Welcome to the

University of Saskatchewan - Department of Computer Science

CMPT 479/817 Usability Engineering;

Web site for 2018

Class notes and readings can be accessed by registered students via: moodle.cs.usask.ca

Class News:

Information on the final exam: Mon Dec 17 8:00

This course presents a requirements engineering (RE) approach to usability engineering(UE). UE is a structured approach to developing usable user interface designs. 

UE  integrates human-computer interaction (HCI) requirements and design approaches within development projects managed by software engineering (SE) methodologies. 

Requirements Engineering (a sub discipline of SE) focuses on applying development processes and documenting information items that support these development processes in order to engineer large scale software projects and to provide information that readily supports further evolutionary development of these projects. While RE is most needed for large scale projects, its processes and information items can also be scaled down to smaller developments. This approach is being taken because it can be applied to all types and sizes of developments.

This class focuses on the needs of users and their tasks, which are at the heart of all systems development. It demonstrates how RE can be applied to engineering usable systems. While it does not deal with technical issues (such as program or database design and construction) it provides clear linkages to those SE activities, which also fit into the same overall life cycle.

In addition to providing students with an advanced understanding of UE and RE, this class introduces them to a variety of significant international standards in the fields of Software Engineering and of Ergonomics.

Please contact Prof. Carter if you are interested in further information about this class.

Course Syllabus CMPT 479 / 817

Catalog Description

This course presents a requirements engineering (RE) approach to usability engineering (UE) by providing in depth coverage of the Usability Centered Development of information systems. UE is a structured approach to developing usable user interface designs. UE helps integrate human-computer interaction (HCI) requirements and design approaches within development projects managed by software engineering (SE) methodologies. 


Class Time & Location: Tues & Thurs 1:00 - 2:20 in Spinks 371.

Website: http://userlab.usask.ca/CMPT 479/c479home.html

Instructor: Prof. Jim A. Carter, 280.3 Thorvaldson Bldg, 966-4893.

Office hours: Tues/Thurs 2:30 - 4:00 or by appointment.

Course Objectives

A student successfully completing this course shall be able:
  1. To identify opportunities for improving the usabillity and accessibility of existing and proposed systems
  2. To apply the components of the definitions of usability and accessibility to evaluating and developing interactive systems
  3. To apply usability methods in evaluating and developing interactive systems
  4. To apply principles and other forms of ergonomic and user interface guidance to evaluating and developing interactive systems
  5. To identify and analyze the various components of the overall context of use of an interactive system
  6. To develop usability and accessibility specifications that can be used in evaluating and developing interactive systems
  7. To identify techniques and technologies that can satisfy usability and accessibility specifications

Student Evaluation:

CMPT 479
CMPT 817
20% Assignment 1 
20% Assignment 2 
30% Term Project 
30% Final Exam
20% Assignment 1
20% Assignment 2
50% Term Project
10% Class Participation

NOTE: It is important to complete assignments and the term project on time. Students having difficulties in meeting the due dates are encouraged to discuss these difficulties with Prof. Carter as soon as possible.

Attendance Expectations

It is expected that students will attend and participate in all class sessions. Active participation in the discussion of class materials will help students to be able to apply the various concepts discussed. Students who are unable to attend a particular class are requested to advise the instructor by e-mail at least 30 minutes prior to the class.

Final Exam Scheduling

The final exam (for students in CMPT 479 only) will be a take home exam that covers the complete course. Students will be given at least 24 hours starting from the end of classes to complete the exam.

Note: All students must be properly registered in order to attend lectures and receive credit for this course.

Text / Recommended Reading:

The main text is a manuscript of the book: Usability Centered Development by Dr. Jim Carter. This is regularly updated to contain the latest international concensus on the various topics covered by this class.

Class notes are also provided that summarize key points in most of the chapters. Students may wish to download the class notes prior to the class to use as a basis for their personal note taking, however minor changes to the notes may be made by the instructor right up to class time. Lecture material will go beyond these notes and students are warned that reading the notes is not a substitute for attending and participating in class.

Free access to all chapters of the text will be provided to students registered in the class via the Moodle system.

The text and notes are copyright by Dr. Jim Carter and freely provided for the use of reigstered students in the class and shall not be shared or published outside the class.

