Got an A in my last class. Whoop! I’m already 4 weeks into my other class and forgot to post. Here is what I’ll learn:

Usability Design for Websites

Course Description:

This course expands the student’s basic knowledge of website development by providing in-depth understanding of how to design a website with the user (not client) in mind.  Students will gain knowledge about how the fields of human factors engineering and psychology (e.g., visual perception, cognition, learning and memory, information processing) relate to the basis of usability design as well as how usability assessments are conducted.  Usability guidelines (design problems, design strengths, and best practices) for common functions such as web navigation, search, menus, scrolling, links, text, page layout, visual organization, etc. will be explored.  The class will be a combination of lectures and hands-on learning by examining websites that support or violate such guidelines.  The final projects for the class will be development of a multi-page website created by the student that demonstrates appropriate use of important usability guidelines as well as the results of a usability assessment of that website conducted by the student with real users.

Course Overview/Purpose:

The course overview includes understanding human behavior as it relates to using websites, which form the basis of usability guidelines for both desktop and mobile devices.  The purpose of this course is for students to be able to apply such learnings as they design and implement a website. In addition, students will learn two methods of assessing the usability of a website. Students will apply one of these methods to the multi-page website they develop, based on usability guidelines they have learned, by conducting a formal usability assessment behavioral science study.  They will also apply the technique of heuristic evaluations to two of their peers’ websites, as assigned by the instructor. This course is intended to teach students who design websites to consider the perspective of the users of their websites, including understanding user needs, user behavior in exploring websites, and user perceptions of usability of their websites.  This course will be useful to students in the ICT program and their future careers as web developers by learning the underpinnings of usability guidelines with respect to human behavior and applying best usability practices to their website designs.

Course Outcomes:

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Develop a website, following the latest usability guidelines published by the US Government Dept of Health and Human Services and leading experts in the field of user interface design;
  • Understand the fundamental aspects of human psychology and human factors engineering that affect usability of a website;
  • Recognize the importance of accessibility (vs. usability) in designing a website; and
  • Know various methods of conducting usability assessments of websites and how to apply results of such assessments to improve the design of a website.

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