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COMP5427: Usability Engineering (2019 - Semester 2)

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Unit: COMP5427: Usability Engineering (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Postgraduate
Faculty/School: School of Computer Science
Unit Coordinator/s: Professor Kay, Judy
Session options: Semester 2
Versions for this Unit:
Site(s) for this Unit:
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Pre-Requisites: None.
Brief Handbook Description: Usability engineering is the systematic process of designing and evaluating user interfaces so that they are usable. This means that people can readily learn to use them efficiently, can later remember how to use them and find it pleasant to use them. The wide use of computers in many aspects of people's lives means that usability engineering is of the utmost importance.

There is a substantial body of knowledge about how to elicit usability requirements, identify the tasks that a system needs to support, design interfaces and then evaluate them. This makes for systematic ways to go about the creation and evaluation of interfaces to be usable for the target users, where this may include people with special needs. The field is extremely dynamic with the fast emergence of new ways to interact, ranging from conventional WIMP interfaces, to touch and gesture interaction, and involving mobile, portable, embedded and desktop computers.

This unit will enable students to learn the fundamental concepts, methods and techniques of usability engineering. Students will practice these in small classroom activities. They will then draw them together to complete a major usability evaluation assignment in which they will design the usability testing process, recruit participants, conduct the evaluation study, analyse these and report the results
Assumed Knowledge: None.
Lecturer/s: Professor Kay, Judy
Timetable: COMP5427 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
1 Lecture 2.00 1 13
2 Laboratory 1.00 1 13
3 Independent Study 4.00 13
4 Project Work - own time 5.00 13

Learning outcomes are the key abilities and knowledge that will be assessed in this unit. They are listed according to the course goal supported by each. See Assessment Tab for details how each outcome is assessed.

Unassigned Outcomes
1. Explain the applicability of design techniques learnt for different interface classes
2. Conduct a user study in a professional and ethical manner
3. Design, perform and analyse results of a think-aloud evaluation
4. Conduct usability evaluations using key no-user techniques
5. Describe how to conduct comprehensive summative usability evaluation experiments
6. State the relative strengths and weaknesses key usability evaluation techniques
7. Argue the merits of key usability evaluation techniques for particular contexts
8. Report a usability study systematically, assessing the strengths and limitations
9. Design materials for conducting a user study, including recruitment forms, study protocol, address ethical considerations
10. Work in a team to conduct usability evaluations
11. Work in a team to perform parallel iterative prototyping with TDD
Assessment Methods:
# Name Group Weight Due Week Outcomes
1 In-class lecture quizzes Yes 0.00 Multiple Weeks
2 Weekly mini-assignments No 10.00 Multiple Weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9,
3 Assignment 1 -- presentation Yes 5.00 Week 6 2, 3, 4, 6, 11,
4 Assignment 1 -- report Yes 10.00 Week 6 2, 3, 8, 9,
5 Assignment 2 -- demo Yes 10.00 Week 11 2, 11,
6 Assignment 2 -- design and usability evaluation Yes 10.00 Week 12 8, 9,
7 Final exam No 55.00 Exam Period 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
Assessment Description: In-class lecture quizzes are designed to provide formative feedback on the material in each lecture as well as other topics previously covered and linked to this.

Mini-assignments are due at the lecture, for use in class activities in the lecture. Please bring printouts for use in the lecture. During the lecture activities, you can hand-write improvements to the mini-assignment and that version will be collected in the lecture. That revised version will be grading by your tutor.

Lab work consolidates the lecture material.

Both the lecture and the lab have activities towards the assignments and involve group work. Grading is by the tutor, with feedback in the lab class.

Assignment 1 consolidates class material on usability evaluation.

Assignment 2 provides additional consolidation of evaluation, now in the context of an interface you design, prototype and evaluate.
Assessment Feedback: See above for each part.
Grading:
Grade Type Description
Standards Based Assessment Final grades in this unit are awarded at levels of HD for High Distinction, DI (previously D) for Distinction, CR for Credit, PS (previously P) for Pass and FA (previously F) for Fail as defined by University of Sydney Assessment Policy. Details of the Assessment Policy are available on the Policies website at http://sydney.edu.au/policies . Standards for grades in individual assessment tasks and the summative method for obtaining a final mark in the unit will be set out in a marking guide supplied by the unit coordinator.
Minimum Pass Requirement It is a policy of the School of Computer Science that in order to pass this unit, a student must achieve at least 40% in the written examination. For subjects without a final exam, the 40% minimum requirement applies to the corresponding major assessment component specified by the lecturer. A student must also achieve an overall final mark of 50 or more. Any student not meeting these requirements may be given a maximum final mark of no more than 45 regardless of their average.
Policies & Procedures: IMPORTANT: School policy relating to Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism.

