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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[60/61]  COMPUTER SCIENCE [61/00 - Ord. 2016]  PERCORSO COMUNE 6 60


Knowledge and understanding

The course provides an introduction to the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) field and to the main aspects involved in the human interaction with different devices. The course provides the concepts and the knowledge for understanding the human cognitive process for elaborating information, and the techniques and tools for designing, implementing and evaluating interfaces for interactive systems. In addition, we discuss the different modalities and platforms for creating user interfaces, from classical WIMP, to mobile, ubiquitous, distributed and natural interfaces.

Applying knowledge and understanding

The student will be able to apply the knowledge in concrete projects, learning to design satisfactory, pleasant and efficient interaction experiences, and to make design choices according to the user’s mental model. In addition the student will be able to understand and use software toolkits for building user interafaces, applying such knowledge in a case study. Through this final practical assignment, the student will increase his/her teamwork skills, maintaining a good level of independence inside the group, as happens in real working teams.

Making judgements

The student will learn how to evaluate autonomously the advantages and disadvantages of different solutions in interaction design and to analyse adequately results coming from user studies and other evaluation techniques. S/He will learn how to select a user interface technology that is convenient for the considered case study, focusing on interaction-related aspects.


The student will be able to understand and use correctly the HCI vocabulary, to communicate and explain interaction problems and solutions to both experts and non experts. In particular, the final assignment includes teamwork that will stimulate the communication first inside the group, in order to evaluate the design alternatives, and then outside the group in an oral presentation, where students will explain their choices using HCI theories and concepts.

Lifelong learning skills

The course will enable students to approach the different open research question in the HCI area, and to deepen the knowledge of the novel development and evaluation techniques for interfaces in industry settings.


The course does not have any particular prerequisite, but a basic knowledge of the computer organization and at least of one programming language (e.g. Java) is recommended, in particular for the practical part.


  1. HCI introduction (1h lecture)

  2. The interaction devices  (1h lecture)

    1. Input devices: text editing, pointing, tracking, environment and physiological parameters detection

    2. Output devices: display, printing, sound and language synthesis, haptic devices

  3. The human (8h lectures)

    1. Perception: sight, hearing, touch

    2. Memory

    3. The thought and the information processing

    4. Emotions

    5. Interface design implications

  4. The Design of user interfaces (10h lectures, 12h lab)

    1. Interaction models

    2. The design process

    3. User requirements (personas, scenarios, task analysis)

    4. Prototypes and iterations

    5. Design rules (standard, guidelines, heuristics, pattern)

  5. Usability evaluation (4h lectures, 6h lab)

    1. Usability definition

    2. Models

    3. User observation

    4. User feedback

    5. Inspection

    6. Remote evaluation

  6. User Interface toolkits (12h lab)

    1. Event model

    2. Standard widgets

    3. Widgets groups and state handling

    4. Custom widgets

Teaching Methods

The course consists of lectures (24h) and lab activities (36h). During the theory lectures, the course topics are explained to the students. Students apply such knowledge during the practice lectures for creating a small project, which consist in planning, designing and evaluation a user interface for an application that has particular interaction needs, such as a multi-device support, multimodality, accessibility, different context of use or mobility support.

The technical knowledge and understanding of the user interface toolkits will be covered during lab lessons. Students will create the low-fidelity prototype during the practical lessons and they will complete it at the end of the course.

Verification of learning

The student’s grade is calculated as follows:  

  • 60% depends on a written test on the concepts discussed during the theory lectures. The test is splitted in two parts in the middle and at the end of the course, or it can be taken at once in the following examination dates.

  • 40% depends on the practical part.

The practical part consists of creating a report on the different interface design and evaluation phases, which will be presented to the teacher though a small talk. The evaluation of the practical part is individual.


Recommended book

  • Gamberini, Chittaro, Paternò: Human-Computer Interaction: I fondamenti dell’interazione tra persone e tecnologie, Pearson (2012).

Additional books

  • Dix, Finlay, Abowd, Beale: Interazione Uomo Macchina (terza edizione); McGraw Hill Italia (2004)

  • Preece, Rogers, Sharp: Interaction Design: beyond human-computer interaction (3rd edition), Wiley (2011)

More Information

The teacher will provide during the course slides and online references.

Questionnaire and social

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