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Introduction toUser-Centred Interaction Design

USI Programme, Module by Panos Markopoulos

December 2008

The aim of this module is to provide a step-by-step introduction to user-centered  interaction design.

We shall do this by means of a mini-projects during which students execute a single iteration through a typical user-centred design cycle. 

The mini-project lasts two weeks and is punctuated by lectures that introduce students to some of the basic interaction design techniques.  Topics covered are:

The students have to present intermediate results at 3 stages of the project:

Projects will be executed by 4 teams.  Teams should be mixed.

Topic for the mini-project

Scenario 1. Andrea pays for his conference trip

Andrea is in the plane collecting receipts, adding figures to complete his travel cost declaration form back at the office.

He has just been at a conference in a nice location. He has been relatively organized when he was there, collecting all receipts that he could. sometimes this was not possible, since he was with many colleagues who also needed an original receipt to get paid from their employer.

Andrea adds up the bills, completes information that he knows by heart (address, phone number, etc.). He leaves empty the boxes requiring personnel number that he never remembers by heart, and he also needs to fill in the number of the permission form his boss signed before the conference. These he will do the next day at the office before he hands the form together with the receipts to his boss.

It's a long and annoying process, and he is very messy with forms. His boss sometimes needs to control costs and always needs to check against previous agreements made, e.g., what conferences have been agreed for the whole year, how is the travel budget of the group doing, etc. 

This vignette highlights some of the issues surrounding paper administration of payments and cost declarations. Your task is to see how to automate this process, making it easier for all parties to carry out their work better, and taking care of the needs of different stakeholders.

Scenario 2 Bob browses down the corridor

Bob is waiting for an appointment with Cristina his mentor.

In the corridor he sees some posters that she or her colleagues have placed, regarding conferences, upcoming or long past, design competitions, newspaper cuttings, etc. He is wondering if he should barge in. Her door is closed, and he does not have an appointment. He knocked but could hear no response.

He notices the doors next to her are closed, but recognized the names of the occupants posted next to the doors. They appear familiar at least, but he is not sure what they do, know and if they are in today to help him instead of Cristina.

Looking into the open office area he seems some people working but they are just staring at their screens. It is not clear what they do, and he is sometimes curious.

We are looking for ways that technology can augment corridors and make them interactive information displays that users can explore to address some of the needs hinted at in this vignette: coordinating, social interaction, sharing information, becoming aware, etc.


Recommended text book : Preece,J., Rogers,Y., and Sharp, H., Interaction Design, Wiley, 2002.

I will also be asking you to read from the following books:



Lecture / Presentations


Mon Dec 1


Introduction/Overview of module

Interaction Design Lifecycle

Defining Design Problems

Present different lifecycle models from literature

Newman and Lamming ch 2

Mayhew chapters 2

optional: Preece, Rogers and Sharp chapter 1,

optional: Jordan: chapter 3.


Tue Dec 2


Presentation Lifecycle Models

Introduction to User Profiling

Personas by Cooper

Mayhew Chapter 3

optional: Preece, Rogers and Sharp, chapter 7

Wed Dec 3


Introduction to Task Analysis  

Fri 5/12


Introduction to Personas

Presentations of User Study

Draft report on problem definition and user requirements 

Mon 8/12



Conceptual design, metaphors and lo-fi prototypes, idea generation

Preece, Rogers & Sharp, chapter 8


Wed 10/12


Concept design presentations


Preece et Al chapter 6

  Intro to Detailed Interaction Design  
Fri 12/12


Intro to Evaluation Chapter 10 on Evaluation
Mon 15/12


Text Input Techniques - Master Class by Janet Read  

Wed 17/12


Presentations of whole project

Hand in Final Report

Ground Rules for Presentations

Everyone should be present in the class at the starting time listed above.

To minimize change-over time, presenters should have one laptop connected, with access (through the network or USB stick or hard disc) to the presentations of each team.

In preparing your presentations, make sure you describe:

It helps if the whole class is interactive, so you can learn from each other's experiences. So ask questions, share your thoughts about the work of other people.

Try to remain constructive even when you are offering critique. You can inquire about the rationale of other people's work, suggest shortcomings, offer alternatives, but do so in a helpful manner that does not become a personal confrontation.

Ground Rules for Reporting

Reports must be mailed by17:00 on the day of its specified deadline.

Hard copies of interim reports should be handed in on the first meeting after the deadline.

The hard copy of the final report should be handed in during the final presentation.

Hand in your best shot no iterations of deliverables with me will be supported (i.e., I will not be correcting the same work till it is good enough).

You can use any format you like e.g., the SIGCHI format or the simple template provided.

Past runs of the course

This course has been running since 2002. You can find information on these earlier versions: 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004