Course "User Interface Design and Usability" (WS 2009/10)

Lecturer: Michael Kipp


The user interface is a crucial component in many computer systems. While creating good interfaces largely depends on the programmer‘s skill and intuition, one can maximize chances by knowing design principles and frameworks. More importantly, the design of an interface can be systematically evaluated at different stages of the development cycle. This course will give you the necessary background information on interface paradigms, the psychology of users and design principles to improve your interface creation skills. It will cover in-depth usability engineering as a tool for obtaining reliable and objective feedback on design options or for final validation. As part of this, we will take a look at the necessary statistical methods.

Please note that there is another course from the EMBOTS group on Character Animation.

Exam Results

SCHEINE (a document confirming your credits and grade) can be picked up at the secretary of the Intelligent User Interfaces department at DFKI (Frau Schmahl or Frau Krüger, office 0.05, old part of DFKI building). The opening hours of the secretary are here, you can also call 302-5152 to reach the secretary. Posted on 26 April 2010.

EXAM RESULTS can be seen on the exam result page. Posted on 31 March 2010.

RE-EXAMS can be taken as oral exams on 19/20 April. Please send a mail to quan.nguyen@dfki.de to register until 14 April latest. You will then be notified about your time slot. Carefully read the following conditions...

Re-exam conditions:

  • It is an oral exam of ca. 20 mins (19 or 20 April) in office +2.10 at DFKI (top floor, opposite elevator)
  • The grade of the re-exam will override the grade of your written exam (even if it is worse)
  • You must be registered for the course in HISPOS (or you registered per mail with the lecturer)

Time, Place and Credits

The course will be given in Englisch. There will be no excercises or tutorials.

  • Time: Wednesdays 8:30 - 10:00 h, weekly
  • Place: Building E1.3, lecture hall 003
  • First Meeting: 14 October 2009
  • Credits: 3 CP
  • Exam: The written end-of-term exam will be on 24 Feb 2010 10:00 h, lecture hall 003


The slides can be downloaded from the following page. Note that this page is password-protected (password was announced in the lecture), please contact me after the lecture if you do not have the password.

Course slides download page

See next section for detailed references of the books.

114 OctIntroduction to User Interface Design(Sharp et al. 2007) Ch. 1
221 OctConceptualizing the Design(Sharp et al. 2007) Chapter 2
(Dix et al. 2003) Ch. 16
328 OctUnderstanding Users 1(Sharp et al. 2007) Ch. 3
(Dix et al. 2003) Ch. 1
404 NovUnderstanding Users 2(Sharp et al. 2007) Ch. 3
(Dix et al. 2003) Ch. 12
511 NovThe Design Process(Sharp et al. 2007) Ch. 9
618 NovIntroducing Usability(Tullis, Albert 2008) Ch. 1+2
725 NovUsability 2(Tullis, Albert 2008)
802 DecUsability 3(Tullis, Albert 2008)
909 DecUsability 4 and Graphic Design(Tullis, Albert 2008)
1016 DecTALK: Dieter Wallach, Ergosign 
--Xmas break 
1106 JanTangible and Multitouch Interfaces 
1213 Jan3D User Interfaces(Bowman et al. 2005)
1320 Jan3D User Interfaces 2(Bowman et al. 2005)
1427 JanEmbodied Agents 
1503 FebEmbodied Agents ctd., Summary, Exam QA 
Exam24 FebFinal exam, lecture hall 003, 10:00 h 


This course is largely based on the following books:

  • Sharp, H., Rogers, Y. and Preece, J. (2007) Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Edition, Wiley.
  • Dix, A., Finlay, J., Abowd, G.D. and Beale, R. (2003) Human Computer Interaction, 3rd Edition, Prentice Hall.
  • Tullis, T., Albert, B. (2008) Measuring the User Experience, Morgan Kaufmann.

Good complementary reading regarding "design":

  • Lidwell, W., Holden, K. and Butler, J. (2003) Universal Principles of Design, Rockport Publishers.
  • Norman, D. (2002) The Design of Everyday Things, Perseus Books.

Good complementary reading regarding "statistics":

  • Press, W.H., Teukolsky, S.A., Vetterling, W.T., Flannery, B.P. (2007) Numerical Recipes, 3rd Edition, Cambridge University Press.
  • Crawley, M. J. (2005) Statistics: An Introduction using R, Wiley.

Reading regarding "3d user interfaces":

  • Bowman, D.A., Kruijff, E., LaViola, J.J., Poupyrev, I. (2005) 3D User Interfaces: Theory and Practice, Addison-Wesley.


Dr. Michael Kipp
DFKI (Gebäude D3.2), Raum +2.10
Tel: (0681) 302-5256
E-Mail: kipp(at)dfki.de