SWE 632 – User Interface Design

 

Professor:        Rob Pettit

 

Email:                rpettit (at) gmu.edu

URL:                  http://cs.gmu.edu/~rpettit

Class Hours:    Mondays 4:30-7:10, Robinson B113

Prerequisite:      SWE 619 and SWE Foundation material

Office Hours:    anytime electronically, or by appointment

 

TEXTS:

      Alan Cooper, About Face: (3rd edition) The Essentials of Interaction Design, Wiley. (required) 


      •Also look at U. Maryland's Guide to Usability for Software Engineers.

      •And don't forget to look at User Friendly, the comic strip.


 

OBJECTIVE:

To explore the role of the human in the design and implementation of software. To prepare students to design and evaluate the quality of an interface between computer software and the human user. After completing this course, students should understand how to design software interfaces that are appropriate for the user, be familiar with a variety of interface design strategies, and be able to evaluate the quality of a software interface.

 

CONTENT:

This course will focus on the software interface between the computer and the human. Concepts in human factors will be covered, specifically in terms of designing software interfaces. We will cover theories of human-computer interaction, including human cognitive limitations, syntactic versus semantic knowledge, transitionality, and the "outside-in" design approach. We will also study guidelines for designing computer interfaces of various models, including command interfaces, menus, desktop views, and GUI interfaces.

 

READING:

The schedule for the readings are given on the schedule web page.

 

EXAMS:

There will be a midterm and a final exam, both closed-book in class.

 

 

MAKEUPS:

Unless arrangements are worked out in advance, missed tests cannot be made up, and 10% per week will be deducted for late homework and project submissions. I understand that your job may occasionally take you out of town; so does mine. If you are going to be forced to miss class on the day something is due, let me know ahead of time by email or in writing. Per GMU policy, all homework and projects must be submitted before the beginning of the GMU reading period.

 

EVALS:

Each student will evaluate five software interfaces from a human factors standpoint from a list to be provided.

 

PROJECT

Each student will implement a moderate-sized project to build a user interface system. More details on the project will be given the second week of class.

 

BLACKBOARD USE

All students have blackboard accounts. Login with your George Mason University account (email). Post questions to an appropriate thread and they will be answered by your instructor, TA, or classmate.

 

HONOR CODE STATEMENT:

As with all GMU courses, SWE 632 is governed by the GMU Honor Code. In this course, all assignments, exams, and project submissions carry with them an implicit statement that it is the sole work of the author, unless joint work is explicitly authorized. Help may be obtained from the instructor or other students to understand the description of the problem and any technology, but the solution, particularly the design portion, must be the student's own work. If joint work is authorized, all contributing students must be listed on the submission. Any deviation from this is considered an Honor Code violation, and as a minimum, will result in failure of the submission and as a maximum, failure of the class.

 

OFFICE OF DISABILITY SERVICES:

If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations, please see me and contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at 993-2474. All academic accommodations must be arranged through the DRC.

 

OTHER USEFUL CAMPUS RESOURCES:

Writing Center: A114 Robinson Hall; (703) 993-1200; http://writingcenter.gmu.edu

University Libraries "Ask a Librarian" http://library.gmu.edu/mudge/IM/IMRef.html

Counseling And Psychological Services (CAPS): (703) 993-2380; http://caps.gmu.edu

 

MASON EMAIL ACCOUNTS:

Students must use their MasonLIVE email account to receive important University information, including messages related to this class. See http://masonlive.gmu.edu for more information.

 

GRADING:

Grades will be (approximately): 20% the evaluations, 25% the project, 25% the midterm, and 30% the final.