Computing Science Course Outlines

Course Outline - CMPT 363 - User Interface Design



Catalog Number









2012 Spring (1121)

User Interface Design

Steve Pearce   

Burnaby Mountain Campus

Calendar Objective/Description

This course provides a comprehensive study of user interface design. Topics include: goals and principles of UI design (systems engineering and human factors), historical perspective, current paradigms (widget-based, mental model, graphic design, ergonomics, metaphor, constructivist/iterative approach, and visual languages) and their evaluation, existing tools and packages (dialogue models, event-based systems, prototyping), future paradigms, and the social impact of UI.

Instructor's Objectives

This course introduces students to the art and science of designing usable human-computer interfaces. After exploring the way we interact with one-another and "everyday things", we shall move our attention to the way we interact with computers. In our explorations, we will discuss concepts such as visibility, affordance, mental models, interaction, interface, usability, etc. We will also take a close look at the process of designing human-computer interfaces using a human-centered approach. Students will gain experience in the phases of this process: gathering requirements, designing, prototyping and evaluating the usability of human-computer interfaces.


CMPT 225.


  • Gestalt psychology; Interaction between humans - the logical conclusion of the UI.
  • Principles such as visibility, affordance, feedback, metaphors, mental models and usability models
  • Iterative human-centered approach to design and development process
  • User, task and environment analysis
  • Design methods and guidelines
  • Prototyping methods
  • Interaction styles and interface technologies
  • Usability evaluation and evaluation methods


The grading scheme will be announced during the first week of classes. This course will require students to do individual and team-based assignments. There will be a mid term and a final examination.

Students must attain an overall passing grade on the weighted average of exams in the course in order to obtain a clear pass (C- or better).

Recommended Books

  • User Interface Design and Evaluation, Stone, Jarrett, Woodroffe, and Minocha, Morgan Kaufmann, 2005, 9780120884360
  • Usability Engineering: Process, Products, and Examples, Leventhal and Barnes, Pearson Prentice-Hall, 2008, 9780131570085
  • The Design of Everyday Things, Donald A. Norman, Basic Books, 2002, 9780465067107

Academic Honesty Statement

Academic honesty plays a key role in our efforts to maintain a high standard of academic excellence and integrity. Students are advised that ALL acts of intellectual dishonesty will be handled in accordance with the SFU Academic Honesty and Student Conduct Policies ( ).

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