded for simply attending tutorials.

  • Assessment task 1
    Assignment 1: Design of an online form
    Students will demonstrate, in class, their knowledge and understanding of design and the relevant theories covered in the unit up to this point of the semester as applied to online form design. Students will be required to hand draw on paper a form for a case study provided and to justify their design decisions.
    Further details will be provided and posted on Moodle early in semester.
    Criteria for assessment:

    Quality of the form design, including how well the form incorporated the requirements of the case study and the justification provided for the design decisions. More weighting and marks are given for the justification than the design

    Due date:
    Tutorial in week beginning August 26 (Week 5)
  • Assessment task 2
    Assignment 2: Evaluating usability
    Assignment 2 is a group assignment (3-4 students per group). No student will be permitted to do this assignment individually. The forming of groups across tutorials is permitted. Groups should be finalised prior to the tutorial in Week 7, September 11th.

    There are three components to the assignment, a written component, a report and a presentation based on the report. The assignment is designed to provide you with the practical experience of designing and conducting an usabilitiy evaluation.

    The written component will include background literature on interface evaluation design, descriptions of the usability and heuristic evaluation conducted of the website in line with what has been studied during the semester and recommendations.  The report will be a short report to the organisation whose website you evaluated, the presentation will be based on this report. Further details will be provided in the assignment specification.

    Group presentations will take place in class in the last two weeks of the semester 
    25% (17% written component, 8% report and presentation)
    Criteria for assessment:

    All students in the group will be given the same mark unless an adjustment is made by the lecturer based on feedback from the group.

    The written component will be assessed on the design and conduct of an evaluation of a selected website and background information, the analysis of that evaluation and written report on the outcome of the evaluation.  Students are also required to demonstrate an understanding of the concepts and background literature on evaluation techniques.

    The report will be assessed on the content, presentation and relevance to the organisation. The presentation will be assessed on the quality of the presentation and the delivery, the content selected for the presentation and its relevance.

    Due date:
    Written components (assignment and report) due Friday 25th October 2013 by 4pm. Presentations in Weeks 11 and 12.
  • Assessment task 3
    Active participation in tutorials and contributions to the discussion forum
    Throughout the semester  you are expected to actively participate in tutorial classes. You will be asked questions relating to the reading material and the tutorial tasks. As part of your assessment you will be required to also either led the discussion on a set paper or summarise the discussion and post to Moodle once during the semester.Throughout the semester you are expected to contribute to the online forum discussions, including answering questions posted by the lecturer, posting new topics that are relevant to the unit and meaningful responses to the postings of other students.  
    Criteria for assessment:

    Quality of answers / responses.

    Demonstrated understanding of the reading material provided.

    No marks are awarded for simply attending tutorials.

    Due date:
    Ongoing throughout semester.


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

Learning resources

Monash Library Unit Reading List

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

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

Referencing requirements

Students should be aware of and adhere to the guidelines for referencing assignment work, Harvard style is the required format for referencing.  This will be discussed in class early in the semester. Please also refer to the guidelines provided by the library.

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). Please note that it is your responsibility to retain copies of your assessments.

Online submission

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

Required Resources

Please check with your lecturer before purchasing any Required Resources. Limited copies of prescribed texts are available for you to borrow in the library, and prescribed software is available in student labs.

A reading list and other resources, for each tutorial will be available as required on Moodle. All reading and other material will be provided online.

Prescribed text(s)

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

Shneiderman, B and Plaisant C. (2010). Designing the User Interface. (5th Edition) Pearson.

Other Information


Graduate Attributes Policy

Student services

Monash University Library

Disability Liaison Unit

Students who have a disability or medical condition are welcome to contact the Disability Liaison Unit to discuss academic support services. Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) visit all Victorian campuses on a regular basis.

Your feedback to Us

Previous Student Evaluations of this Unit

This unit is continuously reviewed, lecture and tutorial, material and assignments change as does the exam each semester.

 As a result of previous student comments the design of tutorial particiapation and Moodle forums has been changed with the inclusion of questions from the lecturer to assist with learning.

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

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