Fall 2017

INF 385P Usability

Unique ID: 28270


The basics of user-centered design through the lifecycle of a software product. Includes perceptual, psychological, and other scientific underpinnings of usability and the justification for the application of usability engineering in software development.


The rapid expansion of the Internet and e-commerce has brought software usability engineer- ing into prominence. As more and more information exists in electronic form (and sometimes ONLY in electronic form), the storage and retrieval of information is increasingly a human-com- puter interface (HCI) design problem. As computing oozes into every nook of citizenry, it’s increasingly important for software developers, and indeed any web site developers, NOT to depend on their own intuitions as to what designs are likely to be seen as usable. The way web and other user interface designers and developers address this intentionally is by pursu- ing a course of “user-centered design” (UCD). UCD involves employing a collection of usabili- ty engineering methods across the life-cycle of a software product. The class will cover three major areas: 1. the perceptual, cognitive, and other scienti c underpinnings of usability, 2. the usability engineering methods used in the pursuit of UCD, and 3. the justi cation for the application of usability engineering in a software development proj- ect. The course will entail four major instructional techniques: 1. lecture on the scienti c underpinnings and the methods of usability engineering, 2. exercises, to demonstrate the use of such methods, 3. individual usability engineering projects, with the results to be shared with the class. Objectives: The student successfully completing this class will: - understand aspects of how human beings take in and process information, - know what the methods of usability engineering are and have experience with some of them - understand why software developers are NOT the end-user - be able to make the arguments for cost-justifying a user-centered design approach - have had exposure to a variety of usability labs, - know how to carry out a usability evaluation and write a usability test plan and report. https://www.ischool.utexas.edu/sites/default/files/images/webform/INF385P_Usability_FA%2716_syllabus_v4.pdf


Graduate standing.