User Experience Design

This class aims at familiarizing students with both the theory behind the discipline of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and the practical process of User eXperience (UX) design. Students not only develop an awareness and appreciation of the crucial implications of good interfaces in terms of overall system performance and user satisfaction, but also learn core skills needed in order to identify user requirements, envision interfaces and processes, and evaluate competing design options. Students will work in small teams of 3-5 to drive a design project from start to finish. Core skills are introduced in hands-on classes, interspersed with lectures and discussions about the underlying theory.


Definitions and Formalisms;
User requirement Gathering and Analysis;
Focus Groups, Interviews and Questionnaires;
Scenario Based Approach;
Interface Design;
Use of Metaphors and Models;
Mock-ups and Prototypes;
Evaluation Techniques:
Heuristic vs. Empirical;
Formative Evaluation.

Teaching Mode

Students will be encouraged to take an active role and explore the importance of HCI on software design, development, testing and evaluation. Classes will alternate traditional lecture based ones with problem based learning sessions when students will be working in small groups to find solutions to problems generated by poor interface design.


The course textbook is

  • The UX Book: Process and Guidelines for Ensuring a Quality User Experience; Rex Hartson and Pardha Pyla; Morgan Kaufmann, 2012, ISBN: 0123852412.

However, students are encouraged to also look at other textbooks in his area, including:

  • Carroll, J., M. (2002) Human-computer interaction in the new millennium, Addison Wesley
  • Carroll, J., M. (2003) HCI Models, Theories, and Frameworks: Toward a Multidisciplinary Science (Interactive Technologies)
  • Lazar J. Dr.. (2007) Universal Usability: Designing Computer Interfaces for Diverse User Populations, John Wiley and Sons.
  • Raskin J. (2000) The Humane Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems, ACM Press.
  • Shneiderman, B., Plaisant, C. (2004) Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction; Addison-Wesley, 1987. Fourth edition with Catherine Plaisant as co-author 2004.

Students are strongly encouraged to use online sources and journals, starting from the very extensive HCI bibliography web site, by Gary Perlman. It is highly recommended to browse USI library looking at the HCI dedicated shelf, Dewey code 004.019 where students will find all relevant textbooks. Lecturer will point at additional relevant papers for students to read and discuss weekly in class.

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Profs. S. Santini and M. Langheinrich
Università della Svizzera italiana (USI)
Faculty of Informatics
Via G. Buffi 13
6900 Lugano, Switzerland


ClassSemesterInstructorTeaching Assistant(s)
UX Design 2022 Fall
UX Design 2018 Fall
UX Design 2017 Fall
HCI Design 2016 Fall
HCI Design 2015 Fall
HCI Design 2014 Spring
HCI Design 2013 Spring
HCI Design 2012 Spring
HCI Design 2011 Spring

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