Course Syllabus,
CS 5551 User Interface Design
Fall Semester 2016

Course Data:
Instructor: Doug Dunham
Web Site:
Office:333 Heller Hall
Office Hours: T, Th 2:30-3:25 p.m., W 2:30-5:55 p.m., and by appointment
Lectures: T, Th 3:30-4:45 p.m. in MWAH 175
Lab: Th 7-7:50 p.m. in MWAH 177
Course Web Site:

Teaching Assistant: Zhiyuan Peng
Web Site:
Consulting Hours: Tu 2-3, W 12-1 in MWAH 187, and Th 12-1 in HH 314

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 Math 3326 or 4326, and a grade of C- or better is required in all prerequisite courses.
We will be using the Java programming language for this course.

Content Overview:
This course provides an introduction to the theory and practice of designing a user interface for an application program. The following is an outline of the material to be covered 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 part will involve programming in the Java language and discussion of its user interface components such as top-level containers, menus, dialogs, and pop-ups, and will include design and implementation of applications with user interfaces that use those components.

Course Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students will gain knowledge of the core methods of user interface design such as use of appropriate components, layout of the interface, and handling events.
    Expected Outcomes:
    1. The students will demonstrate use of those components in lab assignments.
    2. The students will demonstrate knowledge of those components on exam questions.
  2. Students will gain knowledge of key issues in user interface design, such as data transfer, and principles for interaction design.
    Expected Outcomes:
    1. The students will demonstrate use of those key concepts in lab assignments.
    2. The students will demonstrate knowledge of those key concepts on exam questions.
  3. Students will gain proficiency in applying knowledge from the theory of user interface design to various application areas.
    Expected Outcomes:
    1. The students will demonstrate that proficiency in lab assignments.
    2. The students will demonstrate that knowledge on exam questions.

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 Department of Human Resources & Equal Opportunity 255 DAdB, (, phone: (218) 726-6827, 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 Disability Resources 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 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. Student are expected adhere to Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code: ( ).

Teaching and Learning: Instructor and Student Responsibilities:
UMD is committed to providing a positive, safe, and inclusive place for all who study and work here. Instructors and students have mutual responsibility to insure that the environment in all of these settings supports teaching and learning, is respectful of the rights and freedoms of all members, and promotes a civil and open exchange of ideas. To reference the full policy please see:

Student Academic Integrity Policy:
Academic dishonesty tarnishes UMD's reputation and discredits the accomplishments of students. Academic dishonesty is regarded as a serious offense by all members of the academic community. This course will adhere to UMD's Student Academic Integrity Policy, which can be found at

Final Exams:
All 1xxx-5xxx courses offered for undergraduate credit should include a final graded component or end of term evaluation that assesses the level of student achievement of one or more course objectives. All final graded components are to be administered or due at the time and place according to the final exam schedule and not during the last week of class. To reference the full policy please see:

Excused Absences:
Students are expected to attend all scheduled class meetings. It is the responsibility of students to plan their schedules to avoid excessive conflict with course requirements. However, there are legitimate and verifiable circumstances that lead to excused student absence from the classroom. These are subpoenas, jury duty, military duty, religious observances, illness, bereavement for immediate family, and NCAA varsity intercollegiate athletics. For complete information, please see:

Appropriate Student Use of Class Notes and Course Materials:
Taking notes is a means of recording information but more importantly of personally absorbing and integrating the educational experience. However, broadly disseminating class notes beyond the classroom community or accepting compensation for taking and distributing classroom notes undermines instructor interests in their intellectual work product while not substantially furthering instructor and student interests in effective learning. For additional information, please see:

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.
    Equivalent on-line tutorial notes.
  2. Ben Shneiderman, Catherine Plaisant, Designing the User Interface, Sixth` Edition, Addison Wesley (March 2016), ISBN-10: 013438038X, ISBN-13: 978-0134380384

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

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

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 lab session 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 Thursday, October 20, 3:30-4:45 p.m. in MWAH 175
Final Exam 200 points Monday, December 12, 2:00-3:55 p.m. in MWAH 175

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.
Page URL: /~ddunham/cs5551f16/syllabus.html
Page Author: Doug Dunham
Last Modified: Friday, 02-Sep-2016 16:49:43 CDT
Comments to: