Course Overview

CMPT 363

“When software is hard to use, don’t make excuses for it. Improve it. When a user makes a mistake, don’t blame the user. Ask how the software misled them. Then fix it. The user’s time is more valuable than ours. Respect it. Good UI design is humble.” — Jono DiCarlo

Please take a seat in the front half of the theater, thank you!


Paul Hibbitts

In-person office hours:
Tuesdays 4:00-5:15pm HC 2148

Virtual office hours chat:
Thursdays 12:00-1:30pm

About Me

  • Educator, Interaction Designer, and Open Source Author
  • (Recovering) User Experience Consultant, established Hibbitts Design in 1998
  • Current focus is creating open source software for the field of education
  • 125+ successful software UX projects, with 40+ clients such as SAP BusinessObjects, The Canadian Real Estate Association and The University of British Columbia
  • Usability Mentor, 2009 Season of Usability (co-sponsored by Google)
  • Human Factors International (HFI) Certified Usability Analyst
  • Instructor at Simon Fraser University, since 1997

Teaching Assistants

Mohsen Kamalzadeh

Gayatri Ganapathy

In-person office hours: As required

Course Learning Objectives

  • Describe and apply key UI/UX concepts, techniques, and principles
  • Assess and describe the usability and UX of a digital interface
  • Plan, conduct, and analyze user research for a digital product
  • Conceptualize, design, and prototype a digital product
  • Apply the core principles of effective visual design
  • Plan, conduct, and analyze a usability test of a digital product

Course Objectives One-liner

Course Objectives One-liner


Course Objectives One-liner


Course Objectives One-liner

____ problem-solving”

Course Objectives One-liner

“Empathetic problem-solving”

Course Objectives One-liner

“Empathetic problem-solving ____

Course Objectives One-liner

“Empathetic problem-solving aligning people, business and technology.”

Additional Course Objectives

  • Participate and contribute as a member of a product team
  • Care about how people feel about and experience technology

🚨Reasons To Avoid This Course🚨

  • Weekly readings, along with a quiz, are required
  • Frequent in-class individual and group exercises
  • Group assignment(s) are mandatory
  • Assignments will require a substantial amount of effort
  • Satisfactory peer reviews may be a requirement to group assignments
  • Good communication and writing skills are critical
  • It is a design course, where assessments will often be determined on subjective opinion (primarily mine)
  • I expect your designs to be more than just usable (also useful and desirable)
  • Instructor feedback and critique sessions
  • Getting A’s in other computer science courses has little relevance in this course
  • Final exam (40%), more on that later!

Reasons Why You Might Want To Stick Around

  • A good great UX is now a software industry expectation
  • Poorly designed interfaces cost money, require additional support, and waste people’s valuable time
  • A basic understanding of user experience design processes and techniques will be helpful when working in the software industry
  • You will experience how to work on design challenges within teams
  • The user-centered design process and techniques that you will learn can be applied to many other domains
  • You have the opportunity to learn from an experienced UX practitioner, open source author, and educator (

Course Outline as Topics

  • Design Research
  • User-Centered Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Multi-platform Design
  • Usability Evaluation

Course Outline as Topics

  • Design Research
  • User-Centered Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Multi-platform Design
  • Usability Evaluation

Course Outline as Questions

  • What is usability and user experience design?
  • What does a holistic user experience design process look like?
  • How to understand and communicate people’s needs and behaviors?
  • What is the practice of strategic interaction design?
  • How to bridge the gap between the problem space and design space?
  • How to explore and communicate possible design solutions?
  • What are the essentials of effective visual communication?
  • How to design for mobile and multi-device usage?
  • How to conduct a usability inspection?
  • How to plan, conduct, and summarize usability tests?

One Minute Wrap-up Summary (A.K.A. Bonus Points Opportunity)

Immediately after (due 12 midnight the day of class) you will be asked to write down and answer via the Canvas Class Discussion Board the most valuable thing you learned, and any questions that you may still have.

Required Textbook

Required Textbook

Are you kidding me, in 2019? All required readings will be available on-line.

Midterms and Final Exams

Midterms and Final Exams

No midterm, but a final exam worth 40%, and…

Midterms and Final Exams

The final exam questions will be (most likely) written by you 🎉

Weekly Review Quizzes

Create one potential question using a multiple-choice or short answer format, with the correct answer, to test student understanding of that material

Weekly Review Quizzes

The creation of course assessment questions is a valuable learning exercise for students, as it moves beyond the simple recollection of facts to a deeper analysis of course material. This approach also increases student involvement with their final exam experience.

Weekly Review Quizzes

Assessment Guidelines (your input welcome!)

  • Relevance (i.e. linkages to course materials and valuable in creation of effective user interfaces)
  • Level (i.e. level of learning - evaluation or creation, application or analysis, and remembering or understanding - and level of intellectual challenge)
  • Clarity (i.e. clear, concise, and well organized writing)

Weekly Review Quizzes

Weekly Review Quizzes

A practice weekly quiz (not graded) is now available, due by Friday Sep 6th. Example questions + answers will be reviewed in the following class.

Course Site

A multi-device friendly course site is available. All materials are also available directly within Canvas. (

I always want to hear from you how together we make our course site better. Be honest, I can take it.

Quick Poll

❑ Markdown
❑ Twig
❑ GitHub/GitLab

Introduction to UX

CMPT 363

“Want your users to fall in love with your designs? Fall in love with your users.” — Dana Chisnell

Course Grading (tentative)

  • Individual (50%)
    • Weekly Review Quizzes: 10%
    • Final Exam: 40%
  • Group (50%)
    • User Research Report: 20%
    • Usability Tested Mockups: 15%
    • Interactive Prototype: 15%

Group Assignments

Two Options:

Assignment Policy

  • Any assignment submitted may be shared/shown in class and online (with no student identification) (with all student or group identity information removed if public)
  • For every day the assignment is late after the due date, 10% of the maximum possible value will be deducted from the assignment (max 2 days)
  • Deferrals or extensions will only be given on the basis of authenticated documentation
  • Each group assignment group member may be subject to a participation assessment by all their group peers
  • At my discretion, the grades of group members who are clearly not contributing a fair share of work may be adjusted​, including​ a grade of zero (0)

Important Dates (Tentative)

  • Form four person Project Groups
    • To be done by Sep 10th
  • Open Source UX Project Proposal
    • Assigned Sep 10th, due Sep 23rd
  • Group Assignment: User Research Report
    • Assigned Oct 1st, due 21st (Draft user research plan due Oct 7th)
  • Group Assignment: Usability Tested Mockups
    • Assigned Oct 22nd, due Nov 12th by 5:30pm (Draft designs due Nov 4th)
  • Group Assignment: Interactive Prototype
    • Assigned Nov 12th, due Nov 25th
  • Final Exam
    • Tentatively Dec 10th at 7:00pm

Some Items of Recent Interest…

  • The Reaction to the New Twitter Design
  • How can we Build Human-Centred Products by Kim Goodwin
  • Open Source User Experience Design Challenges

Thank you!

Questions or Comments?

Image Credits