usability, design, interaction design, information, web usability, user interface design, usability engineering,user testing, usability inspection, heuristic evaluation, webdesign, UI, GUI, HCI, user-centered design,human-computer interaction, mensch computer interaktion,universität konstanz, usability test, benutzerfreundlichkeit, mensch-maschine-interaktion, mensch-computer-interaktion, human-computer-interaction, usable, website usability, ergonomie, ergonomisch, psychologie, gestalt principles, scenario, information visualization,informationsvisualisierung, User Interface Evaluation, Usability testing, Human Factors, Erogonomic, Ergonomics, User Interfaces, User Interface, Interfaces, informations visualisierung, visual information seeking system, visual search interface, Mensch & Computer 2012Harald Reiterer


Usability Engineering: Design


Harald Reiterer


Simon Butscher







Di / Tu 10:00 - 11:30 (V); 11:45 - 13:15 (Ü)


This course is about systematic approaches for developing user-centered interactive products (eg, application software, websites, information appliances, etc.). The course thereby focuses on the comparison and the practical application of various popular process models and methods within user-centered design. In addition to these theoretical approaches, the practical part includes the development of innovative product concepts and designs.
The contents of the course are primarily based on four popular models of the usability engineering approach (see Literature) in addition to an exploratory design phase. During the course, the basic concepts and methods of these process models will be taught. Similarities and differences between the process models and techniques will be compared by identifying individual advantages and disadvantages.
The lecture thereby covers following subjects:

  • General process models and practices in usability engineering
  • Creative techniques for the exploration of design problems and design solutions (Affinity Diagramming, Sketching)
  • Methods for determining the needs and requirements from the context of use (eg User Roles, Task Analysis)
  • Techniques for the preparation of design studies (eg. conceptual and physical interaction design, Prototyping)

These theoretical foundations are applied in practice for developing ideas and concepts as well as attractive design studies. This practical part will be conducted in groups. Results are presented regularly to the other students for discussion and evaluation.

Learning Objectives:
  • Acquisition and analysis of needs and requirements derived from the context of use
  • Design of conceptual models and design alternatives (Modeling & Sketching)
  • Development of interactive design studies (Mockups & Prototypes)
The contents of the BA-course "Interaktive Systeme" (University of Konstanz) or similar lectures from other Universities (e.g. Human-Computer Interaction, Usability Engineering) should be known.

A total of 180 hours
  • 56 hours compulsory attendance
  • 124 hours home work






Written midterm examination on the contents of the theoretical part. (Duration: one hour) Conduction of a user-centered design process in the group by following a specific process model. Documentation of all steps and intermediate results. Regular presentation of these results using diagrams, sketches and interactive prototypes. Presentation dates: mid to end of the semester. Attendance at these meetings is mandatory for all students! An online documentation (in BSCW) of the group‘s project on the basis of presentation slides, artifacts, models, style guides etc. is required. A comprehensible documentation of the group‘s process and design decisions must be delivered in a separate document (eg, slides).


As an introduction to the topic we recommend:

  • Preece J., Rogers Y., Sharp H.: Interaction Design, John Wiley & Sons, 2002
The main contents of the course are based on the following textbooks:
  • Buxton B., Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design, Morgan Kaufmann, 2007
  • Constantine L., Lockwood L., Software for use, Addison-Wesley, 1999
  • Mayhew D., The Usability Engineering Lifecycle, Morgan Kaufmann, 1998
  • Rosson M., Carroll J., Usablity Engineering - Scenario-based Development of Human-Computer Interaction, Morgan Kaufmann, 2002
  • Beyer H., Holtzblatt K., Contextual Design, Morgan Kaufmann, 1998