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《Usability Engineering》Course Syllabus
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Usability Engineering》Course Syllabus

Course Name

Usability Engineering


Dr. Zhao Huang

Course Type

Elective Course

Prerequisite Courses


Computer Science

Learning Method

Mentoring, discussion and programing


1st semester






1. Objective & Requirement

This course emphasizes cost-effective methods that developers can implement immediately, and instructs students about which methods to use when, throughout the development lifecycle. Also includes strategies to avoid the four most frequently listed reasons for delay in software projects, detailed information on how to run a usability test, and an extensive bibliography allowing students to find additional information.

Detailing the methods of usability engineering, this course provides the tools needed to avoid usability surprises and improve product quality. Step-by-step information on which method to use at various stages during the development lifecycle are included, along with detailed information on how to run a usability test and the unique issues relating to international usability.The objective of this course is to establish fundamental concepts on usability engineering. The course will be teaching in full English, all graduate students, including thesis-based and PhD students whose discipline are related to computer science are welcome to select this course.

2. Topics to be covered

We will cover the following core topics plus a set of selected topics:

(i) What Is Usability?(Usability and Other Considerations, Definition of Usability, Usability Trade-Offs, Categories of Users and Individual User Differences).

(ii) Generations of User Interfaces (Batch Systems, Line-Oriented Interfaces, Full-Screen Interfaces, Next-Generation Interfaces).

(iii) The Usability Engineering Lifecycle (Individual User Characteristics,Task Analysis, Functional Analysis, Competitive Analysis).

(iv) Usability Testing (Test Goals and Test Plans, Getting Test Users, Choosing Experimenters, Test Tasks, Stages of a Test, Performance Measurement, Usability Laboratories).

3. Textbook

Usability Engineering, Jakob Nielsen, 1993

4. Reference Books

5. Course Evaluation (Tentative)

Assignments                           30%

Course Project                        40%

Midterm Exam (in-class)          30%