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Monash University

FIT4063 Human-computer interaction - Semester 2, 2014

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)

Workload Requirements

Minimum total expected workload equals 12 hours per week comprising:

(a.) Contact hours for on-campus students:

  • Two hours of lectures
  • One 2-hour tutorial

(b.) Additional requirements (all students):

  • 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


FIT3063, FIT5152


(FIT9003 or FIT5132) or (FIT9030 or FIT5130)

Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer


Julie Fisher

Consultation hours: TBA

Henry Linger

Consultation hours: TBA



Michael Niemann

Consultation hours: TBA

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 the Student Evaluation of Teaching and Units (SETU) survey. 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, see:

www.monash.edu.au/about/monash-directions/ and on student evaluations, see: www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/quality/student-evaluation-policy.html

Previous Student Evaluations of this Unit

Student feedback informed improvements to this unit including:

  • reverting to the 'design assignment' model from prior semesters
  • using more up-to-date software for prototyping (i.e. the Pencil open-source project), to slowly phase out the older MockupScreens system.
  • tutorial activities and online forum discussions contribute to part of the assessment
  • assesment is more differentiated from co-taught FIT3063

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

Academic Overview

Learning Outcomes

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.

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 human factors. No tutorial in Week 1. Assessment task 1 assessed from Week 2 to Week 11
2 Guiding principles for HCI Tutorial 1
3 Computers as work tools Tutorial 2
4 What is design? Tutorial 3
5 Interface design elements Tutorial 4
6 Approaches to HCI design Tutorial 5: Assessment task 3 completed and submitted in class
7 Usability testing and evaluation Tutorial 6
8 Interaction styles Tutorial 7
9 Interaction devices Tutorial 8
10 Designing for the web Tutorial 9: Presentation of Assessment task 2 in class
11 Designing for mobility Tutorial 10: Presentation of Assessment task 2 in class
12 Guest lecture (subject to availability) Tutorial 11. Assessment task 2 written component submission due Friday 24 October 2014 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.

Teaching Approach

Lecture and tutorials or problem classes
This teaching and learning approach provides facilitated learning, practical exploration and peer learning through a variety of activities.

Assessment Summary

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

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Active participation in tutorials and the discussion board 15% Tutorial and discussion board contributions will be assessed from Week 2 to Week 11
Design and conduct of an evaluation 25% Presentation due Week 10 or Week 11 in class. Written component due Friday 24 October 2014 by 4pm
Designing a form 10% Week 6 Tutorial 5
Examination 1 50% To be advised

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Policy

Assessment Tasks


  • Assessment task 1
    Active participation in tutorials and the discussion board
    Students are required to participate throughout the semester in all the learning activities, these include:
    • online forums available through the unit's Moodle site
    • tutorial activities
    • panel-style discussion during tutorials.
    Criteria for assessment:

    Criteria for assessment will be based on:

    • relevance of contributions;
    • evidence of wider reading;
    • level of critical thinking and quality of contribution (and in group-based fora);
    • contribution to discussions including quality and number of postings (using Moodle) and
    • general participation
    Due date:
    Tutorial and discussion board contributions will be assessed from Week 2 to Week 11
  • Assessment task 2
    Design and conduct of an evaluation
    Students will be required to form groups to design and implement an evaluation of a website and present the outcomes in class. Students will also independently evaluate another group's website.  The assessment breakdown is as follows:
    • 5% for the selection of an appropriate site for a usability test
    • 15% (10% + 5%) 10% is for the design and conduct of a usability test. 5% is for the report on the testing and presentation.  The report will include a detailed discussion and critique of evaluation and usability testing more broadly drawing on the relevant literature 
    • 5% for an independent usability evaluation of another group's website. 
    Criteria for assessment:

    In this assignment students will demonstrate their knowledge, skills and understanding of the principles and theories covered through the semester supported by the relevant literature.  The criteria for assessment includes a demonstrated knowledge of evaluation and usability testing from a theoretical perspective and the design and conduct of an evaluation again justified from the perspective of the literature.

    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. Assessment criteria will be made available in the specifications sheet.

    Due date:
    Presentation due Week 10 or Week 11 in class. Written component due Friday 24 October 2014 by 4pm
    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 due to logistical constraints.
  • Assessment task 3
    Designing a form
    Students will be required in their tutorial to design a form and justify their design decisions.  Students will be provided with a short case study on which the form will be based. 
    Criteria for assessment:

    The assessment will be based on the following:

    • meets all the criteria required from the case study
    • demonstrated understanding of the key issues relating to the design of online forms
    • additional and appropriate design considerations included with justification
    • justification for the design drawing on relevant literature with a focus on theories and principles discussed in the unit to date
    Due date:
    Week 6 Tutorial 5


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

Learning resources

Reading list

Cooper, A., Reimann, R. & Cronin, D. (2007) About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction design, John Wiley & Sons

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

Shneiderman, B. (2010) Designing the User Interface. 5th Edition. Addison-Wesley.

Monash Library Unit Reading List (if applicable to the unit)

Faculty of Information Technology Style Guide

Feedback to you

Examination/other end-of-semester assessment feedback may take the form of feedback classes, provision of sample answers or other group feedback after official results have been published. Please check with your lecturer on the feedback provided and take advantage of this prior to requesting individual consultations with staff. If your unit has an examination, you may request to view your examination script booklet, see http://intranet.monash.edu.au/infotech/resources/students/procedures/request-to-view-exam-scripts.html

Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:

  • Informal feedback on progress in labs/tutes
  • Graded assignments with comments
  • Other: Informal feedback including sample answers from peers in tutes.

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

Assignment submission

It is a University requirement (http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/conduct/student-academic-integrity-managing-plagiarism-collusion-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 Moodle 2 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.

For the design of GUI mockups: a choice between:

  • Pencil Project (open-source, more features, recommended), or
  • MockupScreens (a license is provided strictly for your personal course-related use)

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 Edition) Wiley.

Technological Requirements

Students must regularly check Moodle 2.0 for announcements.

Moodle is also used to disseminate courseware for this subject and for assessment submission.

It is strongly recommended that students bring a laptop, and/or tablet to lectures and tutorials in order to take part in interactive discussions/activities.

(Please refer to the Required Resources section for a list of software needed for this course.)

Other Information


Monash has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and to provide advice on how they might uphold them. You can find Monash’s Education Policies at: www.policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/academic/education/index.html

Key educational policies include:

Faculty resources and policies

Important student resources including Faculty policies are located at http://intranet.monash.edu.au/infotech/resources/students/

Graduate Attributes Policy

Student Charter

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.

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