Course Title: User-centred Design

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: User-centred Design

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


140H Computer Science & Information Technology


Sem 1 2014,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 2 2016


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 2 2017,
Sem 1 2018


RMIT University Vietnam


140H Computer Science & Information Technology


Viet2 2015,
Viet3 2015,
Viet2 2016


RMIT University Vietnam


171H School of Science


Viet1 2017,
Viet3 2017

Course Coordinator: Dr Flora Salim

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 0291

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 14.11.33

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This is an introductory course to user-centred design and usability experience; consequently, if you have already completed User Interface Design or User Interface Programming, you do not need to take this course.

User-centred design is a design methodology that focuses on the needs of end users, limitations of end users, preferences of end users, and business objectives. This course is concerned with the development of interactive systems with a strong focus on user-centred design and usability principles. You will learn what characteristics of a user interface can make it easy or hard for people to use, and how to design user interfaces that take into account human capabilities and constraints. The emphasis will be on design first (iteratively, on paper or with prototyping tools). The design principles you learn here will be applied in the follow up courses in web and mobile application development.


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Program Learning Outcomes

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) for BP094 - Bachelor of Computer Science, BP162 - Bachelor of Information Technology, BP232 – Bachelor of Technology (Computing Studies), BP096 - Bachelor of Software Engineering

This course contributes to the following program learning outcomes:

  • Enabling Knowledge:
  • You will gain skills as you apply knowledge effectively in diverse contexts.
  • Critical Analysis:-- analyse and model requirements and constraints for the purpose of designing and implementing software artefacts and IT systems
  • -- evaluate and compare designs of software artefacts and IT systems on the basis of organisational and user requirements.
  • You will learn to accurately and objectively examine and consider computer science and information technology (IT) topics, evidence, or situations, in particular to:
  • Problem Solving:
  • Your capability to analyse problems and synthesise suitable solutions will be extended as you learn to: design and implement software solutions that accommodate specified requirements and constraints, based on analysis or modelling or requirements specification.
  • Communication:
  • You will learn to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences through a range of modes and media, in particular to: present a clear, coherent and independent exposition of software applications, alternative IT solutions, and decision recommendations to both IT and non-IT personnel via technical reports of professional standard and technical presentations.
  • Team Work:
  • You will learn to work as an effective and productive team member in a range of professional and social situations, in particular to: work effectively in different roles, to form, manage, and successfully produce outcomes from teams, whose members may have diverse cultural backgrounds and life circumstances, and differing levels of technical expertise.


Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. analyse users’ needs, usability goals and user experience goals of a small-to-medium-sized software application
  2. understand the components of a design plan and apply user-centred design process from requirement gathering to user studies and evaluation
  3. critically analyse usability of sample interfaces and identify key features that make an outstanding user-centred interface, and evaluate the usability of a small-to-medium-sized software application
  4. create a ‘usability checklist’ that enhances the usability of a web or mobile application, in order to summarize and explain usability concepts, relevant alternatives, and decision recommendations to your peers and IT specialists
  5. apply software and paper prototyping tools to design user interfaces that take into account human capabilities and constraints, users’ needs, usability goals and user experience goals
  6. synthesize the design and evaluation of various components of user interface effectively in teams in and peer-review team members’ works and contributions.


Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities included in this course are:

The core material of the course will be presented in a series of lectures, where content will be described and illustrated with demonstrations and examples. Particularly when elements of interface design are presented, the lectures will include class discussion.

Reinforcement of lecture content will take place in tutorials with a focus on problem solving providing practice in the application of theory and procedures, and allowing exploration of concepts with teaching staff and your fellow students. The tutorials will also provide you with feedback on your progress and understanding.

Practical assignments that will test your application of knowledge by getting you to critique existing user interfaces as well as design and prototyping a new interface to an existing system.

Your private study, working through course materials and suggested wider reading will help you gain practice at solving conceptual and technical problems.


A total of 120 hours of study is expected during this course, comprising:

Teacher-directed hours (48 hours): lectures, tutorials and laboratory sessions. Each week there will be 2 hours of lecture and tutorial plus 2 hours of computer laboratory work. You are encouraged to participate during lectures through asking questions, commenting on the lecture material based on your own experiences and through presenting solutions to written exercises. The tutorial / laboratory sessions will introduce you to the tools necessary to undertake the assignment work.

Student-directed hours (72 hours): You are expected to be self-directed, studying independently outside class.


Overview of Learning Resources

You will make extensive use of computer laboratories and relevant software provided by the School. You will be able to access course information and learning materials through myRMIT and may be provided with copies of additional materials in class or via email. Lists of relevant reference texts, resources in the library and freely accessible Internet sites will be provided.

The course is supported by the Blackboard learning management system which provides specific learning resources. See the RMIT Library Guide at


Overview of Assessment

Note: This course has no hurdle requirements. The assessment for this course comprises:

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1: Practical Group Project Assignments

Weighting 45%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1-6

Consists of Assignment 1, Assignment 2 Part A and Part B


Assessment Task 2: In-class Test and Quizzes

Weighting 15%

This assessment task supports CLOs 2-5


Assessment Task 3: Examination

Weighting 40%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1-5