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Unit information: Human-Computer Interaction in 2016/17

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Human-Computer Interaction
Unit code COMS21301
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Roudaut
Open unit status Open




School/department Department of Computer Science
Faculty Faculty of Engineering

Description including Unit Aims

This unit introduces and explores systematic approaches to human factors in computer science. Human-computer interaction is a key issue to consider in the design and development of software, and in the evolution of technology policy and procedure. This unit considers a range of subjects in the field from user interface design to usability testing methodologies. We will address the design process, explore how to study user behaviour, and look at how others have produced theories to fit behavioural observations. Topics will include: the paradigmatic history of human-computer interaction; theories and frameworks of technology use; methods, methodologies and analysis techniques for studying people; techniques for graphical user interfaces and beyond; an interface's usabillity and universality. Tools and technologies supporting interaction design.


This unit introduces systematic approaches to human factors in computer science. It explores how to understand users, and then provides techniques to apply that understanding appropriately in design.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful completion of this unit will enable a student to:

  • Appreciate the current and historical stances in the field
  • Understand the complexities of designing for different users and groups
  • Select relevant methods for studying user behaviour

Apply appropriate techniques for designing interfaces

Teaching Information

20 Lectures.

Assessment Information

40% Exam, 60% Coursework

Reading and References

Alan Dix, Janet Finlay, Gregory D. Abowd, and Russell Beale (2003), Human-Computer Interaction, 3rd Edition. Prentice Hall, 2003. ISBN:0-13046-109-1 (essential)