Lecture Schedule

Dates Topics
Sept 6

0. Course Introduction
1. Introduction to Human-Centered Design and Usability-Centered Development
Sept 11
Sept 13
2. Usability, Accessibility and related concepts
(ch 2 continued)
Sept 18

Sept 20
3. Usability Methods
4. Principles and Other Sources of Guidance
Discuss Assignment 1 - Applying Principles  which is Due 12:00 noon, Thursday Oct 4
Sept 25
Sept 27
5. Possibilities and Scenarios
6. Identifying Tasks
Oct 2
Oct 4

7. Identifying Users
8. Identifying Content
* Assignment 1 - Applying Principles Due 12:00 noon, Thursday Oct 4
* Discuss Assignment 2- User Testing which is Due 12:00 noon Thursday Oct 18
Oct 9
Oct 11

9. Identifying Environments
10. Needs Assessment
* Discuss Term Project
* Proposal Due noon  Thursday Oct 25

Oct 16
Oct 18

11. Basic Task Characteristics
12. Additional Task Characteristics
* Assignment 2 Due 12:00 noon Thursday Oct 18
Oct 23
Oct 25

13. User Interaction Capabilities
14. User Cognitive and Affective Capabilities
* Project proposal due 12:00 noon Thursday Oct 25
Project context due
12:00 noon Thursday Nov 8
Oct 30
Nov 1
15. Group Characteristics
16. Content Issues
Nov 6
Nov 8

17. Specifying Needs, Requirements, and Recommendations
18. Interaction Design & 19. Guidance on Interaction Design
Project context due 12:00 noon Thursday Nov 8
Project analysis due 12:00 noon Thursday Nov 22 extended to 5:00 pm Thurs Dec 6
Nov 13
Nov 15
University Break
No Classes This Week
Nov 20
Nov 22

20. Interface (& Navigation) Design
21. Guidance on Interface Design
Project analysis due 12:00 noon Thursday Nov 22 extended to 5:00 pm Thurs Dec 6
* Completed  project design due 5:00 pm Thursday Dec 6
Nov 27
Nov 29
22. Implementation Issues
23. Usability Engineering
Dec 4
Dec 6

Student Project Presentations:
no class today
* Completed  project design due 5:00 pm Thursday Dec 6

Incomplete Course Work and Final Grades

"When a student has not completed the required course work, which includes any assignment or examination including the final examination, by the time of submission of the final grades, they may be granted an extension to permit completion of an assignment, or granted a deferred examination in the case of absence from a final examination. Extensions for the completion of assignments must be approved by the Department Head, or Dean in non-departmentalized Colleges, and may exceed thirty days only in unusual circumstances. The student must apply to the instructor for such an extension and furnish satisfactory reasons for the deficiency. Deferred final examinations are granted as per College policy.

In the interim, the instructor will submit a computed percentile grade for the course which factors in the incomplete course work as a zero, along with a grade comment of INF (Incomplete Failure) if a failing grade.

If an extension is granted and the required assignment is submitted within the allotted time, or if a deferred examination is granted and written in the case of absence from the final examination, the instructor will submit a revised computed final percentage grade. The grade change will replace the previous grade and any grade comment of INF (Incomplete Failure) will be removed.

For provisions governing examinations and grading, students are referred to the University Council Regulations on Examinations section of the Calendar.

(2011 University of Saskatchewan Calendar/Academic Courses Policy)

Further details of the Academic Course Policy can be found online at: http://policies.usask.ca/policies/academic-affairs/academic-courses.php

Academic Honesty

The University of Saskatchewan is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty.  Students are expected to be familiar with these standards regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect.  Students are particularly urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Student Conduct & Appeals section of the University Secretary Website and avoid any behavior that could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence.  Academic dishonesty is a serious offence and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University.

All students should read and be familiar with the Regulations on Academic Student Misconduct (http://www.usask.ca/university_secretary/honesty/StudentAcademicMisconduct.pdf ) as well as the Standard of Student Conduct in Non-Academic Matters and Procedures for Resolution of Complaints and Appeals (http://www.usask.ca/university_secretary/honesty/StudentNon-AcademicMisconduct2012.pdf ) Academic honesty is also defined and described in the Department of Computer Science Statement on Academic Honesty (http://www.cs.usask.ca/undergrad/honesty.php ).

For more information on what academic integrity means for students see the Student Conduct & Appeals section of the University Secretary Website at: http://www.usask.ca/university_secretary/pdf/dishonesty_info_sheet.pdf  

Examinations with Disability Services for Students (DSS)

Students who have disabilities (learning, medical, physical, or mental health) are strongly encouraged to register with Disability Services for Students (DSS) if they have not already done so. Students who suspect they may have disabilities should contact DSS for advice and referrals. In order to access DSS programs and supports, students must follow DSS policy and procedures. For more information, check http://www.students .usask.ca/disability/ , or contact DSS at 966-7273 or dss@usask.ca .

Students registered with DSS may request alternative arrangements for mid-term and final examinations. Students must arrange such accommodations through DSS by the stated deadlines. Instructors shall provide the examinations for students who are being accommodated by the deadlines established by DSS.  

Date of last revision: Aug 30, 2018