CS 352 Winter 2022
Introduction to Usability Engineering

Time: MW 8-9:50am
Classroom Location: FURMAN 102 (in-person; no zoom location)

Instructor: Prof. Margaret Burnett
E-Mail: burnett@eecs.oregonstate.edu
Office Hours: listed on my home page
Office Hours Location: KEC 3051

TA: Rupika Dikkala
E-Mail: dikkalar@oregonstate.edu
Office Hours: 9:30-11:00am Tuesday/Thursday
Office Hours Location: Kelley Atrium or Zoom


Course Description

This class will give you hands-on experience with usability evaluation and user-centered design. In this class you will not learn how to implement user interfaces, but rather how to design these based on the needs of users, which you will determine, and learn how to evaluate your designs rigorously. This is a class for those who wish to know more about usability, human-computer interaction, the psychological aspects of computing, evaluation, and/or experimentation.

There will be no programming. However, a significant portion of your grade will be based on a team project, where you will propose, prototype (using a special prototyping tool), and evaluate your own solutions.

This class will be similar to the Winter 2019 version of this course.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the human centered design process and usability engineering process and their roles in system design and development.
  2. Discuss usability design guidelines, their foundations, assumptions,advantages, and weaknesses.
  3. Describe basics of human subjects research.
  4. Complete a basic human subjects research certification form.
  5. Design a user interface based on analysis of human needs and prepare a prototype system.
  6. Assess user interfaces using different usability engineering techniques.
  7. Make an oral presentation that justifies design decisions.

How the course will be conducted, method of instruction

This class is meant to be a hand-on course. This means that you will be required to work on group projects (~4 person groups) and classwork (in addition to doing readings) outside of class time. This class will also be very interactive. Participation will count towards your final grade, and I want a healthy discussion in each class session.

You are responsible for having done the reading before attending class that day and be ready to participate in the discussion. To ensure that everyone keeps up with the reading, there will be a short quiz almost every week. I may not go over all the reading material in class, preferring to spend that time elaborating or discussing that material with you. This does not mean the assigned reading is not important, or will not be covered in a test.

Please note: There is no zoom version, as this is not a hybrid class. If attending class in person is problematic for you, one of the e-campus sections of CS352 will be a better fit for you.


I have high expectations. Thus, in this class, "A" does not mean "adequate" or "nothing really wrong": instead, it means "excellent". For an A, you should expect to work hard and get the most you can out of the class.



We will also have selected readings from other sources, but you don't have to buy those.

Classroom Policies

This class is our community.

Every student should feel safe and welcome to contribute in this course, and it is all of our jobs to make sure this is the case. I will try to establish this tone whenever possible, but ultimately the responsibility for cultivating a safe and welcoming community belongs to the students—that means you! Fortunately, forming a safe and welcoming community is not too hard. A good place to start is to recognize (and continually remind yourself) of the following facts:

In short, treat your classmates as respected colleagues, support each other when needed, have fun without spoiling it for anyone else, and everybody wins.

What to bring to class

Students with Disabilities

Accommodations for students with disabilities are determined and approved by Disability Access Services (DAS). If you, as a student, believe you are eligible for accommodations but have not obtained approval please contact DAS immediately at 541-737-4098 or at http://ds.oregonstate.edu. DAS notifies students and faculty members of approved academic accommodations and coordinates implementation of those accommodations. While not required, students and faculty members are encouraged to discuss details of the implementation of individual accommodations.

Other Resources and Links

Schedule (subject to change)

The schedule is on the CS352 Canvas site. Or, see the schedule followed in the Winter 2019 version of this course, as this year's course has a similar schedule.

Margaret M. Burnett
Date of last update: Jan. 12, 2022