In assessing a piece of submitted work, the School of Computer Science may reproduce it entirely, may provide a copy to another member of faculty, and/or to an external plagiarism checking service or in-house computer program and may also maintain a copy of the assignment for future checking purposes and/or allow an external service to do so.

Other policies

See the policies page of the faculty website at http://sydney.edu.au/engineering/student-policies/ for information regarding university policies and local provisions and procedures within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.
Prescribed Text/s: Note: Students are expected to have a personal copy of all books listed.
Online Course Content: The class website will provide additional links to online resources.

Note that the "Weeks" referred to in this Schedule are those of the official university semester calendar https://web.timetable.usyd.edu.au/calendar.jsp

Week Description
Week 1 Introductions, Define Usability, Utility
Week 2 Reading, Contextual Enquiry
Week 3 Empirical studies, think-aloud, ethics
Week 4 Reading, Heuristic evaluation
Week 5 Assignment 1, new terms, broader heuristics, Heuristic Evaluation revised
Week 6 Reserved work work on Assignment 1
Assessment Due: Assignment 1 -- presentation
Assessment Due: Assignment 1 -- report
Week 7 Assignment 2 introduction, Prototypes. Mental models, understanding people, implications for usability engineering
Week 8 Need finding by asking and observing users, standard questionnaires
Week 9 Reading, Cognitive Walkthrough, Assignment 2
Week 10 Guest lecture
Week 11 Reading, Analysing usability data, transparent statistics
Assessment Due: Assignment 2 -- demo
Week 12 Perspectives: A/B testing, UX v XP, Ludic interfaces
Assessment Due: Assignment 2 -- design and usability evaluation
Week 13 Reading, Revision, exam, big picture review
Exam Period Assessment Due: Final exam

Course Relations

The following is a list of courses which have added this Unit to their structure.

Course Year(s) Offered
Bachelor of Advanced Computing/Bachelor of Commerce 2018, 2019, 2020
Bachelor of Advanced Computing/Bachelor of Science 2018, 2019, 2020
Bachelor of Advanced Computing/Bachelor of Science (Health) 2018, 2019, 2020
Bachelor of Advanced Computing/Bachelor of Science (Medical Science) 2018, 2019, 2020
Bachelor of Advanced Computing (Computational Data Science) 2018, 2019, 2020
Bachelor of Advanced Computing (Computer Science Major) 2018, 2019, 2020
Bachelor of Advanced Computing (Information Systems Major) 2018, 2019, 2020
Bachelor of Advanced Computing (Software Development) 2018, 2019, 2020
Bachelor of Computer Science and Technology (Honours) 2015, 2016, 2017
Bachelor of Information Technology 2015, 2016, 2017
Graduate Certificate in Information Technology 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Graduate Certificate in Information Technology Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Graduate Diploma in Computing 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Graduate Diploma in Health Technology Innovation 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Graduate Diploma in Information Technology 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Graduate Diploma in Information Technology Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Graduate Certificate in Information Technology (till 2014) 2014
Graduate Diploma in Information Technology (till 2014) 2014
Master of Health Technology Innovation 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Information Technology 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Information Technology Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of IT/Master of IT Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Information Technology (till 2014) 2014

Course Goals

This unit contributes to the achievement of the following course goals:

Attribute Practiced Assessed
(7) Project and Team Skills (Level 3) No 0%
(8) Professional Effectiveness and Ethical Conduct (Level 3) No 0%
(6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 3) No 0%
(5) Interdisciplinary, Inclusiveness, Influence (Level 4) No 0%
(3) Problem Solving and Inventiveness (Level 4) No 0%
(4) Design (Level 4) No 0%
(2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 4) No 0%

These goals are selected from Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 which defines overall goals for courses where this unit is primarily offered. See Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 for details of the attributes and levels to be developed in the course as a whole. Percentage figures alongside each course goal provide a rough indication of their relative weighting in assessment for this unit. Note that not all goals are necessarily part of assessment. Some may be more about practice activity. See Learning outcomes for details of what is assessed in relation to each goal and Assessment for details of how the outcome is assessed. See Attributes for details of practice provided for each goal.