HCI 460 201

Instructor: Lew

Course Summary

This course describes a wide array of methods for evaluating the user experience of products and interfaces. We will discuss and practice methods such as heuristic and expert evaluations, cognitive walkthroughs, exploratory, ethnographies, usability testing (formative and summative), surveys, eye tracking, contextual inquiries and hybrid focus groups.

Goals to learn how to:

  • Understand the role of usability evaluation
  • Establish appropriate evaluation objectives
  • Select evaluation methods that address evaluation objectives and take into account existing constraints
  • Articulate advantages and disadvantages of usability evaluation methods
  • Properly use various usability evaluation methods
  • Present results and prepare effective report


Gavin S. Lew

Email: [email protected] (both instructors will receive emails sent to this address)

Web page: http://boldinsight.com/hci460

Office Hours: Thursday 5pm – 5:45pm and 9pm – 9:45pm in CDM 224, Loop Campus

Textbooks and printed resources

Handbook of Usability Testing by Rubin (first edition: ISBN 0-471-59403-2 or second edition: ISBN 0-470-18548-1)

Task-Centered User Interface Design: A Practical Introduction by Lewis and Rieman (online text)

Optional Text


HCI 440

Elementary statistics (e.g., IT 223 or PSY 240)


15% Project 1: Expert evaluation

25% Project 2: Formative usability study

15% Project 3: Quantitative comparison study

10% Take-home midterm quiz

25% Final exam

10% Individual contribution to projects

Grading scale:

A 100 – 93%
A- 92 – 90%
B+ 89 – 87%
B 86 – 83%
B- 82 – 80%
C+ 79 – 77%
C 76 – 73%
C- 72 – 70%
D+ 69 – 67%
D 66 – 60%
F 59 – 0%

Course Policies

Changes to Syllabus This syllabus is subject to change as necessary during the quarter. If a change occurs, it will be thoroughly addressed during class, posted under Announcements in D2L and sent via email.

Online Course Evaluations Evaluations are a way for students to provide valuable feedback regarding their instructor and the course. Detailed feedback will enable the instructor to continuously tailor teaching methods and course content to meet the learning goals of the course and the academic needs of the students. They are a requirement of the course and are key to continue to provide you with the highest quality of teaching.

The evaluations are anonymous; the instructor and administration do not track who entered what responses. A program is used to check if the student completed the evaluations, but the evaluation is completely separate from the student?s identity. Since 100% participation is our goal, students are sent periodic reminders over three weeks. Students do not receive reminders once they complete the evaluation. Please see https://resources.depaul.edu/teaching-commons/teaching/Pages/online-teaching-evaluations.aspx for additional information.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism This course will be subject to the university’s academic integrity policy. More information can be found at https://offices.depaul.edu/oaa/faculty-resources/teaching/academic-integrity/Pages/default.aspx.

Academic Policies All students are required to manage their class schedules each term in accordance with the deadlines for enrolling and withdrawing as indicated in the University Academic Calendar. Information on enrollment, withdrawal, grading and incompletes can be found at: http://www.cdm.depaul.edu/Current%20Students/Pages/PoliciesandProcedures.aspx

Incomplete Grades An incomplete grade is a special, temporary grade that may be assigned by an instructor when unforeseeable circumstances prevent a student from completing course requirements by the end of the term and when otherwise the student had a record of satisfactory progress in the course. All incomplete requests must be approved by the instructor of the course and a CDM Associate Dean. Only exceptions cases will receive such approval. Information about the Incomplete Grades policy can be found at http://www.cdm.depaul.edu/Current%20Students/Pages/Grading-Policies.aspx

Students with Disabilities DePaul University is committed to ensuring equal access to its educational and extracurricular opportunities for students with disabilities. The Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) offers reasonable academic accommodations and services to support our students. We also serve as a resource to the many university departments that have a responsibility to accommodate students. Please see https://offices.depaul.edu/student-affairs/about/departments/Pages/csd.aspx for Services and Contact Information.

Proctored exams for OL courses (if applicable) If you are an online learning student living in the Chicagoland area (within 30 miles of Chicago), you will need to come to one of DePaul’s campuses to take an exam. Online learning students outside of the Chicagoland area are required to locate a proctor at a local library, college or university. You will need to take the exam within the window your instructor gives. Students should examine the course syllabus to find exam dates and the instructor’s policy on make-up exams. Detailed information on proctored exams for online learning students can be found at http://www.cdm.depaul.edu/onlinelearning/Pages/Exams.aspx Online office hours for OL courses (if applicable) Faculty should be accessible to online students via phone, email and/or Skype.

Course Policies as Suggested by the Dean of Students Office Attendance: Students are expected to attend each class and to remain for the duration.

Class Discussion: Student participation in class discussions will be measured in two ways. First, students are highly encouraged to ask questions and offer comments relevant to the day’s topic.

Participation allows the instructor to hear the student’s voice when grading papers. Secondly, students will be called upon by the instructor to offer comments related to the reading assignments. Students must keep up with the reading to participate in class discussion.

Attitude: A professional and academic attitude is expected throughout this course. Measurable examples of non-academic or unprofessional attitude include but are not limited to: talking to others when the instructor is speaking, mocking another?s opinion, cell phones ringing, emailing, texting or using the internet whether on a phone or computer. If any issues arise a student may be asked to leave the classroom. The professor will work with the Dean of Students Office to navigate such student issues.

Civil Discourse: DePaul University is a community that thrives on open discourse that challenges students, both intellectually and personally, to be Socially Responsible Leaders. It is the expectation that all dialogue in this course is civil and respectful of the dignity of each student. Any instances of disrespect or hostility can jeopardize a student’s ability to be successful in the course. The professor will partner with the Dean of Students Office to assist in managing such issues.

Cell Phones/On Call: If you bring a cell phone to class, it must be off or set to a silent mode. Should you need to answer a call during class, students must leave the room in an undisruptive manner. Out of respect to fellow students and the professor, texting is never allowable in class. If you are required to be on call as part of your job, please advise me at the start of the course.

Week 1

Course overview, overview of usability evaluation methods, heuristic evaluation, cognitive walkthrough, expert evaluation.

Readings: Rubin ch. 1, Lewis and Rieman ch. 4 (except 4.2)

Week 2

Expert evaluation continued, fundamentals of study design

Project 1a – Expert evaluation: individual notes due

Week 3

Formative usability testing: How to prepare a study

Project 1b – Expert evaluation: final report due

Week 4

Formative usability testing: How to conduct a study

Project 2a – Formative usability study: test plan due

Week 5

Formative usability testing: How to analyze findings, formulate recommendations, and write reports

Project 2b – Formative usability study: participant screening questionnaire and moderator’s guide due

Week 6

Teams will be conducting usability testing

Project 2c – Formative usability study: conducting the test

Take-home midterm will be distributed

Week 7

Summative usability testing

Take-home midterm will be collected

Week 8

Other usability evaluation methods:

Eye tracking, user modelling, KLM-GOMS, contextual inquiry, surveys, remote usability testing, focus groups

Project 2d -Formative usability study: report due Oct 28

Project 3a – Quantitative comparison study: test plan due Oct 28

Week 9

Team presentations, overview of material for final exam

Project 3b – Quantitative comparison study: report due

Week 10

Final exam

This schedule is tentative and subject to change as the course progresses.