Interactive Systeme: Usability of Digital Media

Prof Juergen Friedrich, University of Bremen
Prof Fang You, Sun Yat-sen University, Canton, China

Intensive Course, 20.07. - 04.08.2009 (Full day course)
Lectures, lab practicals and mini projects

Course no. 03-05-H-801.03
6 Credit Points (ECTS)


“Usability” of computer systems became an important quality criterion in IT development during the last two decades. Computer users at their workplace as well as at home require easy to use, effective and efficient software which supports them in handling system as well as application programmes. “Usability Engineering” is an interdisciplinary approach combining knowledge from computer science, perception/cognition psychology, work organisation, communication design etc. It deals with the de­velopment as well as the analysis of computer programmes aiming at minimising stress and workload and maximising motivation, health prevention and satisfaction of the user.

Nowadays the field of usability engineering is extended to Digital Media: The simple “human-computer relation” is supplemented by a comprehensive look at networked relations: “human-computer-human relations” put the computer in the middle of a human communication and co-operation chain, the com­puter is going to be transformed into a medium. New questions are arising considering the usability of Digital Media: interaction concepts for mobile devices and wearable computing, design of web appli­cations, e. g. e-shops, creation of Social Media (virtual communities), or challenges of game design, to mention only some of them.

The course starts with an explanation of theoretical aspects of usability. In the second part, the focus will be put on special usability problems of Digital Media. Subjects of the course range from the appli­cation of physiological and psychological theories of human perception, cognition and interaction to practical rules and standards of usability design and further to usability testing and evaluation me­thods.

There will be lab practicals and project tasks accompanying the course. They will provide the opportu­nity to transfer knowledge from the lectures to concrete use cases by performing and evaluating lab experiments.