Usability studies

Bellevue College 

Usability refers to the factors that make a product, service or other technology systems easy for humans to use and understand. Typically, the more usable a system is, the more efficient the system will be, and the users will be more comfortable and satisfied with their use of the system. Usability considers human factors, ergonomics, psychology, and efficiency, and strives to make something that works for a range of people, without sacrificing functionality.

In this course, students will analyze existing systems and use heuristics to communicate usability standards. Students will also create and test prototypes to understand how usability testing can improve human-computer interactions. This course explores several branches of user experience design, including interaction design, information architecture, navigation, and user needs.

This is a class for those who wish to know more about usability, human-computer interaction, and the psychological aspects of computing.

Upon completion of this course,
you should be able to …

  • Describe the intersection between human-centered design process and usability engineering;
  • Discuss usability design guidelines, their foundations, assumptions, advantages, and weaknesses;
  • Understand the goals and principles of usability testing;
  • Assess user interfaces using different usability engineering techniques;
  • Understand usability as it relates to mobile devices;
  • Design a user interface based on analysis of human needs and prepare a prototype;
  • Recognize the pitfalls of relying on developer intuition for judging usable designs.

Course requirements

Some of the work in this course will take place outside of the classroom. Class sessions are a combination of lecture and student-led discussion. It is essential to be present and punctual. Students must have assignments completed when they are due.

To complete the course, participants must

  • Attend a minimum of 70% of class sessions
  • Complete three assignments
  • Score at least 70% on one exam

Please remember that certificates are issued at the discretion of the instructor.

Recommended books

Recommended journal articles

Recommended web articles

Resources and Tools articles



Prior sessions

  • December 8-15