Designing Interactive Systems I WS 12/13

This lecture is available on iTunes U


  • 03.06.13: In WS13/14, DIS will take place Wed 9:15-11:45 (lecture) and Mon 13:15-14:45 (lab) in room 5052 as in past years. Please ignore any other dates posted in CAMPUS.
  • 11.03.13: Update on second chance exam: It will take place on Wednesday, 13 March, 2013. 11:50 – 13:15, in Room 5053.2, Informatikzentrum, RWTH Aachen
  • 21.09.12: Please buy a copy of Don Norman's book "The Design of Everyday Things" before the lecture starts. You can order it at Amazon: Paperback (12.95€), Kindle edition (9.37€).
  • 14.08.12: Lecture schedule updated
  • 08.08.12: Please bring a signed copy of the Declaration of Compliance to the first lecture or lab session.
  • 08.08.12: Lecture slides, exercises and other downloadable material will be available in the L²P learning rooms: (Aachen) (Bonn).
  • 08.08.12: How to register for this course as a student from BIT: Follow the BIT Registration Guide.


Field of study:

  • Informatik (B.Sc.), (M.Sc.)
  • Media Informatics (M.Sc.)/Multimedia-Benutzung und -Wirkung/in Aachen
  • Software Systems Engineering (M.Sc.)/Areas of Specialization/Media Computing and Interactive Systems

Number SWS: V3 + Ü2
ECTS Credits: 6
This lecture will be held in English. All assignment submissions and exams must be written in English.


This class introduces students to the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) and user interface design. Topics covered include:

  • fundamental characteristics of human cognition, such as reaction time, rules of perception, and memory performance,
  • models of interaction between people and their environment, such as affordances, mappings, and constraints,
  • a brief history of interactive technologies,
  • iterative design, user interface prototyping techniques,
  • user studies and evaluation methods.

The class will be accompanied by a lab in which students conduct experiments and design a series of user interface prototypes to apply the concepts learned. The last half of the lab will be used for a larger coherent project.

After the class, students will know how user interfaces have developed over the past decades, and what constants of human performance need to be considered when designing user interfaces. They will be able to apply a series of prototyping and evaluation methods to design usable, appropriate user interfaces in a user-centered fashion.




Mon 13:30h - 15:00h Room 5053.2 lab (starting 22.10.12)
Wed 10:00h - 12:30h Room 5053.2 lecture (starting 17.10.12)

Room 5053.2 is opposite to AH VI on ground floor of E2 building


Tue 14:00h - 16:30h Main Lecture Hall, B-IT Center Bonn lecture (starting 23.10.12)
Thu 15:15h - 16:45h Main Lecture Hall, B-IT Center Bonn lab (starting 25.10.12)

NOTE: Since we give all 3 SWS at once we added 15 minutes pause to the lecture time slots


Please, register for this course (Lecture: Aachen, Lecture: Bonn) within October 29, 18:00. The registration result will be announced on October 30, 18:00. We give priority to those who need DIS1 as compulsory course and master students.


Please, register for the exam (Exam: Aachen, Exam: Bonn).
If you wish to take the course for credit, you must complete all assignments, lab exercises and exams. You will pass (and receive a certificate) upon successful completion of the course with a grade. The grade will be calculated as follows:

    • 40% - assignments, project
    • 25% - exam part 1
    • 35% - exam part 2

Note that you must achieve a cumulative score above 50% and at least 50% of the points in the exam part 2 to pass the course. If you fail, you have to take the final exam again.


Midterm Tue 27 November, 2012 12:30h – 14:00h Aula 2
Final Tue 5 February, 2013 14:00 – 16:30 AH II and 2222


Midterm Tue 27 November, 2012 14:00h – 16:30h Main Lecture Hall, B-IT Center Bonn
Final Tue 5 February, 2013 14:00 – 16:30 Main Lecture Hall, B-IT Center Bonn

Second chance: Wednesday, 13 March, 2013. 11:50 – 13:15, Room 5053.2, Informatikzentrum, RWTH Aachen


You need an average grade of assignments above 4.0 to attend each exam. The same rule applies for the project grade and final exam.

For assignments that are handed in after the due date we will deduct one grading step per 24 hours. Assignments that are handed in after they have been discussed in the lab session will not be graded and automatically receive a 5.0 grade.

During the semester, each student must participate in at least one user test held at our chair or in the Psychology chair. This allows students to better appreciate average users, gain empathy with the test users, practice skill in test facilitator Neilsen ’11. We will announce available user tests throughout the semester.

Code of Conduct

At the media computing group we have no tolerance for cheating and plagiarism. In short, this means that choosing to hand in any exam, assignment, or seminar paper that violates the terms of the Declaration of Compliance results in failing the course and may result in further consequences (Bachelor- / Masterordnung: §10 (4), DPO97: §8 (4)).


It is highly recommended to buy the book of Norman since you have to read it for class. From the Dix et. al. and Schneiderman books you just have to read some chapters. You can find these books in the library.

Lecture video

Video recordings of each lecture will be available on iTunes U for reviewing. A link to iTunes U as well as a link to the RSS feed will be given in L2P. We try to publish the videos within a week after each lecture, but videos are not alternatives to attending the class. Should class attendance fall lower than 50% of the first day of the class, we will stop publishing videos until the class attendance is higher than 50%.

Course resources

Lecture and lab slides & videos

Date (AC)Date (BN)Theory TopicsPractice TopicsSlides
17.10.12   S01: Intro, Visibility, Affordances Sketching
24.10.12 23.10.12 S02: Mapping, Constraints, Conceptual Models (BN: S01 + half of S02) User Observation
31.10.12 30.10.12 S03: Seven Stages of Action, Knowledges, Feedback (BN: half of S02 + half of S03) DIA, Persona, Storyboard
07.11.12 06.11.12 S04: Errors, Forcing Functions Prototypes
14.11.12 13.11.12 S05: Gestalt Laws Prototyping Tools, Ideation
21.11.12 20.11.12 S06: Nine Golden Rules, Responsiveness  
27.11.12 27.11.12 E01: Midterm Exam  
28.11.12   S07: Objectified Screening  
05.12.12 04.12.12 S08: CMN, Perception, Cognition, Motor, Fitts's Law Evaluation w/o Users
12.12.12 11.12.12 S09: Interface Efficiency, KLM, GOMS Evaluation with Users (Qualitative)
19.12.12 18.12.12 S10: Notations 1 Experimental Design
09.01.13 08.01.13 S11: Notations 2 History of HCI Part 1
16.01.13 15.01.13 S12: History of HCI Part 2 Vision
23.01.13 22.01.13 S13: Basic Statistics and Data Visualization Basic Statistics and Data Visualization
30.01.13 29.01.13 P: Project Presentation  


  • 1-up slides are designed for viewing on a computer. For printing, use 4-up version which saves both paper and ink.
  • The slides are organized according to Aachen schedule.
  • stats4dis: Landing page for statistics lecture

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.