Course Syllabus,
CS 5551 User Interface Design
Fall Semester 2010

Course Data:
Instructor: Doug Dunham
Web Site:
Office:311 Heller Hall
Office Hours: M 4-5, Tu 2-4, W, F 1-1:50, and by appointment
Lectures: M, W, F 3-3:50 p.m. in HH 306
Lab: M 7-7:50 p.m. in MWAH 177
Course Web Site:

Teaching Assistant: Sai Chittilla
Web Site:
Consulting Hours: In HH 306: Tuesday and Thursday 6-8 pm

CAC (Computng Accreditation Commission) Course Description:

Bulletin Description:
Design and layout of interactive programs using components, containers, events, menus, and dialogs. The use of graphics primitives, color and images; giving user feedback and help. Rapid prototyping and interface management systems. Design for accessibility and usability.

CS 2511, Math 1297, or the equivalent if you are a transfer student.
We will be using the Java programming language for this course.

Course Objectives and Content:
This course provides an introduction to the theory and practice of designing a user interface to an application program. The following is a rough outline of the material that I hope to cover in the course. From the theoretical point of view, we will cover general principles, theories, and guidelines for interface development, software tools, direct manipulation and virtual environments, multiple-window strategies, and information search and visualization. The practical will involve discussion of and programming in the Java language and its user interface components such as top-level containers, menus, dialogs, and pop-ups, and will include design and implemention of applications with user interfaces that use those components.

Equal Opportunity:
The University of Minnesota is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, or sexual orientation. As instructor, I am committed to upholding University of Minnesota's equal opportunity policy. I encourage you to talk to me in private about any concerns you have related to equal opportunity in the classroom. To inquire further about the University's policy on equal opportunity, contact the Office of Equal Opportunity, 269-273 DAdB, (, phone: (218) 726-6827 or (218) 726-6849, email:

Students with Disabilities:
It is the policy and practice of the University of Minnesota Duluth to create inclusive learning environments for all students, including students with disabilities. If there are aspects of this course that result in barriers to your inclusion or your ability to meet course requirements – such as time limited exams, inaccessible web content, or the use of non-captioned videos – please notify the instructor as soon as possible. You are also encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Resources, 258 Kirby Student Center, to discuss and arrange reasonable accommodations. Please call 218-726-6130 or visit the DR website at ( for more information.

Mental Health Statement:
As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance or reduce a student's ability to participate in daily activities. University of Minnesota services are available to assist you with addressing these and other concerns you may be experiencing. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus via the UMD Health Service Counseling website at

Student Academic Integrity Policy Academic dishonesty tarnishes UMD's reputation and discredits the accomplishments of students. UMD is committed to providing students every possible opportunity to grow in mind and spirit. This pledge can only be redeemed in an environment of trust, honesty, and fairness. As a result, academic dishonesty is regarded as a serious offense by all members of the academic community. In keeping with this ideal, this course will adhere to UMD's Student Academic Integrity Policy, which can be found at This policy sanctions students engaging in academic dishonesty with penalties up to and including expulsion from the university for repeat offenders.

Student Conduct The instructor will enforce and students are expected to follow the University's Student Conduct Code ( ). Appropriate classroom conduct promotes an environment of academic achievement and integrity. Disruptive classroom behavior that substantially or repeatedly interrupts either the instructor's ability to teach, or student learning, is prohibited. Disruptive behavior includes inappropriate use of technology in the classroom. Examples include ringing cell phones, text-messaging, watching videos, playing computer games, doing email, or surfing the Internet on your computer instead of note-taking or other instructor-sanctioned activities.

Required Texts:

  1. Kathy Walrath, Mary Campione, Alison Huml, Sharon Zakhour, The JFC Swing Tutorial: A Guide to Constructing GUIs, Second Edition Addison-Wesley Professional; (February 27, 2004) ISBN 0-201-91467-0.
  2. Ben Shneiderman, Catherine Plaisant, Designing the User Interface, Fifth Edition, Addison Wesley (March 8, 2009), ISBN-10: 0-321-53735-1, ISBN-13: 978-0-321-53735-5

Course Requirements:
Although attendance is not required, you are responsible for reading assigned text material and for material covered in class, including:

  1. doing the reading assignments from the text
  2. the material covered in the lectures
  3. obtaining assignments and handouts
  4. turning in programming assignments and homework

If you are unable to attend a class meeting, it is your responsibility to obtain class notes, assignments, and extra copies of handouts from your study partner. Note: all assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date (unless otherwise specified) -- they will be docked 25% per day if turned in late.

Lab Assignments and Course Project:
There will be small, weekly lab assignments, each worth from 10 to 20 points, to be demonstrated and turned in during the lab session. Near the end of the course, there will be a more involved class project worth 30 to 40 points.

Examinations and Grading:

There will be a midterm exam, worth 100 points and a final exam worth 200 points. These exams are closed book. The final exam will be comprehensive. Exams will not be given early, and makeups must be justified by dire circumstances described to the instructor before the time of the exam. It is Department of Computer Science policy not to return final exams, however they are kept and you can look at your exam in the instructor's office. The UMD Final Examination Policy web page explains the UMD policy about having more than two final exams on a single day, among other things.

Exam Schedule:

ExamPointsDate and Time
Midterm Exam 100 points Friday, October 29, 3-3:50 p.m. in HH 306
Final Exam 200 points Monday, December 20, 10-11:55 a.m. in HH 306

Scores and total points will be maintained by the TA on eGradebook.

Grading Procedures: Final grades are based on total points distributed approximately as follows:

Grades are assigned based on a percentage of the total points. These percentages may be lowered slightly but they will not be raised.
Important note: In the past, students have tended to do better on the lab and homework assignments (average > 90%) than on the midterm (80%) and final (78%) exams. Thus class averages going into the final exam tend to be higher than after the final exam. This leads to the following two pieces of advice: (1) keep your average as high as possible by doing well on the lab/homework assignments, and (2) study carefully for the exams, using the review sheets, so that your average isn't brought down by poor exam scores.
The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.
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Page Author: Doug Dunham
Last Modified: Monday, 13-Sep-2010 16:21:39 CDT
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