KV5003 - Human Computer Interaction

What will I learn on this module?

This module will introduce you to Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), a field of study focusing on the design of computer technology and, in particular, the interaction between humans (the users) and computers. It brings together multiple disciplines, such as computer science, the social sciences, design and human-factors engineering. In addition to the underlying principles and theories we will engage critically with contemporary HCI research.

Specific topics we will cover will include, but will not be limited to, the following:

• User-centred design lifecycle
• Understanding human capabilities (visual and auditory perception, ergonomics, cognitive models); Social models that inform interaction design, e.g., culture, communication, networks and organizations; Accessibility
• Understanding context: Requirements capture methods
• Understanding design: Usability heuristics and evaluation; User interface standards
• Interface paradigms and metaphors; Principles of good interface design
• Prototyping techniques for interface design
• Evaluation methods: expert appraisal and user-led

How will I learn on this module?

Students will learn through a combination of lectures about key principles, theories and topics in HCI, and practical classes (workshops) in which they will practice hands-on skills for user interface requirements elicitation, user-centred design, prototyping and evaluation. The module will be assessed in two ways through which students will gain both a critical understanding of the topic while developing demonstrable practical skills by submitting: (i) a reflective report on a contemporary HCI topic, using desk-based research including literature reviews; (ii) User-centred Design (UCD) Practical Work, including design artefacts, demonstrating a range of user-centred design skills. Students will also engage in peer communication and evaluation of each other’s work.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Support will be provided by a range of academic and professional support staff, including:

• The designated Module tutor. The module tutor may have other staff working with them on the module. With the module team, they will provide support for students including answering student queries and providing guidance in relation to the module, including its assessment and the student’s academic progress. You can seek support in-class and can also request it outside of class time via appointment (see ‘Communication with staff’)
• Professional support staff (including the Student Support Team) – the staff in the faculty office provide a first point of contact for a range of queries, including, for example, those concerning assessment submission, late submission / extensions, enrolment and visa related problems
• Communication with staff – this is supported in a number of ways, including:
• Email – you will be able to contact members of staff via email
• eLearning Portal (eLP) - this is used to provide you with specific information related to the module, such as copies of lecture and seminar handouts, assignment briefings, instructions, and announcements
• Appointments - members of staff operate an open-door policy. However, as academic staff may teach on many modules/programmes and be engaged in research activities, you are advised to make an appointment to see them.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• [MLO1] Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of user needs, capacities and limitations in multiple contexts of technology use and across technology platforms
• [MLO2] Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of interface design principles, theories, techniques and technologies
• [MLO3] Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of the human factors of ethical and responsible technology design

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• [MLO4] Analyse, design, prototype and evaluate, ethical and responsible interactive computing technologies

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• [MLO5] Demonstrate critical engagement with contemporary HCI research (e.g. recent research papers)

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessment for the course will comprise:

Coursework I (70%)
• Reflective Report (2000 words) in which students perform desk research on a contemporary HCI topic [MLO2, 3, 5]

Coursework II (30%)
• UCD Practical Work comprised of a collection of design artefacts that respond to a technology design brief. Students will be assessed based on the summative response they make to a series of UCD tasks. These will be released in stages and students will be encouraged to submit their work in a short period of time for formative feedback. However, the summative assessment will be a single submission of all the UCD practical work carried out. [MLO1, 2, 4]

Formal written feedback on both summative assessments will be provided for the coursework.





Module abstract

Interactive technologies are all around us. We engage with them every day, including the computers we use for work and play, the mobile devices we use to communicate with one another, the wearables we attach to track and monitor our activities and the appliances we use to make our lives easier at home. To design these interactive products well, we need to study Human-Computer Interaction, learning how to make technologies easier and more enjoyable for people to use. The skills you will learn on this course will support you in designing, prototyping and evaluating technologies from a human-centred perspective. Through the course you will be exposed to world-leading research, conducted by Northumbria University academics, which will deepen your understanding of the ethical and responsible design of interactive technologies. Knowledge and skills developed in this module are vital for careers in User Experience (UX) design, development and consultancy.

Course info

UCAS Code G404

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Computer and Information Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


Useful Links

Find out about our distinctive approach at 

Admissions Terms and Conditions

Fees and Funding

Admissions Policy

Admissions Complaints Policy