Interface Design (271145)

Learning Outcomes

This curricular unit aims to introduce students to the fundamental principles and methodologies concerning user-centered design for interactive systems. For that purpose, this course starts by exploring the main theoretical concepts regarding Human-Computer Interaction (usability engineering, user-centered design) and User and Task Analysis. Students are then introduced to more practical concepts focused on understanding and conceptualizing interaction (conceptual models), prototyping techniques and screen and web design, by exploring, designing and implementing graphical interfaces. Concepts related to evaluation of user interfaces are covered during their design/implementation, in such a way that students are able to choose the most proper evaluation method for each stage of the design process (predictive evaluation, heuristic evaluation and user testing).

Study Program


  • Human-Computer Interaction: What and Why
  • Good versus Bad design: its influence on the success of interactive systems
  • Human Perception and Cognition (vision, hearing, touch, movement, attention
  • and memory)
  • User-Centered Design
  • Usability Engineering and User Experience goals


User and Task Analysis

  • The objectives of user and task analysis
  • Characteristics, profiles, needs and motivations of users
  • Stages of users
  • Creating Personas
  • Task Selection and description
  • Activity Scenarios, Use Cases and Essential Use Cases
  • Data Collection (questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, observation and
  • documentation)
  • Usability Requirements


Conceptualizing Interaction

  • Conceptual Models (metaphors, concepts, relationships between concepts and
  • mappings)
  • Mental Models



  • Prototypes’ characterization (breadth, depth, fidelity and functionality:
  • horizontal and vertical prototypes; lo-fi and hi-fi prototypes; functional and
  • non-functional prototypes)
  • Interaction scenarios and storyboards
  • Paper prototypes and functional prototypes
  • Wizard-of-Oz


Screen Design

  • Principles of Graphic Design
  • Color and Typography
  • Writing messages for the user
  • Dividing tasks by screens


Web Design

  • Layout
  • Content
  • Navigation
  • Portability and Accessibility



  • Predictive Evaluation (GOMS and KLM models)
  • Heuristic Evaluation (Nielsen’s usability heuristics, performing and
  • consolidating experts’ evaluations)
  • User Testing



Introdução ao Design de Interfaces, Manuel J. Fonseca, Pedro Campos e Daniel Gonçalves, FCA - Editora de Informática, Lda, 2012 (2a edição).
Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction, J. Preece, H. Sharp and Y. Rogers - John Wiley & Sons, 2002 (1st edition), 2009 (2nd edition), 2011 (3rd edition) and 2015 (4th edition).