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Usability and User Interface

Usability and User Interface

Code: ICT2TA008
Extent: 6 ECTS (162 h) 
Timing: 4rd-5th semester 
Language: Finnish/English
Level: professional studies
Type: compulsory

Starting level and linkage with other courses

The student has passed the following courses: Programming, Data Management, Databases, Data Warehousing, Network Multimedia, Visual Design.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, the student

  • understands humans as users of various IT systems
  • knows the concept of user interface and can assess an interface from various points of view
  • understands different usage requirements and use situations in various application areas
  • knows how to take usability into account as part of the systems development process and understands factors that influence user interface design
  • knows the parts of user interface design and methods used

Course contents

  • Using systems with the point of view of an user
  • Usability and user experience
  • Humans as computer users
  • Different usage requirements in various application areas
  • User interface and interaction
  • Usability analysis
  • Accessibility

Goals of user interface design and factors affecting interface design

  • Inclusion of usability in systems development
  • Performing and utilizing user analysis
  • Selecting appropriate methods for various tasks
  • Methods for creating a high-quality user interface
  • Significance of development tools
  • User interface testing

Cooperation with the business community

Co-operation is handled through examples and assignments.
After completing this course the student will be able to design user interfaces for business purposes.

Teaching and learning methods

Problem-based learning

The student will research the material through theory and practical exercises.

This course covers two periods.

Contact lessons: 32 h + 32 h.

Network-based learning and student work: 97 h.

The assessment of one’s own learning 1 h.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL)

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process that recognizes a student's earlier accomplished skills and experience. These skills can be based on prior studies or work experience.  Students wishing to have their prior learning recognized, enroll normally to the course and contact their teacher upon the first lesson to start the RPL-procedure.

Prior learning can be assessed either by organizing an assessment event, or by examining portfolios of earlier products.

Teacher responsible

Heikki Hietala, Vallila

Course material

Various network sources.
Selected parts of the following books:

A. Enders & D. Rombach, A Handbook of Software and Systems Engineering: empirical observations, laws and theories, Pearson Addison-Wesley 2003.

Krug, S 2006. Don’t Make Me Think. 2nd edition. New Riders Publishing. Berkeley, California, USA.

Jakob Nielsen, Usability Engineering, Ap Professional 1993.

Ben Shneiderman, Chathrine Plaisant Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction, Pearson Education, Inc. 2005.

Daniel D.McCracken  Rosalee J. Wolfe: User-Centered Website Development

A Human-Computer Interaction Approach, Pearson Education, Inc. 2004

Assessment items and criteria

Assessment will be made with scale 1 - 5.


Core competences

1 2 3 4 5
User interface
and UI design

Recognizes a user interface

Is able to
assess a UI

Is able to
design a simple UI

Is able to
enhance an existing UI

Is able to
construct a complex UI


Knows the basics of usability

Understands the
basics of usability

Is able to assess usability

Is able to
enhance usability
of a small UI

Is able to
enhance usability
of a complex UI

Usability assessment
and methods

Knows the
principles of UI assessment and some methods

Understands the meaning of assessment

Is able to utilize basic assessment methods

Is able to assess usability from many viewpoints

Is able to utilize
many assessment methods to
arrive at an exhaustive analysis


Knows basic features of interaction

Understands basic features of interaction

Is able to create rudimentary interaction

Is able to enhance interaction

Is able to create versatile and effective interaction

User analysis and accessibility

Knows meaning of accessibility

Understands meaning of accessibility

Is able to perform basic user analysis

Is able to take into account different users and accessibility in design

Is able to utilize user analysis exhaustively in designing good UIs

Visual design

Knows the visual elements of a UI

Understands the designed use of elements

Is able to construct a UI with appropriate elements

Is able to use visuals to a large degree in UI design

Is able to construct a UI that is both visually and interactively fulfilling

Assessment methods and their importance

Assessed assignment 60 %
Assessed practice assignments 40 %
Both parts of the assessment must be passed.

The assessment of one’s own learning does not influence the grade. The assignment is the same for all courses/modules and the answers will also be used for course/module development. The assignment is completed online in WinhaOpaali.