User Experience (UX) – Usability Studies

Usability refers to the factors that make a product, service or system easy for humans to use.

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Course details

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Registration details

User Experience (UX) – Usability Studies

Usability refers to the factors that make a product, service or system easy for humans to use.

What you’ll be able to do — competencies

  • 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 description

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Usability refers to the factors that make a product, service or other technology system easy for humans to use and understand. Typically, the more usable a system is, the more efficient the system will be, and the more users will be comfortable and satisfied with their use of the system. Usability considers human factors, ergonomics, psychology and efficiency; it also 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. You’ll explore several branches of user experience design, including interaction design, information architecture, navigation and user needs. 


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  • User Experience Research is recommended, but not required 


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Lesson 1  


  • Examine easy-to-use and not-so-easy-to-use interfaces, exploring key design principles (efficiency, error prevention, graphic design, learnability and visibility) and human capabilities that inform usable designs (attention, color vision, human error, motor skills and perception) 

Lesson 1 Assignments 

  • Watch interview with Don Norman at UX Week, and come to class with three questions or ah-ha’s for in-class discussion 

Lesson 2  


  • We will explore techniques for evaluating and measuring interface usability, including persona development, heuristic evaluation and user testing 

Lesson 3  


  • We will explore techniques for building and testing user interfaces, including low-fidelity prototypes and other prototyping tools 

Next available start dates

Online — Evenings

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User Experience (UX) - Usability Studies
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Total classroom hours

9 hours

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Evenings, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM, 3 T - 3/12/2024 - 3/26/2024

Quarter: Winter

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Total cost


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Instructor: Kathy Gill

Kathy has been immersed in user experience design for more than 20 years. She is currently the webmaster for King County Elections. Kathy taught web design and digital communications for 15 years. She has worked on web projects at Boeing, Microsoft, and Safeco. Kathy evangelizes user-centered design by writing, teaching, and mentoring aspiring designers.

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Online courses require an internet connection and the ability to interact both through audio and video using either a web cam/microphone, speakers/headset using a computer or via a mobile phone connection. Any costs associated with connectivity or equipment are the responsibility of the student.

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