This module introduces you to the theory and practice of design ethnography.
You will cover a range of topics including:
- origins and evolution of ethnography
- foundations and nature of the ethnomethodological approach
- ethnographic analysis
- its relationship to systems design
- the perceived problems with the approach
Studying Human Performance
This module aims to give a broad review of the measurement techniques which can be used in ergonomic analysis and evaluation of systems or products, together with an understanding of the need for experimental design and control in order to obtain valid and meaningful results. It also provides a theoretical basis for techniques which may be practised during laboratory work and exercises in other human factors modules.
The module covers:
- Introduction to experimental design; experimental controls; selection and recruitment of subjects; user trials; ethical considerations
- Observational methods: direct and indirect observation; recording techniques; measurement of behaviour; activity sampling
- Subjective measurements: ranking methods, rating scales, application in interviews and questionnaires
- Task analysis: task description; tabular and hierarchical task analysis; applications
- Introduction to SPSS
- Descriptive statistics
- Statistical analysis: Types of data; Normal distribution; Non-parametric tests; Parametric 2 samples tests, Correlation and regression, Chi Square, ANOVA
Mixed Reality Technologies
This module focuses on the possibilities and challenges of interaction beyond the desktop. Exploring the 'mixed reality continuum' - a spectrum of emerging computing applications that runs from virtual reality (in which a user is immersed into a computer-generated virtual world) at one extreme, to ubiquitous computing (in which digital materials appear embedded into the everyday physical world - often referred to as the 'Internet of Things') at the other. In the middle of this continuum lie augmented reality and locative media in which the digital appears to be overlaid upon the physical world in different ways.
You will gain knowledge and hands-on experience of design and development with key technologies along this continuum, including working with both ubiquitous computing based sensor systems and locative media. You will learn about the Human-Computer Interaction challenges that need to be considered when creating mixed reality applications along with strategies for addressing them, so as to create compelling and reliable user experiences.
This module takes a human factors design perspective on HCI considering the overall human-computer system. A highly practical stance is taken and the module will follow a typical user-centred design process, commencing with lectures and accompanying method-focussed sessions on understanding user requirements, progressing to design work and finally objective and subjective interface testing approaches. These sessions will align closely with the coursework application areas.
- introduction to HCI
- usability and user experience
- understanding user requirements
- context of use analysis
- design guidelines and principles
- designing for user acceptance
- lo and hi-fidelity prototyping
- user and non-user-based approaches to interface testing
Advanced Methods in Human Factors and Human-Computer Interaction
- working as a human factors engineer/HCI professional
- predictive evaluation techniques (eg GOMs, Fitts Law)
- psychophysical methods
- verbal protocol analysis
- qualitative approaches and methodologies
- eye-tracking methodologies
- ethical considerations in human factors research
- capturing and analysing human physiological data
Individual Project: Human-Computer Interaction
You will undertake a project which is relevant to human-computer interaction, developing your skills in research, such as:
- planning research activities
- empirical investigation
- literature review
- critical reflection
- oral and written communication
- individual learning
- time management.
Collaboration with business, industry, and other outside bodies is encouraged.
Cognitive Ergonomics in Design
This module covers the following topics:
- cognitive psychology and ergonomics
- the human as an information processor: memory and attention, mental models
- human workload
- displays, controls, consoles and control rooms
- decision making, automation
- situation awareness
- problem-solving and artificial intelligence
- decision support systems, decision-making biases
- situated cognition and joint cognitive systems
This module will give you a comprehensive overview of the principles of programming, including procedural logic, variables, flow control, input and output and the analysis and design of programs. Instruction will be provided in an object-oriented programming language.
Collaboration and Communication Technologies
In this module, you will consider the design of collaboration and communication technologies used in a variety of different contexts including workplace, domestic and leisure environments. You will consider the basic principles of such technologies, explore the technologies from a social perspective, consider their impact on human behaviour and critically reflect on their design from a human-centred perspective.
Fundamentals of Information Visualisation
Information Visualisation is the process of extracting knowledge from complex data, and presenting it to a user in a manner that this appropriate to their needs. This module provides a foundational understanding of some important issues in information visualisation design. You will learn about the differences between scientific and creative approaches to constructing visualisations, and consider some important challenges such as the representation of ambiguous or time-based data. You will also learn about psychological theories that help explain how humans process information, and consider their relevance to the design of effective visualisations.
If you want to learn how to design and implement your own interactive information visualisation, you should also take the linked module G53IVP (Information Visualisation Project). Together, these two modules form an integrated 20 credit programme of study.
This module covers the history, development and state-of-the-art in computer games and technological entertainment.
You will gain an appreciation of the range of gaming applications available and be able to chart their emergence as a prevalent form of entertainment. You will study the fundamental principles of theoretical game design and how these can be applied to a variety of modern computer games.
In addition, you will study the development of games as complex software systems. Specific software design issues to be considered will include the software architecture of games, and the technical issues associated with networked and multiplayer games.
Finally, you will use appropriate software environments to individually develop a number of games to explore relevant theoretical design and practical implementation concepts.
Information Visualisation Project
In this module you will gain practical experience of how to design and evaluate a distinctive interactive visualisation which presents information gathered from a complex and interesting data source.
You will gain experience in web-based technologies that enable the implementation of multi-layered and interactive information visualisations, supported through lab work that introduces specific features of these technologies.
Data Modelling and Analysis
This module will enable you to appreciate the range of data analysis problems that can be modelled computationally and a range of techniques that are suitable to analyse and solve those problems.
Topics covered include:
- basic statistics
- types of data
- data visualisation techniques
- data modelling
- data pre-processing methods including data imputation
- forecasting methods
- clustering and classification methods (decision trees, naīve bayes classifiers, k-nearest neighbours)
- data simulation
- model interpretation techniques to aid decision support.
You will engage in a mixture of lectures and computer classes where appropriate software (eg R, Weka) will be used.
Simulation and Optimisation for Decision Support
This module offers insight into the applications of selected methods of decision support. The foundations for applying these methods are derived from:
- operations research simulation
- social simulation
- data science
- automated scheduling
- decision analysis
Throughout the module, you will become more competent in choosing and implementing the appropriate method for the particular problem at hand. You will engage in a mixture of lectures, workshops, and computer classes.
A thorough understanding of human factors/ergonomics is critical to the successful design and implementation of products, workplaces, jobs and systems.
This module focuses on the physical characteristics of people (eg body size, strength, flexibility, vision and hearing abilities) and considers how to account for an individual's fundamental needs, capabilities and limitations.
Ultimately, such an understanding will lead to products, workplaces, jobs and systems which promote productivity, health, safety, comfort, etc.
This module covers:
- structure and functioning of the human body
- anthropometry (human body dimensions) and product/workplace design
- biomechanics (loadings on the human body)
- work-related upper-limb disorders
- manual materials handling
- risk assessment for work-related musculoskeletal disorders
- designing and assessing environments to account for visual, acoustic, thermal and vibration factor
Simulation, Virtual Reality and Advanced Human-Machine Interface
For human factors/ergonomics work, simulation tools can enable designers, managers and end-users to experience products and systems in realistic, interactive environments. Such advancements have significant cost implications, enabling designs and their implications to be visualised early in the development life cycle. In addition, virtual/augmented reality and other advanced human-machine interfaces (HMIs) are being developed in many different industries to support different user needs.
This module will provide you with the knowledge and skills required to understand and utilise computers as human factors tools for understanding peoples’ interactions with new technology. Moreover, the module will consider HMIs that are increasingly common in modern life and frequently designed and evaluated using simulation techniques.
The module is a mix of practical and research-oriented content, and you will make extensive use of the simulation facilities and on-going research projects within the Human Factors Research Group and elsewhere in the University.
- virtual reality technologies/environments/interfaces
- augmented reality; fidelity and validity of simulators
- presence factors for simulation
- understanding and minimising simulator sickness
- multimodal interfaces including the use of natural language and gesture interfaces, computers and collaborative/social interfaces, accessibility, in-car interfaces
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This course page may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.
Teaching methods and assessment
You will study a total of 180 credits, split across 120 credits of compulsory and optional modules plus a 60-credit individual project.
Teaching methods include:
- computer lab practical sessions
Assessment can vary depending on the module you study but you can typically expect:
- written exams
- individual project
There is an increasing need in industry for graduates with an understanding of the human element in systems design. This course provides you with skills and knowledge essential to design companies that appreciate the value of human-centred design. It provides a pathway to careers in interactive systems design, user experience design, user interface design, and usability engineering.
This course is also a great starting point for students who wish to study for a PhD in Human Computer Interaction and the associated area of Computer Supported Collaborative Work (CSCW). Beyond academia, PhD students in the Mixed Reality Laboratory have also taken up internships in world-leading industrial labs across Europe and America, including Xerox, Microsoft, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard, where they have gone on to develop their careers.
Average starting salary and career progression
94.4% of postgraduates from the School of Computer Science secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £29,250 with the highest being £30,000.*
* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates who were available for employment, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.
Careers support and advice
We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students whatever your course, mode of study or future career plans.
You can access our Careers and Employability Service during your studies and after you graduate. Expert staff will help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.
More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.