Human - Computer Interaction


The objective of this course is to provide a broad but complete view on the problems, methodologies and practices of designing and evaluating human-computer interaction experiences, as a part of the software engineering lifecycle or of other product design processes. Students will learn the historical background and the current technological context, the enabling technologies and, notably, the state-of-the-art interaction technologies. Students will understand how to obtain information about end user's needs and goals, their current and desired tasks, while taking into account their perception and cognitive capabilities, so that the designing the interactive user experience of a computing solution, can be an effective and efficient process. Students will follow the complete process of designing interactive user experiences, in the context of a group project on a topic of their choice, relating to a general theme proposed by the Professor. This iterative process includes defining the problem, deriving user requirements, developing a low-fidelity prototype as a solution that meets such requirements, evaluating it by experts, pursuing new development cycle of the prototype that culminates in conducting an experimental study with real end users. This last step ensures the validation of the final version of the prototype of the IPM solution developed by the group, with methods of descriptive and analytical statistics.

As to more specific objectives, the following knowledge acquisition by the students stands out, in the context of the complete process of designing interactive user experiences:

  • User requirements gathering and analysis - Students will understand what visual interface and interactive user experience they must design and build, as a solution to a problem they must first identify, using an iterative approach. Students will be able to define functional user requirements and those related to the usability of the interface solution they will build, taking into account the profile of the end user, their skills and limitations, the current and desired tasks, the restrictions of the environment of use of the solution, other restrictions related to computational equipment, culture, language, geopolitical, adopting appropriate methods of data collection and analysis, such as questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, the study of competition in the market, analysis of the state of the art, among others.
  • Design - Students will know how to create the best design proposal for the interactive user experience and user interface, as a solution to the problem in question, using storyboarding, low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototyping approaches.
  • Heuristic evaluation - Students will know how to ensure that their design proposals for interactive user experiences, are usable by people. In this sense, the respective prototype proposals will be subject to a new iteration, after heuristic evaluation of an empirical nature, performed by experts.
  • Study and evaluation with users - Students will be able to design user studies based on tasks performed with the interactive prototype created, identifying population, sample, dependent, independent and control variables of a given study, and will also know how to raise hypotheses (including the null hypothesis) on the dependent variables. Using appropriate data collection methodologies for end users, as well as descriptive and inference statistical methods, students will be able to carry out a summative assessment and a critical analysis of the dependents hypotheses, and thus conclude on the usability and satisfaction of the requirements, regarding the final version of the developed prototype.
  • Group project planning and execution - Students will develop group work skills, including planning, division of tasks and oral expression skills, acquired throughout the course with the production, discussion with the professor and presentation of the seven deliverables related to the group project.

General characterization





Responsible teacher


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language

Portuguese. If there are Erasmus students, classes will be taught in English


There are no specific course prerequisites, other than the ability to communicate in English.




Teaching method

In this Curricular Unit the following learning methodologies apply, for a total of 168 hours of contact with the Professor and autonomous student work:

  • Traditional lectures for presenting theoretical frameworks (28:30 hours).
  • Participative lectures in the analysis and discussion of case studies (3 hours).
  • Active lectures for developing the 7 deliverables of the group project ¿ laboratory work (36 hours).
  • Tutorial guidance sessions, synchronous or asynchronous, with the Professor, to support group projects (10 hours).

An average of 6:45 hours/academic week (for 15 weeks) of self-study and autonomous work is expected from each student, to consult the bibliography, review the theoretical material and perform group work deliverables (100:30 hours).

The total workload required by the UC is estimated at 4:30 hours of curricular hours of contact with the professor weekly, featuring 2 classes, the first of 1:30 and the 2nd of 3 hours (with an interval of 10 minutes after 1:30), corresponding to a total of 31:30 hours of theoretical-practical classes and 36 hours of laboratory classes, during 15 weeks. This load is complemented by 6:45 hours weekly, of autonomous student work (revision of the theoretical material, self-study, bibliography consultation, review of the given theoretical material and development of the group project deliverables). Thus, in this UC, we have 67:30 hours of contact with the professor and 100h30 of autonomous student work, in a total of 168 hours spread over 15 weeks.

Evaluation method

OPTION 1 - Assessment throughout the term:


  1. Group project, comprising 7 deliverables, with due dates every month or every 15 days (depending in the deliverable) developed during classes and during autonomous work, finalized with a class presentation and discussion ¿ 60%. Each deliverable has the following relative weights:



Relative weight

D1 - Project proposal


D2 - User requirements


D3 - Low fidelity prototype


D4 - Prototypes expert evaluation


D5 - Heuristic evaluation of low fidelity prototype and new prototype


D6 - User evaluation of the final prototype


D7 - Summary and final presentation of the HCI group project





It should be noted that deliverable D4 - Prototypes expert evaluation, is an individual report, with all others being developed by the group.


  1. End-of-term individual exam. There are 2 exam periods, the 2nd exam can be used to improve the exam grade of the 1st period ¿ 35%
  2. Personal evaluation, depending on how much each student interacts, participates and shows effort - 5%.


Passing grade is 9.5 or above (maximum 20).



OPTION 2 - Evaluation only at the end of the term.


Applies to the students who:

  • Didn¿t get a positive grade during Option 1.
  • Decided to be assessed by final exam only.


The evaluation includes an end-of-term exam with written questions (50%) and individual laboratory project (50%).


Passing grade is 9.5 or above (maximum 20).

Subject matter

S1: Introduction to the course and evaluation methodology.

S2: History of computing and Human-Computer Interaction.

S3: We, the humans.

S4: Them, the computers.

S5: The user-centered design process.

S6: Analysis of users and tasks.

S7: Data collection and user requirements.

S8: Principles and rules of interface design.

S9: Visual design of screens.

S10: Low and high-fidelity prototyping.

S11: Interfaces for the World Wide Web and mobility.

S12: Heuristic and predictive design evaluation.

S13: Design evaluation with users.

S14: Statistical analysis of evaluation data.

S15: Advanced HCI topics.


The program includes a group project, with 7 deliverables produced during classes and including autonomous student work.


Programs where the course is taught: