[I-U Logo] Human-Computer Interaction / Interactive Systems
BSc, MICT IT440: First trimester 2001/2002, both modules, 2 credits
BBA IT294: First trimester 2001/2002, first module, 1 credit

Contents of this page (last modified: Friday, 24 May 2002)

What's New

This course is now over, but this web page will remain available indefinitely.

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Electronic Versions of Slides

Note: The PDF files with the class slides are also available in the class folders for IT440 (and IT294) at the usual location on the IU intranet. Each Tuesday, the slides from that afternoon's class will be available on the intranet by 13.30, so that those who wish to do so can download them before the class.

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IBIS and Outline Mode

Starting Points for IBIS Argumentations

Each of the following files contains settings that are useful for the writing of an IBIS argumentation in Word's outline mode. It also contains the text that you can find on Slide 378 (Class 10).

The two files are identical in content; two versions are provided because Microsoft formats often don't work on some versions of Microsoft software. Once you've downloaded a version that works on your system, you can use it as a starting point for your own IBIS argumentations.

It may take a while to become skilled at using outline mode, but it's well worth the effort, even aside from IBIS. For example, writing an increasingly detailed outline is an effective way to prepare the first draft of a normal manuscript.

Please don't try to get by without these templates by just switching to outline mode in Word. The fonts that Word uses by default in outline mode are inappropriate for IBIS analyses, so the result would be hard to read.

Using the Template in Outline Mode

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Course Overview

People used to grumble about computer software that was hard to learn or use. Nowadays, more and more, they just hit the "Back" button of their browser or put the fancy mobile phone back on the shelf; and within seconds they have been lost as customers. The critical economic importance of usability has created a great demand for those who know how to make systems usable.

In the first half of this course (and part of the second half), you will learn to analyze particular system designs in terms of how well they take into account the properties of their users, which range from their perceptual strengths and limitations to their social and organizational environment. Examples will refer to the current generation of interactive computing systems (including web-related technologies, mobile devices, and systems for e-commerce), but you will learn general concepts and principles that will also be applicable to future technological innovations.

In part of the second half of the course, you be introduced to the most important methods for designing usable systems. (Extensive experience in applying these methods can be gained in the more advanced follow-up course.)

During the three hours of class each week, there will be presentation of new material by the instructor, interleaved with discussion of specific problems and examples in which all students are expected to take part actively. The weekly homework assignments will give an opportunity for independent work.

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Organisational Aspects


The course is open to BSc and MICT students.

It has been arranged that BBA students may attend the first module in lieu of the originally planned 1-credit course "Interactive Systems". The first module will be structured accordingly.

Time and Place

Classes will be held each week from 14.10 to 17.20 (with a break from 15.40 to 15.50) in Room 2.3.08, starting on September 11th.


As a supplement to the materials distributed and presented in class, a number of the chapters of the following textbook will be assigned as required reading:

Several copies of the book are available in the University's library, but its purchase is recommended, since it can serve as a valuable resource after the course. (Although several other HCI texts have appeared or been announced since 1998, this book is still clearly the most suitable one for a course like this one.) Detailed information about the book is available from a separate Web page.

Probably the best way to obtain this book is to order it from http://www.amazon.de. To find it quickly:

  1. Click on the blue box labeled "English Bookstore" near the top of the page.
  2. Type "human-computer interaction" into the search field ("Schnellsuche").
  3. Click on "Human Computer Interaction von Alan Dix (Taschenbuch - Oktober 1997)".

It is said to be ready for shipment within "1-2 weeks". There will be no shipping charges within Germany, so the total cost will really be DM 119.95. One possible cost-cutting strategy is for a group of students who work together to purchase and share one copy.

Note: The course description on the IU web site warned that "Editions that appeared before 1998 should not be used". This warning does not apply to the book being sold by Amazon.de, although the date of appearance is for some reason listed as "October 1997": This is evidently really the most recent (second) edition. The first edition, however, which appeared in 1993, should not be purchased or used.


Students are encouraged to read in advance the grading policy that will be applied in this course.

Instructor's Coordinates

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