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COMP5427: Usability Engineering (2017 - Semester 2)

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Unit: COMP5427: Usability Engineering (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Postgraduate
Faculty/School: School of Information Technologies
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 2.00 1 13

Attributes listed here represent the key course goals (see Course Map tab) designated for this unit. The list below describes how these attributes are developed through practice in the unit. See Learning Outcomes and Assessment tabs for details of how these attributes are assessed.

Attribute Development Method Attribute Developed
This will be introduced in lectures and developed in both labs and the two assignments. Design (Level 4)
This will be introduced in lectures and developed in both labs and the two assignments. Engineering/IT Specialisation (Level 4)
The assignments wil involve guided information seeking. The assignments will provide opportunities to develop these skills, in the particular context of the design task that the student select. Information Seeking (Level 3)
This is developed in the second assignment, presented orally in the presentation and in writing in the report. Communication (Level 4)
This will be a focus on the design of the user studies, with students creating materials for user consent and following ethical processes for user studies. Professional Conduct (Level 3)
The first two assignments will be in small groups, following recommended best pratice for managing software teams, using state-of-the-art software systems to both support the process and make it transparent and accountable. Project and Team Skills (Level 3)

For explanation of attributes and levels see Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table.

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.

Design (Level 4)
1. Explain the applicability of design techniques learnt for different interface classes
Engineering/IT Specialisation (Level 4)
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
Communication (Level 4)
8. Report a usability study systematically, assessing the strengths and limitations
Professional Conduct (Level 3)
9. Design materials for conducting a user study, including recruitment forms, study protocol, address ethical considerations
Project and Team Skills (Level 3)
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 Assignment 1 -- Usability study - in lab Yes 10.00 Week 6 2, 3,
2 Assignment 1 -- Usability study Yes 10.00 Week 6 2, 3, 8, 9,
3 Assignment 2 -- Project presentation in lab Yes 10.00 Week 12 2, 11,
4 Assignment 2 -- Design project Yes 10.00 Week 12 8, 9,
5 Assignment 2 - demonstration in lab Yes 10.00 Week 12 8, 9,
6 Lab work each week No 10.00 Multiple Weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9,
7 Final exam No 40.00 Exam Period 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
Assessment Feedback: Each laboratory session will have activities that are related to the lectures and the assignments. Students will conduct self-assessments of their work as well as peer reviews during class time and via their online group management and portfolio site. They will also be given formative feedback by the tutors in class.

There will be feedback on the first assignment, being partly formative for Assignment 2. Best solutions will go into a Hall of Fame so that other students can learn from these.
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 Information Technologies 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 IT 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 Introduction: what is usability, test-driven development, Assignment 1 overview
Week 2 Pragmatic, iterative evaluation: think aloud
Week 3 Usability across interface types: web, desktop, mobile, gestures and touch, speech, brain
Week 4 Project planning, SSM defining usability requirements
Week 5 Understanding users: card sorting, tree tests, questionnaires, surveys
Week 6 Understanding users: Focus Groups, interviews
Assessment Due: Assignment 1 -- Usability study - in lab
Assessment Due: Assignment 1 -- Usability study
Week 7 Design: prototyping, designing information architecture, use cases, task analysis, parallel design - Assignment 2 overview
Week 9 Cognitive issues: Fitts, perception, human factors
Week 10 No-user techniques: Cognitive Walkthrough
Week 11 No-user techniques: Heuristic Evaluation
Week 12 Summative evaluations: design, conduct, statistical analysis
Assessment Due: Assignment 2 -- Project presentation in lab
Assessment Due: Assignment 2 -- Design project
Assessment Due: Assignment 2 - demonstration in lab
Week 13 Other issues of international users, universal usability
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 Computer Science and Technology (Honours) 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Bachelor of Information Technology 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Graduate Certificate in Information Technology 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Graduate Certificate in Information Technology Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Graduate Diploma in Computing 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Graduate Diploma in Health Technology Innovation 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Graduate Diploma in Information Technology 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Graduate Diploma in Information Technology Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
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
Master of Information Technology 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Master of Information Technology Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Master of IT/Master of IT Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Master of Information Technology (till 2014) 2014

Course Goals

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

Attribute Practiced Assessed
Design (Level 4) Yes 9%
Engineering/IT Specialisation (Level 4) Yes 44%
Information Seeking (Level 3) Yes 0%
Communication (Level 4) Yes 22%
Professional Conduct (Level 3) Yes 17%
Project and Team Skills (Level 3) Yes 8%

These goals are selected from Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table which defines overall goals for courses where this unit is primarily offered. See Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 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.