Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer

COMP33512: User Experience (2012-2013)

This is an archived syllabus from 2012-2013

User Experience
Level: 3
Credit rating: 10
Pre-requisites: COMP23420: Software Engineering ? or a demonstrable equivalent.
Co-requisites: None
Course Leader: Simon Harper
Course leader: Simon Harper

Additional staff: view all staff
Sem 2 Lecture 1.5 Wed 11:00 - 13:00 -
Sem 2 WORKSHOP IT407 Wed 11:00 - 13:00 -
Assessment Breakdown
Exam: 70%
Coursework: 30%
Lab: 0%

Themes to which this unit belongs
  • Interactive Systems Design
  • Software Engineering


User Experience (UX or UE) is often conated with usability but takes its lead from the emerging discipline of experience design (XD). In reality, this means that usability is often thought of as being within the technical domain. Often being responsible for engineering aspects of the interface or interactive behaviour by building usability paradigms directly into the system. On the other hand user experience is meant to convey a wider remit which does not just primarily focus on the interface but other psychological aspects of the use behaviour.


The aim of the unit is to give the student: tools, techniques, and the mindset necessary to competently approach their first user testing and user experience job. The unit is designed from a practical perspective and will enable the student to take up a junior role in a user experience department, or usability company, and provide them with the overview knowledge to communicate with others and make sensible suggestions regarding UX work. The unit is not intended to be a comprehensive treaties of the subject - indeed this could not be accomplished in such a short space of time - however, it will provide the basis for the students future study within the domain.

Programme outcomeUnit learning outcomesAssessment
A2 A3 A5Have an understanding of the domain, concepts, and important and upcoming aspects of UX along with aspects of user interaction and cognition. In particular to have an understanding of the importance of Standards, Technologies, and Guidelines in the process;
  • Examination
C4Have an understanding of relevant methods including experiment design, application, and the ethical issues surrounding such a design;
  • Individual coursework
  • Examination
A1 D6Have an understanding of, and be able to select and apply, the relevant descriptive statistical tests associated with UX Engineering;
  • Individual coursework
  • Examination
B1 C4Be able to analyse and critique UX work, experimental studies, and computer interfaces;
  • Examination
  • Individual coursework
B3 C4Use analysis techniques associated with their knowledge of the domain to understand the problems associated with different designs, and suggests solutions for their resolution.
  • Individual coursework


The unit comprises twenty-one teaching sessions with one extra for the covering of revision topics. Students will be expect to devote further time for their own study and for the completion of their coursework { this is expected for all units and is detailed in the course / programme handbook. The twenty-one traditional lectures will be interspersed with four discussion lectures in which the material for the coursework will be discussed. The majority of this material will be covered by directed reading followed by discussion. Coursework work will take the form of a critique of the students previous Software Engineering HCI focused work, along with 3 x 250 word discussions of key UX topics.

The unit will progress as follows:

'Everything is Wrong!':

1. What is UX? Why is it Important? What does the UX landscape look like? What will be covered in the unit? What will not be covered? How will you be examined and how will the work be presented?

2. Discussion Topic: Law, Effie Lai-Chong and Roto, Virpi and Hassenzahl, Marc and Vermeeren, Arnold P.O.S. and Kort, Joke (2009). Understanding, scoping and de ning user experience: a survey approach Proceedings of the 27th international conference on Human factors in computing systems, 1 (1), 719-728 :10.1145/1518701.1518813.

Developing with the User in Mind:

3. Methodologies and lifecycles; and

4. Requirements Elicitation & Analysis

User Centred Design / User Experience Design:

5. The UX Design Process; and the

6. Outputs of Design (Use Cases, Stories, Scenarios, Personas, Wireframes, Flows, Audits, and Mock-ups).

E ective Use:

7. People, Perception, Cognition, and Barriers; and

8. Accessibility Principles and Practice.Effcient Use:

9. Usability, Developing the Interface, and Standards and Guidelines; and

10. Discussion Topic: Smith, D. C., E. F. Harslem, C. H. Irby, R. B. Kimball, and W. L. Verplank. Designing the Star User Interface. Byte, April 1982.

Emotional Design:

11. A ective Computing; and

12. Discussion Topic: Norman, D A, Emotional Design: People and Things - abstracted at design people and things.html.

Digital Umami:

13. Designing the Experience; and

14. Playfulness, Gami cation, and Funology.


15. Scienti c Method, Planning Experiments: Formative and Summative Investigations, Sampling,

Participant Selection and Recruitment, and Research Ethics; and

16. Qualitative and Quantitative Methods. Analysis and Reporting:

17. Analysis and Reporting; and

18. Descriptive Statistics.

UX in the Real World:

19. Real World Problems; and

20. Discussion Topic: Voice loops as cooperative aids in space shuttle mission control, Watts, Jennifer C. and Woods, David D. and Corban, James M. and Patterson, Emily S. and Kerr, Ronald L. and Hicks, LaDessa C., 1996.


21. The Unit Revision Lecture; and

22. Variance: Just in case something goes wrong or we take longer than expected to cover the topics.

Reading List

Core Text
Title: Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance
Author: Pirsig, Robert M.
ISBN: 9780099786405
Publisher: Vintage Classics
Edition: Vintage 2008 edition
Year: 2008